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LABOR LEADERS PETITION PRESIDENT BUSH FOR ASSISTANCE IN RESOLVING THE TIMBER SUPPLY CRISIS

 LABOR LEADERS PETITION PRESIDENT BUSH FOR ASSISTANCE
 IN RESOLVING THE TIMBER SUPPLY CRISIS
 PORTLAND, Ore., March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The leaders of five major labor unions representing forest products workers appealed to President Bush today for his assistance in resolving the timber supply crisis plaguing the Pacific Northwest.
 Sigurd Lucassen, president, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; Michael Draper, executive secretary, Western Council of Industrial Workers; Wilson J. Hubbell, president, International Woodworkers of America, U.S.; Wayne E. Glenn, president, United Paperworkers International Union; and Farris H. Bryson, president, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers today delivered a letter to the president expressing their concern about the impact the administration's handling of the northern spotted owl issue will have on the nation's economy and union jobs.
 "At present, we are experiencing record increases in wood products prices," the labor leaders wrote the president. "These price increases are occurring for one reason only: timber shortages in the Western United States due to the spotted owl and a variety of other environmental constraints ... In a very real sense, the (nation's) economic recovery may stall for want of a reasonably priced 2x4."
 "Of late, there have been some positive signs from agencies within your administration," the labor leaders noted, "but overall signals are still mixed and the timber supply situation remains dire."
 The labor representatives specifically pointed to the U.S. Forest Service's recent decision to implement the so-called "Thomas Committee" report. "It is not, as the Forest Service has portrayed, an acceptable long-term remedy for the current situation," they wrote.
 The union leaders said that the administration was sending mixed signals regarding the Thomas report, reminding the president that he had previously rejected the report as not meeting his standards for a balanced solution to the crisis.
 The authors of the letter urged the president to support instead U.S. Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan's efforts to prepare conservation options for the owl that involve less drastic social and economic impacts.
 The labor representatives also urged the president to conduct a comprehensive economic and social analysis of the various options available for protection of the owl, noting that economic impact statements prepared by the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service appear to have been "deliberately underestimated ... to make their proposals (to protect the owl) appear more reasonable."
 "Even so," the labor leaders wrote, "their estimates suggest the loss of tens of thousands of jobs -- an outcome you have personally indicated is unacceptable."
 The union leaders closed the letter encouraging President Bush to work with Congress to incorporate the results of Lujan's efforts within the context of the Forests and Families Protection Act (H.R. 2463/S. 1156) -- a labor-developed, AFL-CIO endorsed, administration-supported measure -- to develop an acceptable recovery option and "a proper long-term solution to our current economic and environmental problems."
 "We are convinced that the timber supply problem can be resolved only through a cooperative effort involving both the administration (speaking with one voice) and the Congress," the labor leaders wrote the president.
 "We stand ready to work closely with you, Congress and any other parties sincerely interested in finding an equitable solution to the timber supply crisis that balances environmental and economic needs."
 -0- 3/13/92
 /CONTACT: Michael Draper of the Western Council of Industrial Workers, 503-228-0235, or Michael Bsharah for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 202-452-9435/ CO: United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; Western
 Council of Industrial Workers; International Woodworkers of
 America, U.S.; United Paperworkers International Union;
 Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers ST: Oregon IN: PAP SU:


DC -- DC023 -- 7975 03/13/92 17:24 EST
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Date:Mar 13, 1992
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