Loggers still out of work despite agreement

  • Apr. 28, 2005 6:00 p.m.

About 100 loggers are still not back at work in Juskatla, despite the agreement between the province and the Haida, and this time it’s not because the road is blocked.
They are employees, direct and indirect, of Edwards and Associates, which does contract work for Weyerhaeuser. They were prevented from working earlier in the protest, but now are allowed through along with everyone else.
“I think with the line ‘soft’, people are coming and going as they please,” Haida spokesperson Irene Mills said Monday.
The problem at the moment-and it may last a while-is that Weyerhaeuser does not want more wood, and the workers have not been called back to work.
We’re kind of stuck in a hard place,” Wally Cheer, manager of Edwards and Associates said Monday morning from his office in Juskatla. “All our workers are still sitting at home, unable to work.” They’ve been there now since March 22, and some in fact have looked for work off-island to meet their financial obligations.
Weyerhaeuser doesn’t want more logs, according to Mr. Cheer, because it’s not sure its log barge would be able to come to the islands, load up and then leave unhindered, following the month of protest action just ended. And with more court action against Weyerhaeuser in the works this week, it’s not likely the Haida’s relationship with the Seattle-based logging company will change quickly. And that leaves the workers in a grey area. The Haida say they can go to work if they want, but their employer doesn’t want them to because it’s concerned about possible protest action in the future.

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