Sunday, December 07, 2008

Water Board Shutting off Evergreen water? New buyer to come forward? Why didn't the workers think of a physical takeover?

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District will be holding a special meeting tomorrow morning at 9am at Eureka City Hall to decide what to do about the past due water bill of Evergreen's. Be there to see firsthand what is up.

Supposedly a new prospective buyer of the pulp mill will be coming forward this week. And it most likely be domestic! Stay tuned.

Republic Windows Workers losing jobs take over plant. The workers in the plant are mad because they were not paid their Warn Act money or their severance. (Sound familiar?)Republican Window makes the claim they can not pay because Bank of America will not give them credit. But taxpayers bailed out B of A to the tune of 25 billion dollars!

"Across cultures, religions, union and nonunion, we all say this bailout was a shame," said Richard Berg, president of Teamsters Local 743. "If this bailout should go to anything, it should go to the workers of this country."

Outside the plant, protesters wore stickers and carried signs that said, "You got bailed out, we got sold out."

What is going on in our country and how can we fix it? Let us hope for the best for Obama and his new administration to repair this mess.

26 comments:

Kym said...

I keep wanting to say something strong and helpful.

Somehow I don't think, "You and your fellow workers deserve better" is very helpful but, God, it is heartfelt!

samoasoftball said...

Thanks Kym for the positive thought! That is all we can hope for!

Not A Native said...

I hope there's some truth behind the buyer rumor.

Almost everything Bush touched has become a disaster. Obama has a very tough job. Four years from now, I bet he will look like he's 60 years old.

Rose said...

How many people/businesses/vendors got left holding the bag. This doesn't look good for foreign investment, that's for sure.

Who's the potential buyer?

Ernie Branscomb said...

The federal Government should be spending money to build and rebuild infrastructure. They should be doing it now. There is nothing like spreading a little fertilizer on the grass roots to get the economy growing. If we don’t use the infrastructure, so what. The spending will have gotten us out of a deep recession. And, who knows maybe with a healthy America the infrastructure will come in handy. “If you build it, they will come”.

I reflect Kym’s sentiments, “You deserve better.”

My whole family, with the exception of me, is, I should say was, involved in the lumber industry, so I have some empathy.

samoasoftball said...

6:06pm-I don't know how many. I am hoping for a best case domestic case.

Rose said...

Gonna be tough, Ernie. Whose money are they going to use? The money they spend comes from people. And large numbers of people have just had their wealth wiped out or significantly reduced.

Ben Stein is saying the Government is actually in a position to just print money, and he makes a good case why they should.

I don't know, but a 'stimulus' giveaway will be another flop.

I'm agreeing with the guy who is proposing that they grant a tax holiday, 2 month minimim, to allow people to choose how to spend their own money, and to get money flowing again. RATHER THAN handing all those billions over to the people who caused and/or profited by the failures in the first place.

Back to the Evergreen mess - nice as the guy who owned/ran it was, it's a classic example of why (too much) foreign investment can be a bad idea.

But instead of our activists worrying about that - they are all dead set on killing off our industry and anyone who produces a product or creates jobs.

Can you imagine what you'd be up against if you thought you would like to save Evergreen?

Anonymous said...

Not a Native...get a clue, how
many times has America been
attacked under the Bush Administration since 911...count
them...NONE...ZERO...President
Bush will go down in history as
on of the best ever!!

Anonymous said...

If this plant comes back there needs to be a restructuring of the union bennies. In Ca. state,prison and school unions have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Just as the big 3 will have to restructure to be viable so must these unions in Ca. At a minimum the basic frame work of health care in their packages must be corrected. A state that runs away industry while increasing union perks will only fail.

Anonymous said...

"Bush will go down in history as
on of the best ever!!"

Spoken like a true bushie.


jason

Anonymous said...

I just wonder now if that "New
Buyer" could be the same "California Redwood" that is
playing hardball?? And can you
tell all of us who really owns
that company??

samoasoftball said...

We should find out soon who the buyers are. Maybe today at the water board meeting.

As far as compensation, we are the lowest paid pulp mill that I know of in North America. Evergreen had trouble bringing in qualified pulp workers from out of the area because of their pay and the local high cost of living. This is not a cheap place to live.

