Workers at Western Forest Products' sawmill in Nanaimo, British Columbia, to return to work on May 6 in 'soft start' after fatal shootings; union official says workers will not be pressured to return before they feel ready, highlights security presence

PORT ALBERNI, British Columbia , May 6, 2014 () – Western Forest Products sawmill workers in Nanaimo will return to the job site today in a "soft start" following the shooting deaths of two workers last Wednesday.

Michael Lunn, 62, and Fred McEachern, 53, were killed at the start of the work day by a man with a shotgun. Earl Kelly and Tony Sudar survived the shooting.

Sudar, who was shot in the face, was released from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital last week.

Kelly remains in stable condition at Victoria General Hospital.

Former millworker Kevin Douglas Addison, 47, is charged with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He is being held in custody for his next court appearance on May 13.

WFP suspended its operations at all coastal facilities following the shootings out of respect for the victims.

On Sunday, Brian Butler, president of Local 1-1937, said all but the Nanaimo workers would return to work on Monday.

Those most affected by the shooting, union members in Nanaimo, are to return to work today and will be offered counselling and meetings with management and company personnel.

"Members will not be forced to return to work in the soft start," said Butler. "If they feel they are not ready, no one is going to pressure them."

WFP is setting up a security presence at its mills and will be reviewing details with the union, Butler said.

"I believe it will give our members a sense of comfort when they return from ... the most tragic event we have ever faced," he said.

Memorial services for McEachern will be held at noon on Saturday at the Beban Park Recreation Complex on Bowen Road. A memorial service for Lunn is set for 3 p.m. the same day at the Generations Church next to Terminal Park shopping centre.

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