Slain Teamster-scab "treated like a statistic"

I last spoke to Chauncey Bailey just a couple of days before he was assassinated on the streets of downtown Oakland on the morning of August 2nd. He was murdered in broad daylight on his way to his office by a thug in a ski mask who pumped three rounds from a shotgun directly into his chest before jumping into a waiting getaway van.

I wish that I could say that Chauncey and I had shared some deeply meaningful exchange during that last chat, but it merely addressed a mundane concern of mine in my capacity as a syndicated contributor to the Oakland Post. In fact, since he took the job as the paper's editor-in-chief this past June, all of our conversations had been brief and of a professional nature.

Still, I was very impressed with his work ethic and publishing acumen, and was quite confident that the Post would be in good hands during his tenure. Now, upon his passing, I have come to have my suspicions about the man confirmed by all the glowing tributes and testimonials about him by those who knew him well, both as a dedicated journalist and as a loving father.

The police already have a suspect in custody, Devaughndre Broussard, a 19 year-old ex-con who has reportedly confessed that he committed the crime in response to Bailey's having written an unfavorable review of the Black Muslim Bakery where he was employed as a handyman. Quite frankly, this tragedy wouldn't have registered more than a blip on the radar, if it weren't for the victim's esteemed status in the African-American community.

For seven more black folks were shot dead in the City of Oakland in the 48 hours immediately following the slaying of Bailey. Among those being treated like statistics was Byron Mitchell, 29, who was fatally wounded while being robbed. Jacqueline Venable, 40, was gunned down while eating cake at friend's house. Khatari Gant, 25, perished after his car was peppered with bullets from an assault rifle. His brother and an acquaintance were also shot, but survived. Kevin Sharp, 20, was home watching TV when he answered a knock at the door only to have his head blown off. And three others.

Meanwhile, here in New Jersey, the hip-hop Holocaust exacted an equally-shocking toll in Newark last Saturday night, when three Delaware State University college students, Terrance Aerial, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20, none of whom had any police records, were lined up against a wall, forced to their knees, robbed and executed by bullets to the brain by a gang of gangstas. A fourth student, Natasha Aerial, 19, miraculously survived somehow, and is in stable condition in the hospital.

This skyrocketing black-on-black homicide rate is a shame which suggests that African-Americans' sense of self-worth has plunged to an all-time low. And now that it has hit home, it makes me wanna holler "What's going on?"


Chicago SEIU, Mayor Daley bury the hatchet

Chicago labor leader Dennis Gannon withheld his support when Mayor Richard Daley ran for re-election last February, and he endorsed challengers to some of Daley's City Council allies in a rare and long-building confrontation with the mayor.

But on Tuesday, a beaming Gannon appeared with Daley to herald what could be a new era of peace between Daley's City Hall and organized labor -- tentative 10-year contract agreements with 33 trade unions that represent 8,000 city workers and five-year pacts with unions whose members include 10,000 Chicago public school employees.

City building-trade workers will continue to earn the coveted "prevailing wage" that is paid in private industry during the next decade under the proposed accords, and the other employees will get annual raises averaging as much as 4 percent annually. But the city and the Board of Education stand to save sizable amounts in health-care costs under what both sides said is an innovative approach to coverage.

"We came to the table with respect for each other," said Gannon, who was joined by a phalanx of other union leaders at a City Hall news conference. "We came to the table with people who could make decisions, whether they be on the city side or the union side, and we came up with an agreement that I think is fair for everybody."

Daley reciprocated the praise at a news conference that turned into a lovefest.

"I want to thank those union leaders who came to the table willing to work together and reach a compromise on behalf of the people and children of our city," Daley said. "It's another example of showing that if we put our common interests first, we can get things done to keep our city moving forward."

Daley had earned the wrath of Gannon and other labor leaders after the last round of negotiations for the recently expired city contracts that dragged out for 28 months; for privatizing some city services; for laying off union workers during a city budget crisis; and for the mayor's veto last year of a minimum-wage ordinance for employees of big-box retail stores.

On the surface at least, much appeared forgiven on Tuesday.

"I believe that our relationship is probably at a better place than it has been in the last four years," Gannon said after the announcement. "I think the relationship is improving every day."

Work unfinished

But he said there are more bridges to cross, including negotiations involving other unions and possible new attempts to raise the city's minimum wage.

