Un­happy over spec­u­la­tion

The Queens County Advance - - NEWS - By Mark Roberts

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.”

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