Open letter to Finance Minister Morneau: Please don't sacrifice Boilermakers jobs in Calgary and Winnipeg

CALGARY, Jan. 20, 2017 /CNW/ - The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers have sent the following letter to the Honourable Bill Morneau expressing their concerns about Public Interest recommendations by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal for anti-dumping duty relief on Gypsum Board from the United States.

The Boilermakers consider that should the Cabinet accept these recommendations, the jobs of 120 of their members at Winnipeg and Calgary are at risk.

January 20, 2017

The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
90 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0G5

Dear Minister,

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers have 120 members working in gypsum board plants in Winnipeg and Edmonton.

We have serious concerns with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal's (the Tribunal) recommendations for reduction of the full amounts of dumping duties.

We have no argument with providing relief to small contractors who were contractually bound against price increases.

We told the Tribunal that we support duty free re-building of Fort McMurray.  Boilermakers members worked 2.5 million hours at Fort McMurray in 2015.

We are concerned that the initial elimination of the duty remedy for a six month period and the reduction going forward:

  • will deny the Canadian producer the ability to recover from damage during the Period of Review – damage which the Tribunal found to exist;
  • will force the Canadian producer to continue to operate at injurious price levels;
  • ignores the possibility of creating a competitive environment which could persuade Georgia Pacific (GP) to re-open its idled plants at Surrey, B.C. and Edmonton, Alberta.

GP has idled plants at Surrey and Edmonton and local drywall supply could be increased if they were reopened. GP cannot refuse to reopen its idled plants on one hand and claim short supply on the other. If there was a shortage, it was driven by corporate decisions of those who have chosen to leave Canada and dump from U.S. plants to serve Canadian markets. Further, our members at CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc.'s Calgary plant advise that production has been curtailed in recent weeks because storage facilities are full; clearly there is no shortage there.

Parties opposed to the tariffs told the Tribunal that Canadian home buyers have been side-swiped by mortgage eligibility changes and changes in building codes. These changes added much more to building costs than selling gypsum board at fair market prices and reducing or denying protection against illegal dumping will not lessen the impact of these other factors.

The Boilermakers' position is clear – no Canadian worker should lose his or her livelihood to unfairly traded imports.

All of our members are middle class Canadians who need their jobs. They cannot afford to "take one for the team".

We understood from your Department's press release of October 17, 2016, that the extraordinary Governor in Council Reference would not deter "the Government from its efforts and commitment to a strong and effective trade remedy system".

We believe you, and urge you to modify the Tribunal's recommendations to provide effective relief.

The implications for Boilermakers members are serious:

  • the 20 union and non-union jobs added after the Preliminary Determination of dumping are at immediate risk;
  • the jobs of 100 brothers and sisters at Winnipeg and Calgary are at risk;
  • the likelihood that idled Georgia Pacific plants at Surrey and Edmonton will be re-opened will be increasingly remote – so we will not recover the 100 jobs there.

We know you have to make a difficult decision about competing interests, but our members, knowing that contractors' and importers' representatives continue to lobby for total removal of protection, have no choice but to bring our concerns to you, and to the public.

Therefore, we will circulate this open letter to the media.

Yours truly,

Kevin Sheptycki
Assistant Business Manager
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Lodge D-11 - Western Canada

 

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

For further information: Kevin Sheptycki, 780-908-1062, kevinsheptycki@live.ca; Rob Lauzon, 604-308-3767, rlauzon@boilermakers.org

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