"You try to take them one at a time, [but] it is good every now and then to take a deep breath and say, 'We're not doing too bad,'" Gannon said.

But the city has yet to reach deals with major unions representing police officers, firefighters and teachers. And Gannon is not the only labor leader who has clashed with Daley.

Though the Federation of Labor backed several City Council candidates over pro-Daley incumbents this spring, the Service Employees International Union took a much more prominent role in that fight with the mayor, anteing up $2.7 million in contributions to challengers.

"There's still a lot left to be done, but this is a very encouraging first sign," said Jerry Morrison, executive director of SEIU's State Council. "Hopefully, this means relations with the mayor have improved since the election."

Nevertheless, the conflict over wage regulations "is not going away," Morrison said. "The affordability of the city will continue to be an issue. The status of any contract does not alter that."

Moreover, Morrison said SEIU and friendly aldermen are continuing to push the Daley administration to cancel a new airport security contract with a non-union firm.

Prevailing wage

For at least the last four decades, city tradesmen have been granted the prevailing wage despite criticism that their counterparts who work for private companies get handsome hourly wages to help compensate for periods of layoffs and days lost because of bad weather. City employees are guaranteed 40 hours of work a week.

For example, city carpenters, who make $36.52 an hour, and plumbers, who are paid $39.70, will ride the coattails of their private-sector brethren during the next 10 years as their unions negotiate pay raises for those workers.

But Daley stoutly defended continuation of the practice.

"I've always believed in prevailing wages," he said. "That is the foundation of the city of Chicago, and it always will be in the future. There is nothing wrong with men and women earning a decent salary."

Nevertheless, the mayor's negotiators were able to expand a "break-in wage" provision that allows the city to pay three categories of newly hired blue-collar workers less than veterans until they complete three years on the job. The new agreement extends the break-in period to four years and is expected to expand the number of job categories that fall under it.

On another front, certain workers in the Streets and Sanitation, Transportation and Water Management Departments who traditionally have worked under "a menu of restrictions of where they can be assigned, on what task and for how long" will see changes, said James Franczek, the city's chief labor negotiator. The new contracts "increase significantly the flexibility we have with regard to assigning people and use of our supervisory personnel," he said.

The unions also agreed to enroll at least 100 graduates of the public schools and the City Colleges of Chicago in apprenticeship training programs every year. Trade unions, in particular, have taken criticism from African-American aldermen for low numbers of minority members.

Under the new approach to health care, which is already in use in the private sector, employees will be able to take part in a wellness program designed to avert illness or mitigate existing physical problems, officials said.

Vast savings expected

"On average, 4 percent of our employees generate 61 percent of the health-care costs," Daley said. "If we can help our employees take better care of themselves, many of them can avoid costly treatments for illnesses like diabetes and heart disease."

The program is expected to save "tens of millions of dollars" in city and schools health insurance outlays within the first five years, Franczek said. For the city alone, the projected savings in 2008 is $6.4 million, according to budget officials.

But if the annual increase in city and school board health-care premiums hits 8 percent in any given year after the first year of the contracts, a labor-management committee will decide whether to require higher employee co-payments, deductibles or premiums or take some other action to get the cost down.

"That is sort of our safety net," Franczek said.

Daley denied that the length of the contracts was designed to ensure labor peace through 2016, when the city hopes to host the Summer Olympics.

But union officials have said privately that they believe the prospect of the Games was a motivator to complete the deal.


Ohio firefighters vote to oust Teamsters

Franklin, Ohio's part-time firefighters voted Tuesday to end union representation. A majority of the part-time and on call firefighters voted out the Teamsters, which represents more than 1.4 million workers in nearly every occupation, according to its Web site, teamster.org. "We feel the situation has changed, where hopefully we can get some of the items we were negotiating for without the union," said part-time firefighter Jim Riseborough.

Teamsters had represented the part-time employees for three years, though final approval on a formal contract agreement was never reached with the union and City Council. "We're hopeful that they don't change anything that eliminates jobs," Riseborough said.

He said part-time firefighters support Franklin's move to add EMS training for full-time workers, which they say is best for the city and firefighters.

Part-time firefighters work up to 36 hours a week and also can be paged in for service, though they are not mandated to respond, he said.

