Tuesday, June 5, 2012

RETHINKING: A MILL OR NO MILL

The future of the province's original, and last paper mill, was the topic of a meeting between the owner and Premier Dunderdale last night.

It would appear that the ball remains firmly in the hands of the union, who are in an untenable position. They must reverse their last vote or face the loss of their jobs.

I though the Premier's comments going into the meeting were sensible. The industry is in crisis throughout the world. Despite the province's best efforts, two mills in this province have already fallen victim to the chaos that has enveloped the industry. Dunderdale knows the forestry file well. This is not a game of poker, there is no room for bluffing. There is no other operator hiding behind the wood pile waiting for an opportunity to take over the mill.

Kruger, the current owner of the mill in Corner Brook, is trying to find a way to meet it's obligations and keep the mill open. They desperately need further concessions in order to continue operating in the hope that a return to profitability is on the horizon.

For the union, and the community, the loss of the mill will be devastating.

This does not appear to be a ploy to increase profits at the expense of the workers. This is about the pair working together to get over the depressed markets that currently dominate the industry. The company can not be expected to run the mill as a charity, the union members can not be expected to jeopardize their future pensions. Corner Brook needs the mill.

Surely, if Kruger is willing to continue to operate in these uncertain times, the union might be prepared to concede, yet again.

The alternative is unthinkable for the region.

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