By: Susan Sharon
The Maine Forest Products Council is asking Gov. John Baldacci and the Canadian government for help with what they say could become a shortage of wood for Maine mills. At issue is a new law that prevents Canadian loggers working in Maine from collecting unemployment during mud season. The Council says the new law is discouraging Canadians from working on this side of the border, and making it difficult to harvest wood.
In a letter to the governor, Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council, and Joel Swanton of the Forest Resources Association, say that logging contractors are having a difficult time attracting qualified labor to harvest their wood. And they warn that Maine mills could face a possible shortage of wood supply in the coming months.
Their July 7th letter suggests that the reason for their concern relates to the Legislature’s passage of LD 1545, “An Act To Protect Maine Workers.” The bill included a change that prohibits Canadian loggers brought to Maine under the federal bonded labor program from qualifying for Maine unemployment insurance during the several-months-long mud season.
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