Mayor Todd Hall said Franklin does "the best we can to treat our employees fairly" and ending union representation won't mean much change for the part-time firefighters.


K.C. freight workers choose: No union

Workers at the area UPS Freight Inc. terminal decisively rejected a labor group's attempt to organize them. According to a three-day election concluded Tuesday by the National Labor Relations Board, 203 employees voted against joining the Association of Parcel Workers of America, while 66 voted in favor of the group. Dan Hubbel, assistant director of the NLRB's regional office, said 339 hourly employees were eligible to vote.

It was a big setback for the North Carolina-based group that has tried to establish itself as an alternative to the Teamsters union. The UPS Freight terminal in Kansas City, Kan., was the first site that the parcel workers association tried to organize.

The Teamsters represent nearly 240,000 employees at UPS parcel and package operations, which is in the middle of negotiating a new national contract, although it does not represent UPS Freight workers here. UPS Freight, a less-than-truckload carrier, was known as Overnite Transportation Co. until UPS bought it in 2005.

The Teamsters represent 125 employees at UPS Freight's Indianapolis facility, where the union and the company are also in contract talks. Other than that terminal, the company is a nonunion operation.

Van Skillman, the parcel workers association president and a UPS package driver in Greensboro, N.C., said a straw poll taken last week indicated the Kansas City, Kan., work force would vote to join the association.

"In a week's time, things changed dramatically," he said. "I don't know what happened in Kansas City. I have my suspicions, but I won't say anything more while I've got our people looking into it."

The parcel workers association also has filed with the NLRB to hold union elections at UPS Freight sites in Gaffney, S.C., and Pittsburgh.

UPS Freight said its work force in Kansas City, Kan., had spoken.

"We've always maintained that it's the employees' choice as to whether they want a union," said Ira Rosenfeld, a UPS Freight spokesman. "We should respect that, and the employees chose to remain union-free."

The Teamsters said it is negotiating a contract with UPS Freight in Indianapolis that will be a model for other UPS terminals around the country.

"The APWA doesn’t even have records on file with Department of Labor," said Harold McLaughlin, president of Teamsters Local 41 in Kansas City. "Freight workers at UPS Freight should get the best workplace representation that they can - and that's with the Teamsters union."


No jobless benefits for UAW strikers

When workers at two General Motors plants in Michigan declared a strike in June 1998, it likely never crossed anyone's mind it would result in a case decided by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

In 1996, GM signed a national collective-bargaining agreement with the United Autoworkers. As part of the agreement, the week beginning June 29, 1998, and through July 2, 1998, was designated the Independence Week shutdown period. And Friday, July 3, was designated as the Independence Day holiday. According to the agreement, in order to be paid for those days off, GM employees were required to work the day prior to and immediately following the shutdown period and holiday. But, before that Independence Week arrived, the workers in Michigan went on strike.

When the strike was settled in late July, the settlement contained a provision regarding the Independence Week. The language in the settlement informed the employees the payment would be "taxed as a regular wage payment in accordance with ... the GM-UAW National Agreement." The settlement further stated "the parties recognize that the payments may result in employees being ineligible for unemployment compensation already received. Employees impacted by such overpayment of unemployment compensation will be responsible to repay the State that provided the unemployment compensation."

When the employees returned to work in August 1998, they subsequently claimed unemployment compensation for the weeks they were laid off, including the Independence Week shutdown and holiday. But GM maintained the employees had received compensation for Independence Week and their claim for unemployment compensation should not be allowed.

The Ohio Bureau of Employment Services reviewed the claim and agreed with GM. The Bureau disallowed unemployment compensation for June 29 through July 3.

After the unsuccessful encounter with the Bureau, the workers turned to the court of appeals. Because of statutory requirements, the appeals had to be filed in several counties, which meant seven different courts of appeal ultimately heard argument on this issue. Six of the courts held the one-time payment made by GM constituted holiday pay, and those courts upheld the determination of the Bureau denying unemployment compensation for the workers for that week.

But one of the courts of appeal saw it differently. Because of the conflict, the case came before the Ohio Supreme Court for resolution.

The GM employees claimed the one-time special payment was part of a strike settlement, and was not allocated to the Independence Week shutdown. But they never identified any evidence in the record to suggest this sort of classification.

