Woodworkers for IKEA in Sweden get more pay than Swedwood workers, say union organizers. And Berkline workers sue over job losses. Better times could lead to labor unrest, with 81 percent of workers looking around for better jobs, according to reports delivered at the woodworking industry Executive Briefing Conference in St. Paul this week.

Disgruntled woodworkers at IKEA’s manufacturing subsidiary Swedwood in Danville, VA, reportedly are trying to form a union with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Swedwood operates nearly three-dozen state of the art plants worldwide for parent IKEA. On friendlier terms with unions is Lac-Mégantic, QC-based Bestar, maker of ready-to-assemble furniture, which said concessions by union and other employees helped it keep losses at just $850,000 2010.

Wood Week: Berkline, Swedwood unrest; Execs need retooling

Employees sue Berkline over plant closing 

Furnishings firm firm Berkline LLC was slapped with three lawsuits, reports editor at large Rich Christianson, who obtained court records filed by former workers alleging the upholstered furniture maker violated the federal WARN when it abruptly halted furniture production March 30.
WARN, for Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notice, requires a 60-day warning before mass layoffs.

Wood Week: Berkline, Swedwood unrest; Execs need retooling
Reviewers pan EPA's formaldehyde health assessment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to reassess its draft assessment of formaldhyde health risks, according to a new report from the National Research Council. Formaldehyde is a deep concern for MDF and other wood panel manufacturers.

Wood Week: Berkline, Swedwood unrest; Execs need retooling

Wood firms must 'change attitude,' says Stiles

Top wood industry manufacturing execs at the St. Paul, MN 3M Innovation Center, listening to three days of tech and business talk, were told to rethink their wood products manufacturing and marketing business approach, with pleas for education and calls for technology investment, at the woodworking industry Executive Briefing Conference.

Wood Week: Berkline, Swedwood unrest; Execs need retooling

Kid Brands juvenile furniture manufacturer

weathered a recent fillip, posting a 13.1% increase on 2010 sales of $275.8 million. A continuing internal investigation involving imports to its LaJobi unit has resulted in millions in restated earnings, and a change in liabilities for earnouts. Last month Kid Brands fired the president of its LaJobi children's wood furniture subsidiary after finding incorrect import duties were applied on wooden furniture imported from vendors in China, resulting in a violation of anti-dumping regulations.


 Wood Week: Berkline, Swedwood unrest; Execs need retooling
 IKEA's Swedwood manufacturing unit boasts highly automated  ABB placed robotics in 35 of its plants.

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