A few years back, my brother in law was the head of IT for Sappi(South Africa Paper ? International) for North America. He went to a mill in South Africa and commented that no people were involved with the process other then maintaining the machines. Truck drivers and fork lift drivers, most all were outside the mill.
I have some experience around unionized mill workers in Maine. I agree that workers that show up, work hard, have skills, and do quality work for their respective companies should be well paid on a scale that is appropriate with the cost of living in their region. However, to many times the union jobs were vastly overpaid for low quality, lazy people. Profits are not bad and are the reason anyone develops a business, not to provide jobs for a population. When the tail wags the dog, you are in trouble.
As Sam has said about the coal fired generators being shut down because the were old technology, the mills in Maine were to dependent on manpower and the unions were to strong. Close them down after stripping all the wood they could get away with, (LOTS
) break the unions, and allowing the forest to regrow(about 30 years to the size and mass/acre they want), and start back up with new mills, high demand, and fewer expensive people. Politically, they will rely on keeping the National Park at bay and they control the vast majority of the private land anyways. Pingree's for example.
I am reading about the oil boom in the West and it is the same boom cycle mentality that occurred in Texas. It just so happens that trees grow back eventually. However, you can only strip the land so many times and expect a crop. Then other species come in that may not be as desirable. I have already seen them spray and treat thousands of acres to kill junk hardwood species that came up after harvesting. Then there are the issues with monoculture......... Alright enough already, you can see where this goes!