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Veneer Plant
by Beth Antonsen


February 18, 2005

There was an article recently in the Alaska Journal of Commerce about the veneer plant opening in Ketchikan.  I'm all for the veneer plant reopening and applaud their plans to not only produce veneer but eventually make plywood here bringing another 60jobs.

The article did however raise some concern.  Mr. Falconer says the wages will start at $12/Hr and rise to $15Hr.  This he says is "good enough for people to live off of".  Mr. Falconer also states he is "prone to hiring ladies too, single parents, mothers who need a job".  Hiring women I applaud as well but he needs to seriously rethink the wages.  As a person living on my own I would find it difficult to live here on less than $15Hr. 

When planning a budget no more than 35% of your net income should be used for housing, 20% for transportation, 15% for debt, 20% for other (food, phone, utilities, etc.) and 10% for savings.  If making 15.00/Hr a person's net income would be around $1600.00 per month (the government roughly takes 1/3).

 If you crunch the numbers you end up with $560.00 a month for rent, etc.

You can see that $15.00/Hr should be a baseline for living in Ketchikan.  Now throw a child into the mix and the numbers must go up.  Anything less is simply not realistic.

I think the quality of the resource merits not less than $15.00/Hr.  How much is this company going to be pocketing and how much of that is going to stay in the community?

Wasn't there an article recently about a new sawmill in Everett that was paying people 15-20.00/Hr?  Why are we offered less than that?  Is it because we are desperate for jobs?

 I would like to see Mr. Falconer come to Ketchikan and live on a stipend of $1600.00 a month before he decides what is "good enough to live off of".  I'm sick of the carpet bagging that goes on in Alaska and the squandering of our resources. Are we that desperate that we welcome someone to come and have access to our wonderful wood fiber and throw us a few crumbs?  It's not "good enough" for me.

Beth Antonsen
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Article:

New life breathed into veneer plant
Alaska Journal of Commerce - January 24, 2005


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