Dispute unites union, employers

Collaborating to save jobs, improve productivity in B.C. forestry
By David Brown
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/03/2003

Embroiled in a full-blown trade war with the United States, unions and employers in British Columbia’s forestry industry have been working together like never before, with surprising results.

In May, the already struggling forestry sector was hit with a punishing 27-per cent duty on all softwood lumber exports to the U.S. It was widely expected the inflated cost of Canadian lumber in the vital American market would lead to the closure of Canadian lumber mills. It was projected the tariff would cost the $10 billion industry as much as $3 billion and 25,000 jobs. Since then, unions and employers have been working to defy those expectations.

A lot of attitudes have had to change, says Katrina Boguski, a training and development specialist with Slocan Forestry Products. But people are starting to understand that the industry is changing very quickly and they have to change just as quickly or risk losing their jobs or going out of business.