Nanaimo Mill Workers Lose To WFP

The  first sawmill in BC, 1848. Sawmill is on the right,
and a grist mill is shown on the other side of Millstream, near Victoria.

British Columbia's old growth forests are not the only victims of years of mayhem in the woods - forestry workers are suffering as well.

Based on data from the BC Ministry of Forests and Range, from 1991 - 2000, the average rate of closure was 3 mills per year. From 2001 - 2009 it rose to 6 mill closures per year. The closures account for the loss of thousands of jobs, and takes millions of dollars out of forestry-based communities.

The following article is a recent example of how forestry workers are suffering from bad policies and corporations looking out for #1 and the bottom line.

Mill workers lose court battle

Labour arbitrator sides with WFP in longstanding fight

By Robert Barron, Daily News April 16, 2012

Hundreds of laid-off workers at Nanaimo's two Western Forest products' sawmills won't receive severance packages after labour arbitrator David McPhillips recently ruled in favour in the forest company in a longstanding dispute.

Darrel Wong, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 which represents workers at the two mills, said the union sees no point in appealing McPhillips' decision even though it feels many of its arguments in the case are still valid.

WFP spokeswoman MacKenzie Leine said she's not surprised by the arbitrator's decision.

The union began court action against WFP over their concerns that the forest company may have reopened its two sawmills in Nanaimo with skeleton crews in 2010 to avoid having to pay severance packages, totalling more than $6 million, that the company would be mandated to pay if the mills remained closed.
Read full article here.

With old growth forests being rapidly depleted, raw log shipments, lack of government oversight in the woods, and logging companies using questionable business practices to avoid their responsibility to workers, it is hard to see how the citizens of this province are benefiting from the harvesting of our forestry resources.

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