Sunday, August 27, 2006

Catalyst - eating your dinner for lunch

Island towns stare down Catalyst
Lefebure points out that the taxes represent only about one per cent of Catalyst's operating expenses, but they're the lifeblood of the communities that house the mills. Those communities, which have already endured sawmill closures, slowdowns in the fishing and mining industries and the loss of residents to more prosperous regions, say they just can't absorb the loss of millions in tax revenue.

Ken McRae, mayor of Port Alberni, said Catalyst just cut 60 jobs when it shut down the pulp facility in the mill there, and now is "suggesting if we don't want to lose more, we'd better do something."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

something rotten in the oil patch

Mould: Workers concerned about their safety - By RENATO GANDIA, Fort McMurray Today, Canada
Some camp workers staying at the Athabasca Lodge and Beaver River Lodge claim they are being left in the dark by the mould infestation in some buildings at the camps.

Mould was found months ago and PTI delayed responding to the situation, said James Mason and James Fletcher, union members who are employed with PTI.

PTI Group, which operates numerous camps in Fort McMurray and area, began addressing the mould problem in the building after Alberta Occupational Health and Safety inspected some of the rooms, the two said.

Our main concern is we don’t know what kind of health risk we have and how effective is their removal process,” said Mason, an electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“We haven’t been told any information. In fact we are being left in the dark. We’re not being told the short-term and long-term health risk,” he said.

But Mason said he has seen PTI crews remove the walls infested with mould and some areas of the camp had been quarantined.

Still, he said, he wants to see results from the tests to find out what the health risks are.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Speaks

Tim Thompson - Viewpoint - posted by Tim Thompson, Recording Secretary, Wage Delegate. Local 592, CEP. Port Alberni, B.C.
I am posting the recent comment from my last blog post (a long time ago) because I think it reflects the mood of the workforce at the paper mill. Personally, I am frustrated by all of this because it doesn't seem to matter to this company what we say or do or how hard we work. To me, most if not all of their integrity is gone (if they ever had any) and please, don't speak to me about business ethics. In Catalyst speak that is an oxymoron.
Anonymous Speaks: (click above for full text)
Port Alberni Punished due to corporate incompetence. Once again Port Alberni is hit with a shutdown. Obviously, the strategic direction of the company is flawed.

Monday, August 21, 2006

"King" Coles' "Pulp Fiction" agreement ain't worth the pulp it's inked on

Catalyst announces temporary shut-down of Port Alberni groundwood facility - Canada NewsWire
"Efficiency and quality programs have driven the cost of de-inked pulp down to the point where it is now part of an interim solution for our highest cost production at Port Alberni," said Ron Buchhorn, senior vice president, operations. "We know an indefinite shut-down is tough on the 60 employees and families affected by layoffs and we continue to work with our unions on options that can make production at the mill viable for the long haul."

Employees are still finding ways to streamline operations, drive out costs and work smart, all of which contributes to the $300 million in performance improvements achieved in the past three years. Even so, the factors that led to the permanent closure of our No. 3 paper machine earlier this year are still there. It will take broad stakeholder support if we are to continue to outpace competitors in meeting future customer requirements for the paper grades made at Port Alberni,' Buchhorn said."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Man relives 'hell' in boiler

Survivor watched in horror as man baked to death - By RENATO GANDIA, Edmonton Sun, Canada
FORT MCMURRAY -- For about 40 minutes, carpenter apprentice Jeff McColl watched helplessly in unbearable heat as co-worker Michael Gauthier, 64, hanged limp in a harness inside a TransAlta boiler at the Suncor Energy site.

This was after almost two hours of being trapped inside the boiler the two were cleaning on Aug. 4.

At the same time, McColl was dealing with his own dehydration due to the heat and he was 'screaming for help.

'I was screaming for them to spray us with water from a fire hose. They never did,' McColl, 27, said from his hometown in Port Alberni, B.C.

McColl couldn't say what the temperature inside the boiler was, but 'it was the hottest I've ever been; it was hot as hell.'
for additional details see original article: Survivor's harrowing tale - Fort McMurray Today

read other articles: TransAlta boiler - Google News

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Canadian Natural - Labour Agreements

Canadian Natural - Labour Agreements
Horizon Project :: HCML :: Labour Agreements
Horizon Construction Management Ltd. (HCML) continues to work closely with various unions.
The Project collective agreement can be viewed on the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) website:
Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC)
The Construction Labour Relations of Alberta (CLRA) website contains the Pending Building Trade Collective agreement:

Construction Labour Relations of Alberta (CLRA)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Final Edition - On the Level to close

Final Edition - On the Level to close
(available as original hard copy Adobe PDF download)
After more than 42 years of continuous publication, On the Level will windup operations with this edition

The BC Provincial Council of Carpenters has decided to close down ON THE LEVEL with the July 2006 edition. Citing changes in the organization and financial difficulties caused by the withdrawal of participation by the Carpentry Workers Benefit and Pension Plans as well as some Locals, the Council has laid off the editor and decided to close the office.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"everything failed"

Worker dead after boiler accident was one month from retirement - CBC Edmonton
He was one of two workers cleaning the inside of a boiler on Aug. 4 when a motor on the scaffolding failed, trapping the men inside.

Gauthier's family says he was overcome by heat as he dangled from his safety harness for an hour before being rescued.

"Why did it take everyone so long to get him out?" son René Gauthier asked.

"He was in an extremely hot environment for way too long and then when that came to a point where he needed to get out, there was nobody there to get him out. The machinery failed, everything failed."

