PL sends 'scabs' to-steel mill
By David Anderson
EUREKA - Union members say both laid-off and active Pacific
Lumber Co. employees are being used by Maxxam Inc. as strike-
breakers at its Kaiser Aluminum plants in Washington.
"We're mounting informational pickets Thursday at the Scotia
headquarters and at the PL mills in Carlotta and Fortuna," said Don
Kegley of Spokane, a member of United Steelworkers of America
Local 338. "We want to make contact with the PL workers, tell
them what's happening and ask them to support us, not to scab us."
The steelworkers will hold an open forum at 6 tonight at the
Riverwalk Inn in Fortuna to discuss their cause.
The company confirmed parts of the action.
PL President John Campbell on Wednesday blamed the union
picket at the plant on the company's environmental opponents,
especially Earth First.
„It‚s just an extension of the same destructive tactics Earth First
has been pursuing in the forest,š Campbell said. „Its purpose is to
MAXXAM acquired Kaiser Aluminum in a leveraged buy-out in
1987, the year after it bought PL. The strike started at plants in
Washington, Ohio and Louisiana after contract negotiations failed
on Sept. 30.
A union spokesman said the negotiations broke down over the
company‚s demand to replace union employees with contract
workers, increase medical cost to pensioners and eliminate
Kegley said Maxxam hired a firm called I-Mac Inc., which
started advertising for strikebreakers weeks before contract
negotiations ended. I-Mac provided security guards, fencing
trailers, food and replacement workers in one package. He said the
strikebreakers were both hired locally and brought in from out of
PL spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkle confirmed that employees
laid off after PL lost its logging
license were recruited as temporary replacements for the
strikebound aluminum plants in Spokane and Tacoma. But she
said that no active PL employees were sent there „so far as we
Bullwinkle stressed that the laid-off workers went to spokane of
their own volition.
„They were presented an opportunity, and they volunteered to
go up,š she said.
Kegler said several PL electricians were sent to the Spokane
plant, and at least one has now returned to Scotia.
He said that about 400 strikebreakers were put into a plant that
had employed 1,100 union workers, but that 286 left during the
first 60 days. Initially they were housed in trailers at the plant, he
said, until an influenza outbreak swept through the camp. They
were then moved to a off-site apartment comblex.
Few if any of the strikebreakers are trained aluminum workers,
Kegley said, and they appear to be engaged mostly in a show of
keeping the plant running. He added that several of the
inexperienced replacements have suffered serious injuries.
„They were recruiting whoever they could get, wherever they could
find them.š he said.
„They even got some from the homeless shelter, offering $25 to $30 an
hour and bonuses.š
Return to Home