Union calls for action ignored, 500 now out of work, community survival at risk



    MONCTON, N.B., Dec. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The regional vice-president of New
Brunswick's largest forestry union says governments must stop the head nodding
and take immediate action in the wake of today's announcement by UPM Kymmene
in Miramichi that it will permanently close, throwing 500 employees out of
work.
    "Governments and corporations have a lot to answer for," says Ervan
Cronk, Atlantic Vice-President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
Union. "We have been calling on them for months to meet with us about the
crisis in the forest industry, only to be consistently ignored as they worked
behind closed doors."
    "Our calls to get power rates under control and adopt legislation to
protect Crown forests have fallen on deaf ears," he says. "I met with the
Premier last week only to get more head nodding and no action."
    "UPM Kymmene should be totally ashamed for abusing our province's
resources, both natural and human," says Cronk. "And the provincial government
has totally violated the public trust and the interests of the workers by
letting it happen."
    "Some of these workers have put more than 30 years of their life into
this mill, and they are not yet eligible for pension. All of them have worked
hard to make this company profitable and here's the thanks they get. The
community's survival is at risk.
    Cronk says it did not have to be this way, and calls on the government
now to work with the union to find a buyer for the mill to keep people at
work, and to negotiate transition packages for those who are nearing
retirement or will be laid off.
    "This business of large mill operators shutting down mills and refusing
to sell to legitimate buyers has got to stop, and governments should enact
legislation to make sure it does. Governments should be looking after the
interests of people, not the profits of big corporations."
    He also renewed CEP's call for the federal government to convene a
national forest industry summit to agree on urgent matters to support the
Canadian forest industry.




For further information:

For further information: Ervan Cronk, (506) 857-8647, cell: (506)
434-3488

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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