On the other hand, the argument put forward by GM - that this pay was vacation pay - is more consistent with the evidence.The memorandum allocates the pay to the Independence Holiday shutdown week, clearly making the allocation vacation pay. Therefore, by a 7-0 vote, we concluded the employees were not eligible to receive unemployment compensation for the Independence Holiday week.


Strikes can be catastrophic for health care

Union members at Dresser Rand went on strike Saturday morning after new contract negotiations fell through. Both sides have agreed to meet next week to try and start ironing out their differences. But until then, some picketers say time may be running out. For strikers like Jeffrey Bibalo, it's day 5 of walking the picket lines.

But it's also another day without health insurance. Jeffrey's wife and two kids all depend on his insurance through Dresser Rand. His wife has diabetes and needs prescriptions. "We had to cancel appointments for my wife's medications. My daughter, I took her and paid out of pocket and for shots so she'd be able to school this September,” said picketer Jeffrey Bibalo.

Like many other workers on strike, company insurance ran out the day the strike began. "Quite a bit concerned but there's not much you can do right now,” picketer, Arlyn Brooks.

One union leader tells us the union does provide catastrophic insurance. But he did not want to go into anymore details. Some picketers tell us they can sign up for union benefits, but that can be a lengthy process. For some like Jeffrey, time could run out before then.

"I'm gonna have to find another job before too long, before it gets bad. In a couple of weeks we're gonna have to come up with something,” said Bibalo.


Ontario gov't union strikers add to Canada woes

Employees at Community Living Prince Edward (CLPE) went on strike earlier than planned. The CLPE employees who provide care to more than 500 devlopmentally challenged adults in Prince Edward County were asked by management to leave their jobs at 9 p.m. Tuesday, three hours before they were scheduled to walk off the job and go on strike.

The 150 members of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 448 join more than 1,100 members across the province on picket lines. "I'm really disappointed," said Pattie Markland, chair of the local OPSEU negotiating team. "We were at the table until 7 p.m. last night and I don't believe they (bargaining team for management) were there to negotiate at all.

"They had a bus at Crystal Palace and at 9 p.m. they put scabs in vans and took them to the homes (of clients) and asked the employees to leave. They changed the locks on doors, took away credit cards, company vehicles and cell phones, so it almost sounds more like a lockout than a strike," she said. "We were trying to negotiate a deal in order to avoid this but it certainly doesn't look like they had any intention of reaching a deal."

Markland said pickets were walking the sidewalks in front of six or seven areas in the Picton area and planned to maintain a presence from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily until a deal is reached.

Local 449 members have been without a contract since their three-year deal expired March 31.

Markland said a number of issues need to be resolved before a new contract is reached.

"We're a long way apart on wages and we also want our members to be able to take holidays when they want — this job is very demanding and people need a break," she said. "We also want staffing levels addressed and we find it quite ironic that the employers won't consider putting two staff people into a home with five or six people who need assistance, yet last night when they asked us to leave these homes, they replaced them with three or four people at each place."


Union boss: Strike will cost job losses

The two sides in the British Columbia coastal forest strike are digging in for the long haul as the dispute wraps up its third week. The word from the union camp is the strike could last well into 2008, while the industry says it stands by its last offer and the ball is in the workers' court.

"The guys are dug in," said Bill Routley, Duncan-based president of Steelworkers Union Local 1-80, who has predicted the end may not come until some time next year because the two sides are so far apart on scheduling. "We are on the opposite ends of the pole in terms of philosophy, and when you have an issue people are dug in on, there's just no way."

At least the union and industry appear to agree on that much.

Ron Shewchuk, spokesman for Forest Industrial Relations, which represents 31 coastal forest companies, said the two sides are at a standstill.

"Our position has not changed -- we would like to see the union take our offer to its members for a vote," he said. "We are firm in our resolve that the offer we have made is as far as we are willing to go and we think it is fair and reasonable, especially considering the economic condition the industry finds itself in."

Both sides in the current dispute admit the job action, which began July 21, has nothing to do with wages or benefits. The biggest issue separating the two appears to be shift scheduling that is done without consulting workers and that can change on a whim.

The union claims the companies' right to impose schedules without consultation has robbed families of normalcy and created unsafe conditions and long hours in physically demanding jobs for workers.

The companies counter they need the flexibility to reduce costs as they face the challenge of a strong Canadian dollar, a 15 per cent surcharge on exports to the U.S. market and an American housing industry in a severe slump.

