Forest workers occupy Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's office



    WHITBY, ON, May 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Lack of leadership in handling the
forestry crisis has led forest workers to take matters into their own hands.
    Today, members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of
Canada, have occupied the office of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
    "More than 50,000 forestry jobs have been lost over the last two years,
and despite CEP's efforts to get federal government ministers to address the
crisis, the Conservatives have sat on their hands," says Bob Huget, CEP's
Ontario Regional Vice-President.
    "We intend to stay in this office until Minister Flaherty agrees to meet
with us," adds Kim Ginter, Ontario Administrative Vice-President. "We want to
discuss our demands for alleviating the suffering and anxiety of forest
workers, our families and our communities."
    "We are here to register CEP's solutions to the forest crisis, seek
support for those solutions from the Minister, assist our union to meet with
the Prime Minister on June 2, and provide a commitment to hold a town-hall
meeting in his constituency to discuss the forest crisis," Ginter says.
    "We firmly believe that if the forest industry were properly managed, it
would sustain hundreds of communities for years to come," says Huget. "Our
goal is to protect our own futures, as well as the future of our industry."
    
    CEP is demanding that the federal government:

    - Provide loan guarantees to forest companies facing financial difficulty
      so that they can keep operating.

    - Protect workers' pensions. The federal government must proclaim into
      law the part of the protection against creditors' act (passed by
      Parliament in Dec. '07) that makes paying off workers pensions and
      wages a priority..

    - Level the playing field. Match U.S. tax credits to the industry for the
      use of alternative fuel - so that Canadian forest companies can compete
      fairly.

    - Set up a national adjustment fund for workers, their families and
      communities impacted by mill closures, and income support for older
      workers.

    - Hold a national summit of key stakeholders on the future of the forest
      industry that includes employment stabilization and forest regeneration
      measures.
    




For further information:

For further information: Bob Huget, (613) 299-9839; Kim Ginter, (416)
931-2379; www.cep.ca

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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