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LABOR LEADERS CALL ON PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE CLINTON TO CONVENE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOREST SUMMIT, IF ELECTED, TO RESOLVE TIMBER SUPPLY CRISIS

LABOR LEADERS CALL ON PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE CLINTON TO CONVENE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOREST SUMMIT, IF ELECTED, TO RESOLVE TIMBER SUPPLY CRISIS
 WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of timber industry labor unions sent a letter yesterday to Democratic Presidential Nominee Bill Clinton proposing that, if elected, he convene a Pacific Northwest Forest Summit with the congressional delegation from the region to develop a negotiated solution to the ongoing timber supply crisis in the Pacific Northwest.
 The authors of the letter -- Sigurd Lucassen, president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA); William Hubbell, president of the International Woodworkers of America, U.S. (IWA, U.S.); and Mike Draper, executive secretary of the Western Council of Industrial Workers (WCIW) -- noted that if Congress fails to resolve the crisis this year, the summit would "provide the bipartisan spirit necessary to move the (old-growth forest/northern spotted owl/timber supply) issue from deadlock."
 "The summit would bring together members of the Pacific Northwest congressional delegation and the governors of the affected states," explained Draper while lobbying in Washington. "Interested third parties would provide testimony before summit negotiators, but should not be active participants in the session due to the polarization that exists on these issues."
 "We clearly understand that achieving this pact would be extremely difficult," the labor leaders wrote, "requiring compromise on the part of all parties, including ourselves. Our proposed summit meeting is consistent with your desire for a consensus agreement."
 Clinton called for a negotiated settlement to the debate during a television appearance broadcast on KOMO-TV in Seattle, and simulcast on KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, July 25.
 In the letter, the labor representatives also urged Clinton to embrace the concept of legal sufficiency, "to end the gridlock in the courts, and allow for our forests to be managed for the benefit of both the environment and the economy."
 The authors of the letter noted that legal sufficiency would be a key subject at the proposed summit. "We share your expressed concern that this issue has become gridlocked as a result of crippling lawsuits that have prompted widespread layoffs within our membership," they wrote.
 "By including sufficiency language in a long-term negotiated, comprehensive solution to the timber availability crisis, we can be assured that the future of tens of thousands of hard working men and women are not jeopardized by the continuing limbo of the judicial system."
 The letter was written in response to Clinton's statement during his appearance on KOMO-TV that he would be willing to meet with representatives of organized labor to discuss the supply crisis. Clinton made the statement while responding to a question from a WCIW member in the KATU-TV studio audience.
 In the letter, the labor leaders said they are "deeply gratified" that Clinton is willing to meet with them. They also invited Clinton to spend an evening at the home of a timber family, "to experience firsthand what the sense of uncertainty about the future does to a normal family."
 Draper noted that the meeting and the visit would help Clinton better understand organized labor's belief, "that a solution to the timber supply crisis must protect workers, families and communities as well as owls."
 The labor representatives also expressed their support for the "People First" motto of the Clinton-Gore ticket. "We believe we can advance the cause of hard working people," they wrote, "without jeopardizing the environment by negotiating a balanced, legally sufficient legislative package."
 A copy of the letter sent to Clinton from the labor leaders follows:
 We were deeply gratified to learn of your willingness to meet with representatives of organized labor to discuss the ongoing timber availability crisis during a future campaign to Oregon.
 We also appreciate your expressed concern for the thousands who have lost their jobs in the region since the northern spotted owl was listed as threatened species two years ago.
 For the record, you should know that 88 mills have shut down in Oregon and Washington since 1990, prompting more than 8,500 layoffs. The numbers for California are just as sobering. Thirty-seven mills have either cut back or suspended operations, leaving 4,300 workers unemployed.
 The solution to this extremely complex and troubling issue must be developed by Congress and the executive branch working together. This solution must protect workers, families and communities as well as owls. We certainly want to brief you on the importance of developing a balanced and equitable solution to this vexing issue that is literally dashing the hopes and dreams of tens of thousands in this region.
 In addition to a meeting on the timber availability crisis, we invite you to spend an evening at the home of a timber family to experience firsthand what the sense of uncertainty about the future does to a normal family situation.
 We look forward to discussing the possibility of arranging such a briefing and visit with members of your staff.
 While these details are being arranged, we would like you to consider a novel proposal for bringing an equitable resolution to this crisis. If Congress fails to act upon this question this year, we propose that you convene a Pacific Northwest Forest Summit to try to develop a solution, if you are elected president.
 Such a summit including members of the Pacific Northwest congressional delegation and the governors of the affected states was successful in 1989 in creating a temporary solution to this crisis. Your call for a summit involving these parties would provide the bipartisan spirit necessary to move the issue from deadlock.
 Last Saturday, you discussed the need for taking the timber availability crisis out of the courts and settling it once-and-for- all by means of a negotiated settlement. We clearly understand that achieving this pact would be extremely difficult, requiring compromise on the part of all parties, including ourselves. Our proposed summit meeting is consistent with your desire for a consensus agreement.
 One of the key issues at the timber summit meeting would be the subject of legal sufficiency. We share your expressed concern that this issue has become gridlocked as a result of crippling lawsuits that have prompted widespread layoffs within our membership.
 The United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision earlier this year, upheld the constitutionality of Congress' approving legislative language that declares that environmentally sensitive forest management plans are consistent with existing laws. This was the essence of the 1989 summit.
 By including sufficiency language in a long-term, negotiated comprehensive solution to the timber availability crisis, we can be assured that the future of tens of thousands of hard working men and women are not jeopardized by the continuing limbo of the judicial system.
 It would be extremely helpful to timber workers and organized labor if the Democratic ticket would embrace the concept of legal sufficiency to end the gridlock in the courts, and allow for our forest to be managed for the benefit of both the environment and the economy.
 We salute the motto of the Clinton-Gore ticket: "People First." We believe we can advance the cause of hard working people without jeopardizing the environment by negotiating a balanced, legally sufficient legislative package.
 We look forward to meeting with you in the near future to discuss this critical issue.
 Best wishes to you in your presidential bid.
 Sincerely,
 Sigurd Lucassen William Hubbell
 President President
 United Brotherhood International Woodworkers
 of Carpenters and Joiners of America, U.S.
 of America
 Sherry Scott Michael Draper
 Financial Secretary Executive Secretary
 Local No. 2739 Western Council
 Western Council of Industrial Workers
 of Industrial Workers
 The 550,000 member United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is headquartered in Washington.
 The Western Council of Industrial Workers is the industrial arm of the Carpenters Union, representing approximately 30,000 workers throughout the Pacific Northwest and western United States. The WCIW is headquartered in Portland, Ore.
 The IWA, U.S., also headquartered in Portland, Ore., represents 28,000 working men and women.
 -0- 7/30/92
 /CONTACT: Mike Draper of the Western Council of Industrial Workers, 503-228-0235, or Jeff Joseph, 202-452-9431, for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America/ CO: United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; Western
 Council of Industrial Workers; International Woodworkers of
 America, U.S. ST: District of Columbia IN: PAP SU: CPN


IH -- DC012 -- 5133 07/30/92 13:22 EDT
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