Steelworker lobbyists hit Victoria to demand immediate government action on forest industry crisis



    VICTORIA, March 10 /CNW/ - On Monday a group of United Steelworkers (USW)
members began meeting with provincial MLAs over the large-scale economic and
social crisis in the BC forest industry.
    In the last year alone the industry has lost more than 10,000 jobs in
permanent and indefinite closures while the BC government has done virtually
nothing to assist the industry, workers and communities.
    Woodworking members from the BC Interior to Vancouver Island to the Lower
Mainland are knocking on the doors of Liberal and NDP politicians to demand
immediate action to save jobs and communities.
    "Across this province our members and also thousands of non-union workers
are being dislocated in an unprecedented industry meltdown," says log scaler
Leslie McNabb, from Black Creek on Vancouver Island. "And we want to know up
front what our government officials are going to do about it now. The BC
government can't hide behind its just-announced round table."
    David Stowell, a laid off woodworker from the Winton Global sawmill in
Prince George, says workers and communities continue to be decimated as the
government sits on its hands.
    "Northern communities like Mackenzie, Chetwynd, Fort St. James, and
Prince George can't wait for solutions that may or may not even take affect
five or 10 years from now," said Stowell. "People are losing their jobs and
homes right now and our elected officials have to take action."
    Woodworker Kaleb Ustal, from the permanently-closed Canfor Panel and
Fibre mill in New Westminster, said BC Premier Gordon Campbell and Forests
Minister Rich Coleman refused to respond in any way to concerns of workers
over the closure of his mill and the Western Forest Products New West Lumber
mill last year. Both politicians will be visited, he said.
    "Premier Campbell, Rich Coleman and their Cabinet colleagues have to be
made accountable for their inaction," says Ustal.





For further information:

For further information: Leslie McNabb, (250) 334-7060


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