Interesting things in the Inbox today. Weyerhauser stole the trees then left Saskatchewan workers and the small business people they contracted with nothing. I hope Premier Calvert has the good sense to remove the timber rights from the corporate pigs after he’s through talking tough over it! That mill should never have been privatized in the first place! Now correct me if I’m wrong, but that was Grant Devine and the Saskatchewan Conservatives who sold it for a song in the 80s, wasn’t it?
5 OCTOBER 2006 –
Steelworkers Urge Calvert to Look at Withdrawing Weyerhaeuser SK Timber Rights
WINNIPEG — The United Steelworkers (USW) has asked Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert to begin the process of removing Weyerhaeuser Company’s huge timber rights in the province.
The union’s request came in response to a plant closure notice that Weyerhaeuser issued earlier this week to 300 employees at its Carrot River sawmill and its Hudson Bay plywood mill.
The USW asked for a review of the company’s nearly 5 million hectares of timber rights in Saskatchewan.
“The company has failed to live up to the commitments in its forest license agreement with the people of Saskatchewan. Accordingly we urge you to immediately review their Forest Management Agreements with an eye to revoking the timber, since it appears they no longer intend to use it for manufacturing in our province,” wrote Paul Hallen, Saskatchewan USW local president, together with newly-elected Steelworkers-IWA Council Chair Bob Matters, USW Western Canada Director Steve Hunt and National Director Ken Neumann.
“What Weyerhaeuser is doing in totally unacceptable,” said Neumann. “It is wrong for that firm, which has cut its manufacturing operations in the province down to one OSB mill, to hold onto public forests covering almost 5 million hectares, an area almost as great as Nova Scotia. We believe Saskatchewan should now examine Weyerhaeuser’s license agreement with an eye to removing its timber rights.”
Hallen, a native of Hudson Bay, said people in that small town and citizens of Carrot River are devastated at the news of the planned shutdown.
“This sort of thing tears the guts out of a small town, where not just the logging and processing jobs are lost, but the entire economy depends on Weyerhaeuser living up to its commitments to process the timber we have given it.”
Weyerhaeuser’s latest proposed closures come in the wake of its April 2004 closure of the Prince Albert pulp and paper mill and its closure of sawmills near Prince Albert and at Big River.
In spite of its huge access to public timber, closure of the Carrot River and Hudson Bay mills would leave only a recently-built OSB plant at Hudson Bay. The firm’s recent merger with Domtar Inc. shifted ownership of some Saskatchewan mills to the newly created entity that will run the companies’ combined Canadian assets.
“People in Hudson Bay should also be concerned about the future of the remaining OSB plant,” said Matters. “If they’re only going to run one mill, they only need timber for one mill.”
“We get no signals from Weyerhaeuser that they want to do good with their timber assets in Saskatchewan,” said Hunt. “We say, let’s look at taking away those harvesting rights”.
CONTACT: Scott Lunny (604)329-5308