June 12, 2020 - TORONTO — Workers at the Sonoco paper mill in Quinte West are spending their last day on the job today after the company decided earlier this year to shutter the mill and focus operations in South Carolina.
“My heart goes out to the entire community of Quinte West as we know the tremendous impact losing forestry jobs has on these rural towns,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It is extremely disappointing that an agreement of sale could not be arranged with the present employer to save as many jobs as possible."
Unifor Local 1489 represents 81 workers at the Sonoco paper mill. The community of Quinte West has a long history as a forestry town with operations in the sector dating back to 1880. The closure is seen by many to be unnecessary.
“We’ve spent years trying to establish a forestry strategy for Ontario with the government, but sadly, we still don’t see any efforts to keep these good jobs here in the province,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “Premier Ford needs to be worried when family-supporting manufacturing jobs continue to leave this province.”
Unifor supported efforts to find a buyer for the facility that could have maintained many good-paying jobs. The forestry sector requires directed efforts and support from all forms of government across Canada to maintain the economic viability of small communities where most remaining mills operate.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including 24,000 in the forestry sector. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.