USW welcomes assistance for laid-off workers, but asks for permanent solution
September 20, 2019
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The United Steelworkers (USW) is appreciative of the British Columbia government’s announcement to help forest workers impacted by mill closures and curtailments in the B.C. Interior, but is looking for a long-term solution.
“Any move to provide assistance to workers who are bearing the brunt of the crisis in the forest industry is welcomed, but permanent solutions for workers, families and communities throughout the entire province are needed,” says Stephen Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada. “A jobs protection commissioner would also go a long way to assisting mills, workers and communities facing closures all around the province.”
“From the Coast to the Interior, every community in British Columbia is being impacted by mill closures and job losses and unless there are significant changes to forest policy the crisis will continue,” says Jeff Bromley, USW Wood Council Chair. “The forest industry is critical to the economic well-being of thousands of workers, hundreds of communities and our entire province. This announcement helps right now, but we cannot give up on the industry in the future.”
The USW is calling for the B.C. government to restore the bond between our public forest resources and employment opportunities and benefits for British Columbians. A social contract tying logs to jobs and communities was a long-standing provincial policy that existed for decades through governments of different political stripes until the first term of the B.C. Liberal government terminated it.