·  USW

USW Calls for Increased Support for U.S. Lumber Industry Workers

Illegally Harvested Wood Undermines American Economy

Contact: Roy Houseman, (202) 288-3573, rhouseman@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (October 16) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today called for greater support for American lumber workers in response to a report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) demonstrating how wood is illegally harvested abroad and sold in the United States.

The troubling EIA report highlighted the extent and complexity of the illegal timber trade, showing how wood is being illegally harvested in Russia, shipped into China for manufacture into hardwood flooring and then imported into the United States.

“This report makes it very clear that stronger enforcement of trade and environmental law is essential to the survival of American lumber workers and their employers,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

“The illegal practices highlighted in this report undercut the U.S. economy and destroy good-paying American jobs. We must demand that our leaders put a stop to it.”

The USW is the largest North American union representing workers in the pulp, paper and forest products sector.

“Hard-working Americans like the USW members at the Armstrong Hardwood flooring plant in Oneida, Tenn., can compete at home and abroad when they are given a level playing field,” said USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, who oversees the sector for the USW. “That’s why we support legislation like the Lacey Act and all efforts to end illegal logging.”

The Lacey Act was amended in 2008 to include greater protections against illegal logging and trafficking in illegal lumber like those in the EIA report.

Learn more about the EIA’s investigation and see a detailed video by visiting: http://eia-global.org/campaigns/forests-campaign/liquidating-the-forests/

With 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, the USW is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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