Friday, August 11, 2006

A job to die for

Worker dies after being trapped while cleaning boiler - CBC News
A man is dead following a workplace accident at Suncor Energy's plant near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta.

Two workers were cleaning a boiler operated by TransAlta on Aug. 4 when a motor on the scaffolding failed, trapping the men for an unknown period, said Chris Chodan, a spokesman with Alberta's Workplace Health and Safety.
Workplace Accident Victim Identified - 630 CHED
A 64-year-old man who died after a workplace accident at Fort McMurray's Suncor plant has been identified.
Michael Gauthier of Port Alberni, B-C, was cleaning a boiler at the Poplar Creek Power Station on August 4th when the scaffolding they were on broke.
Man dies cleaning boiler - Fort McMurray Today
Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is investigating and it has ordered TransAlta -- which operates and maintains the boiler for Suncor -- to assess the hazards of cleaning it, to ensure workers are properly trained, to certify equipment and to create emergency response and rescue plans.

Clearwater Welding and Suncor were also ordered to address safety issues.

Note to "Airmiles" MacNeil:

Work in Alberta, bunk in N.W.T., mayor suggests - CBC North
Martselos said that kind of demand might prompt people to consider Fort Smith, just a 45-minute plane flight on an existing route from Fort McMurray. He made a similar pitch to the diamond mines and attracted some families to his community for those projects.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Alberta boom's cruel paradox & Klein's 'dinosaur farts'

Alberta boom's cruel paradox
THE DOWNSIDE - Homeless newcomers, kids doing dangerous jobs, packed hospitals

Drive the deteriorating serpentine two-lane corridor of Highway 63 to Fort McMurray and your car narrowly misses oncoming semi-trailers, trucks and wide-loads laden with oilfield storage tanks. It's known as a death highway with scores of accidents and fatalities. Two oilfield workers died recently when a logging truck spilled its load, piercing their oncoming minivan.

During the first quarter of 2006, there were 25,900 more people in Alberta, the highest first-quarter increase yet. In Calgary, where the population hit the one-million mark last month, 100 newcomers arrive daily.

Developers nail up 50 new homes a day but can't keep up. The average house price is $400,000 for a basic model.

Oilsands boom overwhelming Fort McMurray: mayor
Blake, the mayor of the Wood Buffalo municipality at the heart of Alberta's exploding oilsands development, said Monday the provincial government and the energy industry must start paying to mitigate the impact in the Fort McMurray area or consider putting on the brakes.

Klein pushes security of energy supply to U.S.
Several U.S. legislators agreed with Klein, and said increased oil production in the province's oil sands will mean more oil for America.

Klein slams Gore comments attacking Alta. oilsands
Klein has stirred controversy in the past by rejecting scientific data suggesting industrial pollution is one of the leading causes of global warming.

He has even said global warming trends that occurred millions of years ago may have been caused by 'dinosaur farts.'

Thursday, August 03, 2006

CMAW: it's more than just CEP Local Moon Unit 3000

Vote No to CEP affiliation! You have not had a chance to vote on CMAW officers and yet you have the third president in 2 years. You have not voted on a CMAW constitution and the piece of crap that Coles cloned isn't worth the pulp it's printed on. You have read that CMAW will be under the CEP constitution by fall yet Coles is trying to resuscitate this aborted mess he fused together out of the BC Carpenters - after throwing out the Shipbuilders - and after having Frankenburped up a mail-order bride called Local 470 to run under the "Pulp Fictionized" JV Driver forced labour camp agreement; and in lieu of a constitution he wants to lock-step us into a made-by-Coles version of McCarron's 33 By-laws instead. He tossed this hair-ball of his into a pot and serves it up as CEP Local Unit 3000, which sounds like a Frank Zappa spawn, and hopes the whole thing won't get regurgitated before the CEP Convention this fall where he has no opposition to becoming Queen for a Day of CEP la-la-land. Vote No to CEP assimilation and domination. That's my perspective on what's happening on the long march to Canadian Autonomy, what's yours?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canadian Natural Resources Limited Announces Second Quarter 2006 Update on the Progress of the Horizon Oil Sands Project

CCNMatthews (press release), Canada
Our labour strategy, predicated on a Managed Open Site, has accessed a broad workforce including on site labour affiliations such as Alberta's traditional Building Trade Unions, the Christian Labour Association of Canada, Non-unionized contractors, Overburden Operating Engineers, and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. The fly-in / fly-out program combined with our world-class camp facilities, is successfully attracting new workers to the oil sands. In June we commenced weekly flights to cities in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Quebec in order to access skilled Canadian workers from other regions of Canada. This dynamic and flexible contracting approach coupled with a higher degree of off-site modularization than has previously been achieved by oil sands developers, has resulted in a change to our expected labour curves as non-critical path contracts are managed for cost. As such, in early July we had in excess of 2,500 workers, supervisors and employees on site and we now expect that this number will ramp to between 5,000 and 6,000 in mid-2007.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Canadian Natural to Add Horizon Workers

Canadian Natural to Add Horizon Workers - Houston Chronicle, United States
In more cost-cutting moves, the company is making parts for the oilsands development using modular building in Edmonton and elsewhere. It is also flying skilled workers in weekly from Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland to meet labor shortages, and using a mix of union and non-union labor on the site.

In addition, Canadian Natural expects to have between 5,000 and 6,000 workers on the project by mid-2007, compared with about 2,500 today.

Fort Mac Attack