Ten laid off at Chinese Camp mill

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By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER

After suspending 37 Chinese Camp mill workers for three weeks last month, Sierra Pacific Industries has permanently laid off 10 of them and will keep the rest out of work for another seven days.

That decision was announced this week, after officials at the state's largest logging company tallied the timber they expect to cut this year.

That total, said Ed Bond, SPI spokesman, is only enough to keep the Chinese Camp mill running 60 hours each week not the 80 hours it operated before last month's layoffs. Those 60 hours will come as one 10-hour shift, six days a week. The mill previously ran two eight-hour shifts, five days a week.

As the company cuts operation hours, it must cut staff, as well, Bond said.

"The people that are being laid off are the people with less seniority," Bond said. "They are probably more in the entry-level jobs," like clean-up crew.

Bond said that right now, the Standard mill could hire two or three of the 10 laid-off workers.

The rest could return later, if more jobs open up.

"They have every right to be recalled as we need more people and if the timber supply increases," Bond said. Meanwhile, the 10 workers qualify by state law to receive health insurance for the next 18 months.

As for the remaining 27, they will be out of work for another week as SPI waits for the rain to clear so loggers can enter the forest, Bond said.

Logging in muddy conditions can damage soil and logging equipment and jeopardize loggers' safety.

Contact Genevieve Bookwalter at gbookwalter@uniondemocrat.com .

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