United Steelworkers union members stage protest as logs are loaded onto China-bound Panamanian ship Santa Serena in Port Alberni, British Columbia

ALBERNI, British Columbia , March 30, 2012 () – Raw logs were being loaded and exported out of Port Alberni this week and the Steelworkers Local 185 had something to say about it.

Approximately 50 protesters carried placards and voiced their disapproval at Panamanian ship Santa Serena being loaded with raw logs at the Port Alberni Port Authority’s dock on Harbour Road.

At the public dock, Canadian logs should equal Canadian jobs, said Steelworkers Loc. 185 president Dave Steinhauer.

“They’re taking logs to China and they should be milled and manufactured at facilities here in B.C.,” Steinhauer said.

“Whether the wood comes from Crown land, private land or B.C. timber sales it should be done here.”

The protesters were in town taking job steward training at the Steelworkers Hall and took the opportunity to show up en masse at the dock where a ship happened to be loading, Steinhauer said.

Carrying signs scrawled with “BC Logs for BC Mills” and “Alberni loggers sold out,” the protesters stood quietly at the Maritime Discovery Centre lighthouse, watching as logs were loaded less than kilometre away from the Somass Mill. In 1980, the mill employed 1,200 men. Today, in the log export era, it employs less than 50.

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