Over 300 Plum Creek Workers Face Cutbacks Because of Log Supply Issues
Many Plum Creek workers in western Montana were notified this week that they would be losing a fourth of their working hours.
“Well out of the two plywood plants that we have, the one in Kalispell and the one in Columbia Falls, due to a lack of logs, we’ve cut back the current hours from a 40 hour work week to a 30 hour work week,” said Plum Creek Vice President for Northwest Resources and Manufacturing Tom Ray. “This is temporary. We’ve been fighting the weather since the fire season this last summer and we’ve really kind of struggled since then getting the correct amount of logs flowing again.”
Each plant has 160 employees all of which are facing cutbacks, but Ray says that workers shouldn’t be too adversely effected.
“What we’ve done by going from 40 hours to 30 hours, that’s essentially from four days a week to three because we work 10 hour shifts, they’ll be able to get unemployment for the one day that they’re missing,” Ray said. “So, the impact is minimized verses missing an entire week.”
Ray says that extreme cold in January and December combined with some occasional spring-like wet road conditions have made it very difficult to get logs out of the forest.