Louisiana-Pacific announces OSB curtailments
Nashville, Tenn.-based wood products giant Louisiana-Pacific (LP) has announced oriented strand board (OSB) production shutdowns, following a drop in demand in the housing sector.
LP has shut down operations at its Silsbee, Texas-based OSB mill for an indefinite period of time. The mill has an annual production capacity of 350 million square feet and employs 147 people.
“The curtailment of our Silsbee operations is a difficult but necessary economic decision,” said LP’s executive vp-OSB, Jeff Wagner. “Despite the hard work and continuous efforts of our employees, the cost of production at Silsbee remains too high to be competitive during this extended downturn in new residential construction.”
The company also will curtail OSB production at its facility in Hayward, Wis., until Oct. 31 because of poor market conditions. The company will continue producing its “SmartSide” brand composite wood siding at the Hayward facility.
LP provides building products to retail, wholesale, home-building and industrial customers.
Foreclosures surged 58 percent in the past six months
According to the real estate research firm RealtyTrac, the number of homes facing foreclosure rose 58 percent in the first six months of 2007 to 573,397 properties, compared with 363,672 properties in the same period last year.
California saw the highest number of foreclosure-related notices at 104,572 properties, more than 50 percent higher than one year ago and 80 percent higher than in the previous six months. Florida, Ohio and Texas followed with large double-digit increases in foreclosures.
In response to California’s growing foreclosure rate, a consumer group called the California Reinvestment Coalition has begun advocating for a moratorium on home foreclosures. The coalition is a group of nonprofit organizations that advocates on behalf of poor and minority residents.
Alan Fisher, executive director of the coalition, told the San Jose Mercury News that a six-month moratorium would give the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance committee time to figure out a way for people to keep their homes.
“The curve is really starting to go up. We’re seeing just the beginning of a problem,” Fisher told the newspaper.
IKEA workers strike in B.C.
Workers at an IKEA store in Richmond, B.C., have gone on strike, following a failure by the Teamsters Local 213 and Swedish-based retailer to reach a five-year pay contract. Store manager Doug McCann opted to close the store while workers are picketing, according to news reports.
The Teamsters have asked the retailer to eliminate its two-tier wage schedule, which the Teamsters say gave the company the ability to charge lower wages to new employees. The company reportedly was willing to eliminate the two-tier system over six years. The company and Teamsters’ last three-year contract expired on Dec. 31, 2006.
According to the Vancouver Sun, IKEA then offered a five-year deal that included raises of 2 percent in each of the first three years and 3 percent in the next two years. That deal was rejected in a 61 percent vote by workers.
The Teamsters also are requesting general improvements in wages and more full-time positions at the store.
None of IKEA’s 11 other stores in Canada are unionized.