Steelworkers' North American Day of Action in 200 Cities Targets Unsafe
PITTSBURGH, September 29 /CNW/ - News from USW: The United Steelworkers
(USW) on Saturday sponsored a "North American Day of Action" at Home Depot
stores in 150 cities to support more than 7,000 British Columbia forestry
workers on strike against 30 companies, including Western Forest Products and
Interfor, over dangerous working conditions. Since January 2005, some 65 BC
forest workers have been killed.
"We will stand by our members for as long as it takes," said Leo W.
Gerard, USW International President. "The desire for corporate profits should
not be an excuse to strip workers of their rights and dignity, let alone their
well-being and ability to provide for their families."
Thousands of USW members, leaders, community activists and their families
volunteered to distribute literature about the labor dispute at Home Depot
stores in their hometowns throughout the U.S. and Canada. The AFL-CIO has
mobilized numerous Central Labor Councils (CLCs) across the country in support
of this action.
"Cut Lumber, Not Safety" proclaimed the banners and leaflets. These
informational actions are aimed to encourage shoppers to support a safer
forest industry in coastal BC by seeking alternatives to Western Forest
Products, Interfor and Weyerhaeuser "Cedar One" products.
"We would like consumers to avoid purchasing these labeled products and
we urge Home Depot, and all other retailers and distributors, to avoid
carrying these wood products," said USW Western Canada Director Steve Hunt.
Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer,
with well over 2,100 stores around the world. Last year it had over U.S.
$90-billion in sales.
USW members have been on strike since July against 31 member companies of
Forest Industrial Relations (FIR) and Island Timberlands over working
conditions, including those affecting health and safety. Since 2004, many
employers, backed by a BC-government-legislated collective agreement, have
imposed work days of 12-16 hours, when hours on the job and travel time are
Earlier this week, the union released video footage that showed
contractors for another company, TimberWest, falling lumber into a Vancouver
Island lake. The accompanying leaked letter shows that TimberWest management
overrode contractors' concerns and ordered them to proceed with the falling,
despite the potential harm to the environment.
"If you have no concern for your workers, why would you worry about the
environment?" Gerard added.
The USW is North America's largest industrial union, with more than
850,000 members employed in a wide range of industries including steel, paper,
chemical, petroleum, tire and rubber.
For further information:
For further information: United Steelworkers Wayne Ranick, 412-562-2444
or Pat Van Horne, 416-544-5990