Working an Extra Shift: Forest Products Industry Employees Take on Washington

Feb 08, 2016
Pickard_Laura-Web         David-Wise-PPRC 
Laura Pickard
Manager, PAC and Grassroots
       David Wise 
PPRC National Steering Committee Chairman

This week, the Pulp and Paperworkers’ Resource Council (PPRC) is visiting Washington, D.C. for their 25th annual Washington, D.C. Fly-In. What exactly is the PPRC, you ask?

The PPRC is a non-profit grassroots organization made up of ground floor hourly union workers in the forest products industry. They come from all across the country and are committed to educating policymakers on the impact policies have on jobs and the economy.

This year, around 65 PPRC members are here in D.C. to meet with members of Congress and administration officials to discuss priority issues including, among others, the cumulative air regulatory burden facing our industry, the carbon neutrality of biomass, the Endangered Species Act, and Human Health Water Quality Criteria.

I sat down with PPRC National Steering Committee Chairman, David Wise, to hear a little more about his story and what the PPRC means to him:

LP: What is your role in the forest products industry?

DW: I have been a vibration analyst at the WestRock paperboard mill in Florence, S.C. for over twenty-five years.

LP: What does the industry mean to South Carolina?

DW: My family has long roots in North and South Carolina. For generations, they worked and provided for their families in the textile industry. When that industry left the U.S., everyone lost their jobs. I started working at the Florence mill because it was the best paying job in the area. The forest products industry is one of the leading employers in the state of South Carolina.

LP: Why is the PPRC important?

DW: I am a veteran of two wars. I served in the Army for 27 years. Americans fought to defend this country so that we can have a good life here. The PPRC fights to defend that life in cities and small rural communities all over this country by protecting the industry and the families it supports.

LP: Why do you keep coming back to D.C. every year?

DW: This will be my 18th trip to D.C. with the PPRC. I have seen the impact that our presence makes on Capitol Hill. Sometimes members of Congress don’t fully understand how much our mills mean to communities across this country and how their policy decisions affect everyday Americans. Sometimes all it takes is making your voice heard to make a difference.

Interested in learning more about what the industry means to your community? Take a look at our state fact sheets.

Want to help make a difference? Visit our Grow the Vote website.