GLENDALE — Potentially hurt by competition with Canadian softwood lumber, Swanson Group, a wood products company based in Glendale, asked the U.S. Department of Labor to help affected workers.
Shelly Forsberg, a petition coordinator with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, said a staff member at Swanson Group had asked her to file the petition, estimating about 36 employees may be laid off as a result of cutbacks to the business while it tries to compete with Canadian imports. Forsberg said she could not confirm if the layoffs have happened.
Forsberg filed the petition Feb. 14, and the Department of Labor is currently investigating the situation before it decides whether or not to grant Swanson Group with the benefits of the program.
If the department finds Swanson Group eligible for assistance, the affected workers will meet with the program staff to discuss benefits, which include skills assessments, career counseling, training, income support, and reimbursement for relocation costs and a wage subsidy to make up for part of the difference between workers’ new wages and their old wages.
“Canada ‘dumping’ of softwood has affected cost of business and lumber supply to Swanson locations,” the petition reads. “International Trade Commission determined Canada sold softwood in U.S. at less than fair value.”
On Dec. 7, the International Trade Commission announced the U.S. wood products industry is materially injured by subsidized Canadian imports of softwood lumber.
Swanson Group produces dimensional lumber, plywood panels, veneers and residential products, studs and sign-making panels.
Forsberg said there’s also a retraining opportunity.
“We look at whether or not they can find work that’s greater than or equal to their skills or whether or not there are jobs out there that pay at least 80 percent of their last wage,” she said. If there aren’t any viable opportunities available, the program covers the costs of tuition, books, fees, tools and travel expenses to help the affected workers retrain in a different field, she said.
Representatives from Swanson Group did not respond in time for deadline.