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Softwood Lumber Campaign

Foresty policy the future of forestry

10/16/2017

Unifor’s forestry policy outlines how to ensure a strong future for Canada’s third largest export industry, if governments and stakeholders act now.

Download the full policy

Anti-dumping duties push softwood lumber industry closer to crisis

6/27/2017

Ottawa-The re-introduction of a second tariff on Canadian softwood lumber exports pushes the industry closer to crisis, says Unifor.

“These tariffs are a slap in the face to the concept of fair trade,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It’s President Trump’s gift to U.S. landowners and hundreds of Canadian communities will pay the price.”

The anti-dumping duty announced today by the U.S. government will add to the countervailing duties announced in April 2017. The combined duties on Canadian exports could reach as high at 31%. Conservative estimates suggest that sustained 25% combined duties could yield a loss of 25,000 jobs.

Unifor says that the $867-million forestry industry aid package announced by the Canadian government in May will help cushion the blow, but it is not a long-term solution.

“Our forestry industry needs a new softwood agreement that defends good jobs and strengthens Canadian competitiveness,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President. “It’s very unlikely these tariffs will stand up to legal scrutiny, so Canada should bargain from a position of strength.”

In 2002 the U.S. government imposed similar tariffs, but international trade tribunals have consistently over-ruled American duties on Canadian lumber. While Unifor is confident that the new U.S. duties are illegal, it can take years for appeals to be resolved.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Unifor welcomes partial Atlantic exclusion from softwood duties

6/26/2017

Ottawa—Forestry workers welcomed the news that the U.S. is dropping Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia from the Commerce Department’s tariff investigations.

“The ad hoc exclusion of three provinces from duties confirms what we’ve stated all along: there is no legal basis for duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor’s National President. “This hardship can be avoided—the federal government must get to a negotiated solution as soon as possible.”

The U.S. Commerce Department posted a notice online today stating that the three provinces do not require further investigation for anti-dumping or countervailing duties on softwood lumber exports.

Unifor asserts that any duties on softwood exports are unwarranted and will cause job loss in one of Canada’s largest industries. The forestry industry employs more than 200,000 workers in Canada in 650 communities across the country.

“This announcement shows that the U.S. didn’t do their homework before imposing duties in April,” said Doherty. “The U.S. case against the remaining provinces is also weak. Unifor will continue to fight for Canadian forestry workers.”

New Brunswick was not included in the exemptions announced today. Unifor says this is concerning because historically the province has been treated similar to the other Atlantic provinces because its lumber industry has similar policy conditions.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Forestry rallies demand new softwood agreement

6/19/2017

Toronto—A diverse mix of workers, community allies, and employers held rallies in five cities across three provinces to demand a new Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement that protects good jobs.

"Tens of thousands of jobs and the future of dozens of communities depend on fair trade in softwood lumber,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor’s National President. “All across Canada workers and employers are rallying today to tell the federal government to negotiate a fair trade agreement with the U.S. before any more jobs are lost.”

Unifor members teamed up with Irving Pulp & Paper in New Brunswick and Resolute in Quebec and Ontario. The collaboration between forestry companies and workers underscores how urgent Canada needs a new bilateral softwood lumber agreement with the United States. The Americans levied a 20% tariff on Canadian lumber exports in April 2017, and another tariff is expected on June 23.

The federal government has implemented a relief package to assist companies impacted by the new tariffs but Unifor says that a new deal should be the ultimate goal.

“Workers and employers agree: a new Canada-U.S. softwood agreement is the most sustainable solution to keeping our forestry industry strong,” said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne.

Forestry provides 202,000 direct jobs in 650 communities across Canada. Forestry supply and transport companies create thousands more jobs; and the economic activity generated by the spending of forestry workers creates even more. For every forestry job, 1.5 additional jobs are created elsewhere in the economy. In total, forestry is responsible for more than half a million Canadian jobs.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Forestry workers welcome softwood aid package

6/1/2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ottawa—The relief package for the softwood lumber industry is welcomed by forestry workers as a good start to cushioning the blow dealt by new U.S. duties on Canadian softwood exports.

