The union representing 700 employees at Resolute Forest Products has ratified an agreement that includes benefits gains.

Unifor members working in Resolute’s paper mills voted 90 per cent in favour of the four-year agreement. Vision and dental care will increase by $100 per year on Jan. 1, 2023 and dental will increase by another $100 on Jan. 1, 2025. Life insurance premiums will increase by $10,000 per member and will also increase by $2,500 for a spouse and $1,000 for children. The amount for long-term disability coverage will increase by $125 in 2023 and by another $125 in 2024.

The deal also guarantees the establishment of a women’s representative in each plant and a third week of vacation after two years of service.

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All members in the production industry will receive a salary adjustment of $2.50 per hour and members in the trades will receive an adjustment of $3.50 per hour. The agreement also includes salary increases of three per cent in the first year, $1.30 per hour in the second, three per cent in the third and $1.30 per hour in the last year. In total, these amounts represent average increases between 20 and 24 per cent.

“Hopefully this agreement will help us attract production and trades people, and retain the [workers] that we currently have,” says Gary Bragnalo, a national representative at Unifor. “It’s a very good contract, probably the best one we’ve had in decades.”

Once the contract is bargained, it will serve as a basis for negotiation with all other employers in the forest industry. Roughly 15,000 members will be impacted by this contract in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Read: Eacom Timber workers reach agreement with pension, benefits improvements