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Unifor denounces Rayonier AM's abandonment of Témiscaming and lack of response from Quebec government

Témiscaming (News release) - Unifor is expressing its consternation following the press release published on May 7 by Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM), justifying the suspension of its activities at its cellulose plant in Témiscaming, Quebec. RYAM acknowledged that this decision is about demonstrating, among other things, that the site and its various processes can be operated separately with the goal of facilitating its bid to sell the business, which the company initiated last fall. This is nothing less than a marketing power play that shows flagrant contempt for the 275 workers from the Abitibi region who will be out of a job as of July 2, 2024.

Unifor strongly condemns RYAM's statement, describing the move as "totally devoid of any human consideration." Daniel Cloutier, Unifor Quebec Director, unequivocally stated: "What we're seeing here is a company that's sacrificing the well-being of an entire community to prove its profitability to third parties. It's unacceptable to treat workers as simple pawns in a financial game. This decision is both inhumane and irresponsible. RYAM has pulled off a publicity stunt on the backs of an entire population."

The union also vigorously denounces the absence of any reaction by the minister responsible for the region, Jean Boulet. The Quebec government should denounce the actions of a company that receives public funds while destroying a Quebec asset in an effort to strengthen the competitiveness of its American facilities.

"We are very concerned about this situation," said Stéphane Lefebvre, President of Unifor Local 233. "An entire town is in peril as a result of the unilateral decision of an American company that seems to place little importance on the fate of Témiscaming workers. In addition, we're seeing a deafening silence from the minister responsible for the region. We demand an immediate and decisive intervention from the government to save the jobs and communities affected by this business decision. RYAM must be held accountable and we expect the government to act quickly to right this injustice."

Unifor is calling on RYAM to reconsider its decision and to maintain the integrity of the Témiscaming plant, an exceptional industrial site. It is also adamant in its demand that the provincial government intervene immediately to save the jobs and communities affected by this crisis.

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