Last June, a group of woodsmen got together to talk about a longstanding problem of unfair labor practices in the logging industry. Not knowing where to start, we decided to ask Gov. King, Sens. Snowe and Collins, and Rep. Baldacci to meet with us to see what, if anything, could be done. After being refused on three separate occasions, some of us believed we had to take a stand. This brought about the blockade on the Quebec border in October. Finally, we had their attention, although it was fleeting.
The members of the Labor Department have been the only government officials in contact with us lately. They had proposed a meeting with the landowners for [last] week, but it was canceled once again because certain landowners couldn’t attend, although they had two months’ prior notice for scheduling.
These people do not want to meet with us because they have everything they want and only stand to lose. I don’t know how long they plan to postpone these meetings in the mistaken belief we will give up and walk away, but they have underestimated our commitment. After 30 years, the faces may have changed, but the problems haven’t.
The Labor Department has told us we should be proud of everything we have accomplished. Meanwhile, the state itself is allowing contractors to cut on state land with Canadian labor at below pravailing wage.
I can remember in elementary school debating the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I’m still not sure of the answer, but one thing I am sure of is that, if an landowner has a Canadian fell a tree in the forest, no one in Washington or Augusta can hear it. Troy Jackson Allagash