Opinion & Editorial

Support strikers seeking a living wage

Dear Editor: 

As a retired member to the Teacher’s Union, I would like to call attention to the Cottage Grove community members who are maintaining picket lines at the shuttered Latham Weyerhaeuser mill.

They are standing 24/7 through cold lonely nights, rain, and without wages. It is not just here but throughout the Northwest, with 1,100 members holding out for peanuts. It is not like they are asking for that much, basically pay enough to keep up with inflation, a concern, I feel, all Oregonians share.

Like one of the striker’s signs read: “Will work for a living wage.”

The optics are particularly poor in a year of record profits for Weyerhaeuser’s Corporate owners, over $2.5 billion, a CEO drawing a cool $12 million, and stockholders in addition to getting dividends regularly, with 2022 came a supplemental payout at $1.45 per share. 

Share the profits! How about some change for the workers who made all those dollars for you?

What is particularly ironic here is that the mill being picketed was built by lumberman W. A. Woodard. Before selling to Weyerhaeuser, Woodard had maximized profits that largely stayed in the community. 

W. A. always credited his success to his employees and consequently looked after their well-being. He paid the highest wages because he wanted to hire and retain the best employees. He made sure his workers and their families had decent housing, access to good food and worked to make Cottage Grove a town they would want to stay and raise their kids.

The Woodard family gifted the City a library and were instrumental in establishing the Cottage Grove Community Hospital again a benefit to those employees and the community at-large.

A good way to support our community members on the line is to go spend some time standing with them and getting to know your neighbors better. If you can they could also use propane, water, food, snacks, bleach wipes, or whatever you could share to show support. At least honk and wave.

Dana Merryday, Cottage Grove



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