By Marc Venema, John Boldrick, Sam Normand and Sean Macey
One of Trenton’s major employers is set to shut down shop after a deal could not be made between the company and the union.
Members of the union, which represents approximately 100 workers in the Trenton mill, voted to reject a contract offer from Norampac yesterday due to “unacceptable concessions.” In response, the company announced that it would close the mill, a move which would result in the direct loss of 130 jobs.
Norampac employs over 130 workers at its plant in Trenton.
“We have been trying to negotiate with the company for the past year,” said Dave Moffat, administrative vice president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworks of Canada (CEP), Ontario in a recent news release. “It’s been a complicated bargaining session, but we had hoped to continue working within the collective bargaining process, and not negotiate through the media.”
Because the mill is supplied by three separate saw mills along the Trent River, the loss of the plant would result in approximately 300 lost jobs.
Moffat says that he would like to see the company stop the “job blackmail” and work with them to save jobs and protect the local economy.
Company officials refused interview requests.
One of the businesses set to be directly affected by the closure is International Truckload Services (ITS). The trucking company transports about five to 15 loads a day for Norampac.
“It will definitely have an impact,” said Fred LaBrash, vice president of sales and marketing for ITS. “We’ve been in business with that paper company for a number of years.”
LaBrash said his company will have to look outside the community for other options.
John Williams, mayor of Quinte West, isn’t ready to give up on the situation.
“We are trying to see if we can get the two sides to sit down again, but on the same hand, the companies are not changing their position,” he said.
Williams said an agreement can still be made, but “It’s on its last legs.”
He said Quinte West isn’t the only area that will be affected, many people from Bancroft could also feel the impact.
“It’s huge, and it’s the whole area including the forest industry near Bancroft that has 200-300 people that work in it, that supply product to this plant,” said Williams. “It affects a lot of area, a lot of people, a lot of families; so it’s not good for anyone.”
He said the talks of closing the plant have been going on for a while and says some didn’t believe it would actually happen.
Terry Cassidy, Quinte West councilor, also shared some thoughts.
“People thought that they were crying wolf. At this point in time, it looks like it’s finally happened,” he said.
Here’s a list of key stories written by local media regarding the Norampac plant:
Intelligencer – http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3531891 
April 12th, 2012 – Norampac plant plans to shut its doors after failure to reach an agreement on a new deal.
Trentonian- http://www.trentonian.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3159215 
June, 2011 – Talks of layoffs and possible plant closure.
2010 – Norampac receives over $3-million in provincial funding.
July, 2010 – Rumours of plant closure are shot down.
2010 – Norampac finalizes plans for $18-million project.