United Steelworkers go to Washington, DC

Canadian forestry workers tell U.S. officials: A fair softwood agreement is a negotiated one

WASHINGTON/CNW/ – A delegation of Canadian members of the United Steelworkers (USW) from the wood products industry were telling U.S. politicians recently that workers on both sides of the border would benefit from a negotiated settlement on lumber and the termination of unfair countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed by the United States.

“The only way forward is together,” said Bob Matters, USW Canadian wood council chair and leader of the delegation of nine Canadian forestry sector workers. “Canadians and Americans have a long history of working together and we are here this week to advocate for a fair deal that will benefit both Americans and Canadians.”

USW members met with several members of Congress and Senators who work on trade issues. They also met at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton has been actively involved on this issue since duties were announced in late April.

USW Canadian national director Ken Neumann pointed out the American lack of understanding of the Canadian industry.

“Canada has faced more unfair trade disputes from the U.S. over softwood than any other country,” Neumann said. “All of these actions failed and Canada’s forestry industry was not found to be subsidized. This repetition of failed assumptions about our industry is not only hurting Canadians, but also the American economy, where Canadian wood products sold in the U.S. will be more expensive.”

Matters added, “Canada is at a disadvantage now when compared to other countries that export wood products to the U.S. All we want is to have fair access to the U.S. market and the recognition of how integrated our economies are.”

The USW is one of the largest private-sector unions in Canada, representing workers in all economic sectors.