USW Adds $45,000 To Burns Lake Fund
The United Steelworkers (USW) announced a $45,000 contribution to a support fund for Babine Forest Products workers and families affected by the explosion at the Burns Lake, B.C. sawmill.
"We are re-confirming our pledge to the families and community of Burns Lake," Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, said in announcing the Steelworkers' contribution to the USW Burns Lake Fund. "We will be with you every step of the way as you cope with this tragedy and rebuild your lives and your community."
Other contributions to the USW Burns Lake Fund to date include donations from a range of national, provincial and local unions, including $10,000 from the B.C. Federation of Labour. The labour federation also has launched an online appeal for contributions to the fund.
"We are grateful for all the contributions made to date and we encourage others to make pledges in support of the families and community of Burns Lake," said Stephen Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada. "These acts of solidarity and compassion send a message to the workers and families of Burns Lake that the labour movement is by your side to help you overcome the challenges ahead."
Two workers died and 19 others were injured in the January 20 explosion and fire that destroyed the Burns Lake sawmill.
China Now Largest Importer Of Softwood Lumber, Logs
China was the world's largest importer of softwood lumber and logs in 2011, according to Wood Resources Quarterly. The value of logs and lumber imported last year was almost $US8 billion, an increase of 57% from 2010 and up from only $US70 million 15 years ago.
Imports of softwood lumber have increased faster than log imports over the past few years, but log imports still constitute a higher share of the total import value of softwood products.
U.S. Lowers Claim Against Canada On Softwood
The U.S., acting on new information and adjustments to previous calculations, has lowered its alleged subsidy that it says sawmills in the British Columbia Interior received from the mispricing of sawtimber in violation of the Softwood Lumber Agreement.
A filing by the U.S. dated January 5, 2012, in the case before the London Court of International Arbitration, shows the adjustments reduce the alleged subsidy from $499 million to $303.6 million. The subsidy was calculated through March of 2012, and does not include prospective subsidy beyond that date. The U.S. is asking the LCIA to remedy the alleged breach of the SLA by imposing an additional export charge of 8.2% on softwood lumber exports from the B.C. Interior to the U.S., until the $303.6 million, and any additional subsidy, has been collected.