26 July, 2010

Tembec to invest $300-million in Temiscaming mill: union - The Globe and Mail

This story is certainly an example of how the 'rubber' is 'hitting the road' in my corner of the world. Temiscaming was the town where I initially served as a priest, and it is the neighboring parish to my current assignment in Mattawa, Ontario. 

The timber mills in Mattawa fell silent almost two years ago, the largest operation falling to an earlier cost-trimming exercise by Tembec. The impact of the almost complete collapse of the lumber industry in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec has had a devastating impact on many good people. Even the one local laminate flooring plant that is (barely) operating in Rutherglen (where neither wages nor benefits would come close to provincial average in most other occupations) finds themselves undercut by similar product produced in China!

I happen also to have been born and raised in an INCO mining town in the Sudbury area, and I stand incredulous at seeing United Steelworkers local 6500 being brought to its knees by the new owners, VALE Metals of Brazil. Those workers had to (unsuccessfully) endure a year long strike, not because the Sudbury operation is not extremely profitable but because the company did not want to permit any 'bleeding through' of previously hard won advances in salaries, pensions and benefits as existed under the previous owners.

All of this is more evidence of the wisdom of the social teachings of JPII and B16, both of whom have spoken out against the trend within global markets of wages and benefits falling to the lowest common denominator. I appreciate both the exigencies of the current globalized economy and the benefits that have been rendered in most countries, including Canada, but it is sad none the less to see men and women that I have come to love and respect throughout my growing years and during my 20+ years of ministry in the Ottawa Valley suffer as a result.

Tembec to invest $300-million in Temiscaming mill: union - The Globe and Mail

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