Unhappy over speculation
Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. employees are unhappy the president of Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada has stated he suspects the Brooklyn mill will close in the near future.
David Coles’ comments were pure speculation, says CEP Local 141 Union President Courtney Wentzell. Coles was quoted in The Chronicle Herald on Aug. 14.
Wentzell said, “ We frankly don’t know where he’s coming from. If he meant Abitibi is not going to make it, then we’d understand. We’re only 51 per cent Abitibi and we’re not in bankruptcy. The mill can still survive. I don’t know where he’s got his information.”
He continued. “I don’t think there’s a need to put the community into that kind of speculation now. You wouldn’t think someone in his position would do this when he’s collecting dues from the membership.” Wentzell added no one called him before the comments were made.
He explained Bowater is not under bankruptcy protection, like AbitibiBowater, because it is 49 per cent owned by The Washington Post Company Ltd., a company that is solvent.
He added the company’s
biomass energy plant, ice-free harbour, proximity to an international port, skilled workforce, and, again, the fact Bowater is not under bankruptcy protection bodes well for the future. He said he doesn’t want to raise false hopes in the community because the worse case scenario is still possible but he also doesn’t like seeing employees and residents in fear over comments that are not based on fact. He added the Bowater lands are worth almost as much as the mill.
He believes The Washington Post would find a new partner if “our” AbitibiBowater “partner” went bankrupt. In fact, Wentzell said he would be glad when the bankruptcy protection proceedings are over.
In addition, he said he is comfortable the New Democratic Party government will do everything it can to ensure the plant survives.
“ We feel the national union would be confident too but apparently not.”