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Impact of woodworker strike spreads


August 21, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Vancouver, BCThe four-week old woodworker strike is now having an effect on pulp and paper companies, the Vancouve…

Vancouver, BCThe four-week old woodworker strike is now having an effect on pulp and paper companies, the Vancouver Sun reports. As supplies of wood chips dwindle, both Howe Sound Pulp and Paper and Pope & Talbot have announced shutdowns and layoffs affecting over 250 people. Catalyst Paper is watching the situation closely; CEO Richard Garneau said that they are holding enough inventory for normal August operations.

The strike began the weekend of July 21, when 7,000 workers walked off the job, shutting down 34 coastal logging and sawmill companies. Though some pulp and paper companies had started to stockpile chips in anticipation of the strike and others have resorted to trucking in chips from the interior, these measures can only work for a limited time, observes the Sun.

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Fred Fominoff of Howe Sound Pulp and Paper noted that there is not enough wood available to maintain full operations. We are very concerned about the impact of the strike on our employees, our business, and our customers, he said. However, given the current wood supply and economic conditions we have limited options. It is our hope that there will be a resolution soon to this dispute to avoid long term consequences to the industry.

There are currently no talks scheduled in the dispute between the United Steelworkers, representing the woodworkers, and Forest Industrial Relations, representing most companies affected. Concerns about a prolonged strike have been expressed to the BC government, the Sun reported, although no intervention is on the horizon.


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