Once a month, North Okanagan Labour Council President David Doran writes a column about labour issues in Kelowna's Capital News newspaper. Here's his column for August, 2002:
The new owners of Skeena Cellulose want to alter the existing terms of employment for unionized workers or they won't operate the mill.
It is not just as simple as saying those workers should be happy just to have a job.
Upper management toadying to the divine right of the shareholders has orchestrated the demise of Skeena Cellulose.
Skeena Cellulose has become an out-of-date mill with a desperate need of renovations so that it can be competitive.
The new owners' desire is to put some of the cost of those renovations on the backs of their employees.
There may already be a special deal for timber in the agreement for sale with the new owners. The threat of unemployment, to working people of the Northwest, is an attempt to coerce a wage rollback.
The fight at the Labour Board is about maintaining industry standards, if lost; it will have ramifications in every mill town and their communities in the Province.
If Skeena Cellulose is allowed to toss out the existing collective agreement, then all other mill collective agreements will be subject to degradation.
This application by the new owners, who knew what they were buying, should be tossed out by the Labour Board and industry standards maintained so that there are no job losses in other communities in the province.