I talked to one person who is relocating to Redding for around the same pay and selling his house for $300,000 and buying comparable for $200,000.

Anonymous said...

Wait!
That is about all that anyone can do.
The workers at the pulp mill have been very dedicated over the years,
and the owners have done little to insure the continued operation. After LP it has been cut and run.
What we need is commitment not talk.

Anonymous said...

There is a precedent for employee takeover. All of us, not just the Evergreen employees, need to get serious about looking out for each other. To wait for one man, Obama, to do something is a waste of time. I doubt he has the will anyway.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/09

Anonymous said...

Richard,

In regard to the Republic Window workers and WARN payments, why hasn't our own State Labor Commission Office-DIR demanded that employers set up reserve fund accounts to pay their workers, if for whatever reason, they shut down a plant without proper notification to their workforce?

Hasn't non payment of WARN pay been a past problem here in California and other states? Why did government even bother to pass this legislation in the first place, if they were not going to follow-up and enforce it?

Thus, is this legal legislation piece really even worth the paper that it was printed on?

samoasoftball said...

11:21am-That is a good point. This is not the first violation of the WARN act here at our pulp mill. Same thing happened around 4 years ago when Stockton Pacific walked away. We were not paid then and we are not being paid now.

Ironic thing about Republic Window lately. Because of the national publicity, B of A has given credit to the company to pay workers. But they will not extend credit for Republic Window to start back up. I guess B of A doesn't like their business model? But we taxpayers bail B of A out to the tune of 25 million because of their faulty business practices? I would rather we bail out Republic Window a few million and put those workers back to work! And put them on a list of US companies that have US workers and have all start buying US products when possible. (But damn, that Samsung 42" HD TV looks so good!) See. The problem is big.

Anonymous said...

Gosh Richard,

It took the workers at Republic only 5 days with their sit-in protest to get their WARN benefits owed them. Maybe your group should have followed their lead.

And you say that this is your second go around in not receiving your WARN benefits?

Which State Labor Commission-DIR field office represents your location? Somehow the ball seems to be dropped somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Rich,

Why couldn't you get your WARN wages the first go around if you mill workers were owed money?

What then, became of Stockton Pacific? Are they still around?

samoasoftball said...

8:32am-Good question. I made a motion to file charges against Stockton Pacific for violation of the Warn Act. The motion failed.

Anonymous said...

Richard,

I am somewhat confused here. Why would you even need to make a motion in the first place for something that you were entitled to by federal law?

Also, there is a previous post above basically suggesting that the mill has been run differently since LP had it. Can you give us some brief history what has been different or changed since LP owned the operation?

Anonymous said...

Wheres Rex Bohn when you need him?

samoasoftball said...

7:56am-I made a motion at a union meeting to file charges with the labor board when Stockton Pacific violated the Warn Act. The motion failed. No charges were filed.

GP opened the mill in 1964. LP was a split off of GP. LP sold the mill to La Pointe Partners who created Samoa Pacific in 2001. They reduced the workforce by 50 and ran the mill to the ground unsafely and without environmental regard. About 2 years later they went bankrupt and reformed and bought the mill back from themselves for cheap price and re-named the plant Stockton Pacific. They ran the plant more into the ground and went bankrupt and sold the plant to Lee and Man in 2005 and became Evergreen. Lee and Man sold the plant a few months ago to Worthy Pick. Those people have not identified themselves.

Quick overview.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the brief mill history lesson Richard.

Why would anyone want to buy a mill back after declaring bankruptcy the first go around?

Were local venders and material suppliers owed monies as a result of the two bankruptcies and if so, were they ever compensated afterward?

You also noted that the workforce were owed WARN, so at some point, the mill must have closed prior to Evergreen.

samoasoftball said...

7:43pm-Yes. Between Sales Stockton Pacific laid off the workforce. Left the vendors to scramble for what was left.

Anonymous said...

Wow, bet the vendors weren't too happy.

Did the bankrupt prior owners stick around, or did they end up moving on and leaving the area?

samoasoftball said...

9:23pm- Gone.