Two weeks ago 54.3% of the union employees at the paper mill turned down another pension restructuring proposal requested by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. There now appears to be a concerted plan to make the membership reconsider it's position.
Kruger reacted to the decision by suggesting that the viability of keeping the mill open was in question.
Over the years, I have participated in many meetings with Mr. Kruger in the Corner Brook and Montreal Boardrooms. The condition of the old tattered chairs and faded pictures on the walls expressed the family businesses approach. There was no wastage, just a pragmatic operation that focused on producing paper and the bottom line.
Kruger and the mill manager in Corner Brook always seemed to enjoy a special relationship with the Premier. Premier Wells, Tobin and William's all represented the area. When the mill manager wanted to meet with the forestry or environment ministers it happened promptly.
In the Tobin era, the premier's former Ottawa Chief of Staff was Kruger's top lobbyist. In the William's era, the premier's brother became Kruger's top lobbyist.
To say Kruger had influence would be an understatement.
The government needs a win. They need some good news. The premier needs a public relations win.
The Scrooge McDuck of the Canadian paper industry is astute.
The faces might have changed but Joseph Kruger knows that these provincial politicians will not let him close the oldest and last paper mill in the province, at least for the time being.