"This may not be about money to the union but it's all about cost to the employers, and every time we lose flexibility our costs increase," said Shewchuk. "It's about retaining the fundamental right to manage our businesses. The more restrictions on the employers, the fewer hours in the year we can operate, and the less competitive our businesses become."

The union warned the companies that the 6,000 members on strike right now may not be around when the dispute is finally settled.

"A lot of people are leaving the industry and finding [other] work," said Campbell River-based Local 363 president Rick Wangler. "I'm hoping the industry picks up on that and realizes the longer this goes on, the more people they are going to lose."

Routley said tradesmen and skilled operators are heading to the oil patch in Alberta and construction jobs all over B.C.

Indeed, a number of picketing workers recently told the Times Colonist they were leaving for good if the dispute lasted longer than a couple of months.

None mentioned wages or benefits as their motivation. Instead, they complained about ups and downs in the industry and what they felt was a lack of respect from employers.

The message seems to have gotten through to the companies, but Shewchuk said it's not going to change their position.

"We understand there is a threat of losing people to other industries and we did not want to have this strike, but it's vital to the industry's survival that we don't give up our ability to manage the resource," he said. "Employers respect their people, they need them working the industry for it to run, but we can't go back to a business model that makes us uncompetitive."

In a bid to boost morale on the picket line, Local 363 has organized a rally for today in Campbell River at Robert Ostler Park. Steelworkers international president Leo Gerard will address the crowd, which is expected to include most of the local's 700 members as well as supportive union workers from other industries

Local 1-80 is planning an information-leaflet campaign at Home Depot stores this weekend.

Routley said a number of union members will hand out information at the Home Depot in Nanaimo between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday.


Teamster drivers reject contract again and again

Drivers and mechanics of the Cape Ann (Massachusetts) Transportation Authority have rejected a contract proposal for a third time, and a union spokesman said the rejection amounted to a vote to strike. The union membership, by the widest margin yet, said no on Monday night to a proposed contract to replace the pact that expired June 30.

They are awaiting strike authorization from the national leadership of the Teamsters union and are required by law to give at least 72 hours notice before striking. No notice had been given as of yesterday evening, and no service disruption is expected in at least the next few days.

"I was very surprised the vote was so strong against the contract because we all have mortgages and bills," said Scott Pantages, a negotiator for the union members. "But (Monday) night's vote was a vote to strike; everybody knew it in advance."

The 25-member union rejected the contract 15-9. In the previous two votes, members voted 10-9, then 13-9 against the proposal.

"We're disappointed, obviously," said Kay Nordstrom, president of the Cape Ann Transportation Operating Co. Inc., which runs the buses for CATA. "We're hoping that we'll get an agreement, that there will be a positive outcome. 'Til we hear otherwise, we're not heading for a strike."

CATA can hire replacement drivers and mechanics should the union decide to walk out.

CATA provides transportation in Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Ipswich. CATA also does some business routes to Beverly and has a bus that travels to the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers and Northshore Mall in Peabody on Saturdays.

Pantages said the main issue his members had with the contract is pay. Under the contract that expired June 30, the base pay for a bus driver was $15.59 per hour. The proposed new contract included a 3 percent increase in each year of the three-year contract, bringing the hourly wage to $17.04 by July 1, 2009.

A mechanics' hourly wage is between $17.83 and $21.42, depending on skill and experience. That would increase under the proposal to a range of $19.48 to $23.40 by July 1, 2009.

Pantages said members' issue with the rate is how it compares to the area's other quasi-public regional transportation company, the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, which has routes in Andover, Amesbury, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Newburyport and North Andover.

MVRTA drivers make $18.14 per hour, as of July 1, 2007, said authority president Joseph Costanzo. The drivers, who are represented by Teamsters 170 in Worcester, are working under a five-year agreement that expires June 30, 2008.

Union members will meet again either by the end of this week or early next week "to discuss our options and strategy at this point," Pantages said.

"The next step is to figure out what the union's issues are and keep talking," Nordstrom said.

Members voted against the first contract proposal last month, leading to another negotiating session between management and Pantages and fellow union negotiator Sandra Pierce. They emerged with a similar proposal that ironed out issues over the way call lists of casual drivers are organized.

