More than 500 union members are ready for conciliation talks in Dryden today. They'll be talking with Domtar about local issues, as well as the pattern agreement for the region.

Union spokesman Steve Boon says they're cautiously optimistic.

"We're hoping that talks are successful, but what we've also explained to our members is that we're prepared to take strike votes within the next 10 days, and we have meetings scheduled, in the event that talks aren't successful," he said, noting they'd be seeking a strike mandate at that point.

The members are in the woodlands, as well as the mill itself. Their last agreement expired last August.

Members are seeking to follow a pattern agreement, which has been reached in other locations, as well as some local issues. Boon didn't go into detail, as they were still being negotiated.

If talks aren't successful, the earliest a strike could take place would be May 8.