Hammond Cedar employee stacks the high-value wood that remains in demand around the world. The Fraser River site has had a sawmill for more than 100 years, and it’s closing by the end of 2019. (THE NEWS files)

Hammond Cedar employees have closure agreement

Maple Ridge mill closing by year’s end

Employees at the closing Hammond Cedar mill in Maple Ridge have learned what their employer will do for them.

An agreement has been reached between USW Local 2009, which represents the 130 unionized workers at the mill, and Interfor Hammond Division.

The highlights of the agreement:

• All employees will receive 12 weeks pay regardless of actual lay off date. Some will be laid off earlier.

• They will receive 10 days pay for every year of service.

• The company will pay for six months of health benefits.

• Employees may maintain benefits afterward, at their own cost, but at pool price.

• The company will post internal vacancies at other Interfor sites, and give consideration for any prior Interfor service in choosing successful applicants.

• Employees who accept employment at Interfor facilities outside of the Lower Mainland will be entitled to reimbursement of relocation costs to a maximum of $5,000.

In addition, they will be able to access recently announced provincial government funding for retraining. Victoria pledged $69 million to fund measures aimed at supporting B.C. forest workers impacted by mill closures and shift reductions.

The closure of the mill, which was first established at the site in 1908, was announced earlier this month. It will close in phases, with shifts shutting down as product is milled and shipped, but the closure is expected to be finished by the end of 2019.




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