Steelworkers Want Shoppers to Think of Worker Safety Before Buying Wood Products



    North American Day of Action in 150 Cities To Target Lumber Sold at Home
    Depot, Rona

    TORONTO, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - On Saturday, Sept. 29, the United Steelworkers
(USW) are holding 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 more than 30 companies 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
have volunteered to distribute literature about the labour dispute at Home
Depot stores throughout the US and Canada.
    "Cut Lumber, Not Safety" is the theme on banners and in leaflets. These
informational actions are aimed at encouraging shoppers to support a safer
forest industry in coastal BC by seeking alternatives to products sold under
the Western Forest Products, Interfor and Weyerhaeuser "Cedar One" labels.
    "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 US
$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
factored together.
    Earlier this week, the union released video footage that showed
contractors for another struck company, TimberWest, falling lumber into a
Vancouver Island lake. An accompanying letter shows that TimberWest management
overrode contractors' concerns and ordered them to proceed with the falling,
despite 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 and most diverse union, representing
more than 850,000 men and women working in every sector of Canada's and the US
economies.





For further information:

For further information: Wayne Ranick (US), (412) 562-2444; Pat Van
Horne (Canada), (416) 544-5990


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