Casual drivers are on-call workers who are asked to fill in on routes when the full-time or part-time people are out. The details in question had to do with giving CATA more flexibility to manage the lists of the casual drivers, who are mostly retirees.

After that proposal was voted down July 19, a federal mediator stepped in to try to avert a strike, though the mediator declared following the session last Wednesday that no changes had been made. The proposed contract voted on Monday night was identical to the one rejected July 19.


UNITE strike at Tama enters week 8

The Tama Manufacturing workers strike for better wages and benefits has entered the eighth week. About 140 garment workers represented by Unite Here participating in the strike. The Hanover Township company makes women's clothing sold under the Alfred Dunner label and has a contract to make military uniforms.

At around 2:30 pm when about 20 workers who are working inside wil be driving out of the Lehigh County plant the picketing workers walk towards the mouth of Tama Manufacturing’s driveway. As the cars pull out, the union workers hold their thumbs down and chant “scabs” and other put-downs. One woman wore toy rats snared in rat traps around her neck to represent the "scabs" working inside, including their former union vice president.

Most exiting workers ignore the jeering crowd. A man held his pay stub up to his window while driving past the group, prompting one of the picketers to shout at him “We're earning more than you just standing out here”.

The union members on strike feel a sense of solidarity and camaraderie, but the weeks walking the picket line through heat and rain and going without a paycheck are taking a toll.

Only a handful of union members have crossed the line, and the Tama workers are recognized and respected by other unions throughout the Valley. Nobody is sure if the strike will end with satisfactory terms. And they worry about their employment prospects, since many have been in the garment industry for decades and most garment shops have shut down or moved overseas where labor is cheaper.

The union and Tama negotiated for about two hours this week. They plan to meet again in coming weeks, according to Unite Here organizer Gail Meyer and Martin Sobol, an attorney representing the company.


Forestry strike costs add up

Ron Campbell is thankful he has credit cards. The striking United Steelworker at Nanaimo's Western Forest Products' sawmill said he has begun "robbing" from one credit card to pay another as he tries to keep up with his bills while the coastal forestry strike heads for its fourth week with no end in sight.

Sitting with a number of other striking union members at the gates of the unusually quiet sawmill on Nanaimo's harbour front on Wednesday, Campbell said he hasn't received any pay since the strike began on July 21. "We get no strike pay until after the first three weeks of the strike, and then we have to apply for it," he said.

"The strike pay we get will be just a fraction of what we usually receive when working. It's different for everyone, but I figure I have about two to three months living off my credit cards before I'll be forced to start selling things to make ends meet."

Carol Helm, another striking worker said for many of them it was almost impossible to set aside some money in preparation for the strike as the mill recently went through layoffs and reduced shifts.

"Most of us have had to cut back on everything and many are still not getting their bills paid," she said.

"Those of us with children in daycare and preparing to send their kids back to school in a few weeks are finding it especially hard."

About 7,000 forestry workers on the B.C. coast are on the picket line, with about 900 in the mid-Island region, including workers at Western Forest Products sawmills in Nanaimo and at Duke Point. Subcontracting and work schedules are the key stumbling blocks. Forestry companies say they need scheduling flexibility to stay competitive, while the unions says it will compromise the safety of workers.

The economic shockwave caused by the dramatically reduced spending power of so many people is expected to be felt all across the community if the strike is a lengthy one.

Rob MacKay, a representative of Nanaimo's Quality Food Stores, said he hasn't seen much effect yet.

"However, if it goes a long time, I expect we'll begin to see shift in eating habits of the striking workers that shop in our stores and their grocery baskets will be smaller," he said.

David Lobay, president of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, said anytime there's a strike in the community, it's "devastating" for many of the chamber's 820 members.

"People tend to hold back and not buy things when on strike and that obviously has repercussions on our businesses," he said.

"While places that are more forest-dependent than Nanaimo, like Campbell River, are more directly impacted, a lot of people from these communities come to Nanaimo to shop so there will be a ripple effect on the whole economy."

Marilyn Hutchinson, Nanaimo's economic development officer, also said the strike is being felt in many sectors of Nanaimo's economy.

"There's a lot of small businesses out there that provide support services for the striking mills who have a lot less work as a result of the strike," she said.

However, Hutchinson said Nanaimo's economy has diversified a lot since the 1950s and 60s so the community is not as dependent on the forestry sector.

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