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British Columbia forestry workers go on strike

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Around 6,500 members of Canada’s Wood Council of the United Steelworkers union (USW) have gone on strike in British Columbia.

The strike began at midnight on Friday, idling more than 30 forest companies, according to news reports.

At issue is a request by the USW to restrict wood product companies’ abilities to schedule some working shifts up to 12 hours long. Additionally, the union is arguing for better severance pay for partial mill closures.

“The industry is badly fragmented and is unable to reach common ground with our union on the fundamental issues affecting our members,” said Steve Hunt, director of USW Western Canada.

The union is striking against several companies, many represented by the bargaining group Forest Industrial Relations (FIR). Around 4,500 unionized workers are employed by FIR’s client companies.

“We have bargained in good faith, and the union has been effective in achieving many of its goals,” said Terry Lineker, president and CEO of FIR. “However, given the market pressures we face, we will not offer more because any further decline in our competitive position will severely damage the industry.”

FIR members include West Fraser Mills and Western Forest Products.

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Orchard Supply appoints new chief marketing officer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), the San Jose, Calif.-based home and garden retailer with 85 locations throughout California, appointed Thomas Carey as chief marketing officer, effective July 23.

Carey will focus on driving customer satisfaction, target marketing and managing print and broadcast advertising, the company said.

“Carey will enable us to get closer to our customers,” said OSH president and CEO Rob Lynch. “His vision and breadth of knowledge in consumer segmentation and relationship management will enhance customer loyalty, building on the solid reputation that OSH has earned for excellence over the past 76 years.”

Carey has more than 12 years of senior marketing and advertising experience with both apparel and home improvement retailers. Most recently, he served as senior vp-marketing with West Marine, of Watsonville, Calif. Prior to that, he held various positions at Goody’s Family Clothing, Sunglass Hut International, Bloomingdale’s and Builders Square. Carey also spent 12 years of his early career with various marketing and advertising agencies, including Ogilvy & Mather, N.W. Ayer Advertising and Young & Rubicam Advertising.

“His deep experience with print and broadcast advertising and multichannel marketing, including Internet, will also help raise OSH’s profile among its target audience,” Lynch said.

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Consumers prefer contractor referrals

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A national survey of homeowners who have hired contractors for home improvement projects showed a strong preference for personal recommendations, with 42 percent using a contractor they found through a family or friend. Another 28 percent hired someone they had used on previous projects, while 7 percent found contractors through the Yellow Pages.

Retailers who provide installation services were utilized by 7 percent of the respondents. But overall, respondents gave home improvement stores low marks for project satisfaction. Only the Yellow Pages ranked slightly lower when comparing project satisfaction to how the contractor was found.

“Surprisingly, those who used a home improvement store-provided contractor did about the same as those who used advertising as the way they found their contractor,” said Fred Miller, president of Consumer Specialists, a marketing consulting firm based in Germantown, Tenn. He noted that independent referrals got the highest satisfaction ratings from survey respondents.

The full study, called “In the Beginning,” looks at how homeowners approach the critical starting period in home improvement projects and what resources they utilize.

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