“Today the federal government has shown real leadership in protecting good resource jobs,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This is welcome news for dozens of communities that are already feeling the pain of unfair trade sanctions.”

The Trump government’s re-introduction of duties on Canadian softwood exports threatens tens of thousands of Canadian jobs and could cost the industry billions. Unifor has been lobbying the federal government to take action to support forestry communities in hopes of mitigating the effect of anticipated job losses as duties are imposed and until a new agreement is negotiated.

U.S. industry claims that Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized have proven to be unfounded in past, including by international trade tribunals.

The union welcomes today’s federal assistance measures, but cautions that the softwood lumber trade dispute is far from over.

“We continue to press the federal governments of both Canada and the U.S. to negotiate a fair deal,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President. “Today’s announcement is good progress and we’re optimistic that the federal government can add to this relief program as time goes on.”

The U.S. has already signalled that anti-dumping duties on Canadian softwood exports could be added in June 2017 to compound the countervailing duties.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

U.S. tariff on softwood exports could cost upwards of 25,000 jobs in Canada

4/24/2017

Media Release

Toronto—The re-introduction of duties on Canadian softwood exports will endanger upwards of 25,000 good jobs in nearly every region of the country, according to Unifor.

“Workers on both sides of the border will be the losers of a trade war,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Tariffs on our lumber have already been squashed. The Americans should have learned their lesson the first time.”

The decision to impose countervailing duties on Canada’s softwood lumber of roughly 20 per cent, expected today but confirmed yesterday, along with a second round of duties expected in June, will have devastating consequences for Canada’s forestry industry. Unifor estimates that, if the re-introduced tariffs are left un-checked, softwood exports to the U.S. will be cut in half. Conservative estimates suggest a 25 per cent combined duty could yield a loss of 25,000 jobs.

In 2002 the U.S. government imposed similar tariffs, but international trade tribunals have consistently over-ruled American duties on Canadian lumber. While Unifor is confident that the new U.S. duties are illegal, it can take years for appeals to be resolved.

To curb irreversible damage to Canada’s third largest export industry, Unifor says that the federal government must now move swiftly to implement loan guarantees for Canadian mills and federal assistance for affected communities.

“For now, the top priority has to be protecting good Canadian jobs and to cushion the blow to our communities,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President.

The U.S. has also signalled that anti-dumping duties on Canadian softwood exports could be added in June 2017 to compound today’s countervailing duties.

Unifor has nearly 24,000 forestry members at 134 employers in every region of Canada. It is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. ​

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For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Forestry workers to meet MPs for softwood lumber lobby

3/15/2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ottawa—Unifor members from across Canada will meet with MPs next week to discuss how the federal government can save good Canadian jobs during Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement negotiations.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher for one of the largest sectors of Canada’s economy,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The Trudeau government must stop negotiating trade agreements from a position of fear and get a softwood deal that benefits Canadian forestry communities.”

As Canada’s third largest export sector, forestry directly employs 202,000 people in every region of the country. The forestry sector’s $24-billion positive trade balance represents a quarter of Canada’s total trade surplus.

Unifor says that Canada must have a strategy in place to protect the sector and Canadian jobs, including a contingency plan for unjustified U.S. tariffs. The impact of a sharp price increase if tariffs are introduced would be immediate. In the early 2000s when the U.S. imposed a combined duty of 27%, 15,000 Canadians were laid off within months.

“If Canada is caught off-guard by U.S. tariffs, the job losses will number in the thousands. Some communities and regions may never recover,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor’s National President.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Forestry Council Meeting

12/21/2016

As part of this campaign our union has committed to hold a meeting with local leadership and the Forestry Council in February to review and discuss components of the campaign. At this meeting, it is our hope that we will discuss our strategic approach to move forward.

To secure a strong future for the forestry industry, it is vital that we come together with a united approach and be prepared to take whatever actions are necessary. In preparation for next steps we would ask you to inform the members of your local about this campaign and begin to think about who in your local community is an ally to the forestry sector and who we should lobby.

Should you have any questions or ideas about this important campaign that our union will launch, please don’t hesitate to contact.