Forestry workers urge Klein government to be part of the solution, not the problem in softwood dispute

EDMONTON - Leaders from the Alberta Federation of Labour and two unions representing thousands of forestry workers in the province will meet with Human Resource Minister Clint Dunford this afternoon in an effort to discourage the Alberta government from "going down a dangerous path" on the issue of softwood lumber.

"The softwood dispute between Canada and the United States has already resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs in B.C. and it's starting to have in impact here as well," says Les Steel, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

"We've reached a point where we obviously need a deal. But at the same time we have to guard against caving in to the Americans. That's a cure that would be worse than the disease."

WHAT:  Forestry union reps answer questions about their meeting with minister
WHEN:  3 p.m., Thursday, July 3
WHERE: Rotunda, Alberta Legislature
WHO: Dave Haggard, National President, Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA)
Don MacNeil, Western VP, Communication, Energy, Paperworkers (CEP)
Les Steel, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL)
Mike Pisak, President, IWA Local 207-1 (Alberta)

Based on internal government documents obtained through freedom of information requests, the unions are worried the Alberta government is negotiating its own deal with the U.S. - one that would essentially give the Americans everything they want.

"That's why we're meeting with the Minister today," says Steel. "We want to urge our provincial government to be part of the solution, not the problem when it comes to finding a resolution to the softwood dispute. If they continue down the path they seem to be on, our province will pay a very high price - in the form of lost jobs and devastated communities. That's what we're trying to avoid."

For more information call:

Gil McGowan, AFL Communications @ (780) 483-3021 or (780) 910-1137

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