Lumber mill workers near Jaffray have been laid off as the business changes ownership.
Galloway Lumber has been owned and operated by the Nelson family for the last 75 years, and has been sold to Brian Fehr.
Fehr took ownership on April 1 and, at the time, the plant had 25 of a total 44 employees working and plans in place to retool the mill into a fabricating shop, sawmill timber mill and a cross-laminated timber (CLT) plant within the next couple of years.
CLT is a wood panel product made from gluing layers of solid-sawn lumber together. It is similar to plywood but with distinctively thicker laminations, which can be made into many products, including large floor and wall panels.
According to United Steelworkers Local 1-405, all but a few employees were initially laid off, with plans to call back more over a period of several months and an increase to 80 employees possible over the next couple of years.
The union, which represents the 44 employees of Galloway Lumber, “has been working closely with the company to agree on how to go forward with an emphasis on returning as many employees to work as soon as possible,” said Doug Singer, Local 1-405 president in Cranbrook.
“It has been very tough for our members that are laid off, not knowing what the future really holds at this point and when they will return to work. The potential for this new operation for our members, their families and the surrounding communities could be very positive, so both parties are working very hard to make this a success,” Singer added.