Photo: Informational picket

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003

Members of Local 8-0369 of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, which represents Agrium's 156 union employees, conduct an informational picket at the Nikiski fertilizer plant last Friday morning.

The union and company are in the midst of discussions over Agrium's reorganization plans. Those plans, announced late last month, will result in 65 fewer positions at the plant by the end of June. Among the issues workers are concerned about are the company's plans to use part-time, "casual" workers, the way layoffs will proceed and the conditions under which a "voluntary termination allowance plan" would be approved. Workers also said they are frustrated because the jobs apparently will not come back even if new supplies of gas are found. The reorganization is result of "an extensive analysis" that began in late 2002 and is designed "to improve the facility's efficiency and operating costs for global and export competitiveness and in light of the current gas supply issues with Unocal," the company said in a press release in April. The Nikiski plant produces ammonia and urea from Cook Inlet natural gas and sells the fertilizer products to Pacific Rim markets.

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