Labor Relations

Constructive labor and management relations are the foundation of good human resource management and, as such, are very important to Resolute Forest Products' business. Regular dialogue with union leaders, local union representatives and employees at all our operations ensures that these key stakeholders are kept informed and engaged.

We are committed to the collective bargaining process and believe that considering the views of our employees and protecting their right to freedom of association are fundamental to our way of doing business. We currently do not have any operations in countries where employees’ rights to exercise freedom of association or collective bargaining may be at significant risk.

% of Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
  2018 2019 2020
Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements 67.7% 68.0% 63.6%

Labor Relations in 2020

Renewing expired or expiring collective agreements at pulp, paper and wood products operations is one of Resolute’s public commitments, ensuring our competitiveness as an employer while supporting our long-term viability.

Resolute works diligently with employees and union leadership on the mutually beneficial renewal of collective agreements. In 2020, we renewed collective agreements covering 1,310 employees – six agreements covering 621 employees in Canada, and agreements covering 689 unionized paper and tissue mill employees in the U.S. We are also committed to renewing the six expired or expiring collective agreements covering 326 employees at our Canadian wood products operations in 2021.

Notice Period for Operational Changes

Resolute aims to be proactive in informing all stakeholders as soon as possible when there is a need for major changes that will affect our employees.

Minimum notice periods for significant operational changes are subject to a variety of national or local standards, including the U.S. Warn Act, the Act respecting labor standards in Quebec, and the Employment Standards Act (2000) in Ontario. However, in all regions where we operate, the standard notice period is a minimum of two weeks. Additional conditions are specified in the collective agreements that cover 64% of our employees and are renegotiated and renewed by union leaders and company representatives on a regular basis.

Pension and Other Post-Employment Benefit Plans

Resolute sponsors multiple contributory and non-contributory defined benefit pension plans, in addition to numerous defined contribution plans, for our U.S. and Canadian employees. The company also provides various group insurance plans for employees and other post-employment benefit (OPEB) plans for retirees, depending on the circumstances. Some of the above plans are covered under collective bargaining agreements.

Membership in the Canadian pension plans is mandatory. In 2020, 100% of eligible employees belonged to the mandatory defined benefit pension plans, while 93% of employees participated in the optional defined contribution plans in the United States.

Employee contributions generally range from 0-8% of their salary, but can reach up to 100% in certain locations up to the regulatory limit. Employer contributions range from 2.5-10% of the employee’s salary, depending on the location and applicable collective agreements.

The pension administration committee (PAC) oversees the day-to-day administration and other non-investment responsibilities of the Canadian pension plans, as well as the U.S. pension plans and the U.S. group insurance programs. The pension investment committee (PIC) oversees the investment of plan assets, including the review, update and approval of the investment policies, and monitors investment performance.

We track and report our plans’ obligations, assets and liabilities on an annual basis. The latest assessment is available in our 2020 Form 10-K, along with detailed information on the methods used to calculate these figures.

In 2020, Resolute contributed $91 million to our defined benefit pension plans and $17 million to our defined contribution pension plans, while recognizing a $19 million credit in aggregate, before special events. We also made payments of $11 million to OPEB plans, while recognizing an $5 million credit to the net periodic benefit cost, before special events.