Greenpeace must pay loggers for 1997 protest

Greenpeace ordered to pay lost wages to loggers out of work during 1997 protest.

A 10-day logging protest six years ago is going to cost Greenpeace more than $6,000 after a court in B.C. said the environmental group has to pay loggers for lost wages.

Madame Justice Janet Sinclair Prowse ordered Greenpeace and two of its members to compensate four loggers who lost work when protesters shut down a logging site on Roderick Island in May 1997.

In a judgment dated April 29, Prowse awarded $1,650 to Clint Verchere, $1,075 to Rod Plosz, $2,025 to Richard Wild, and $1,275 to Terry Poslowsky.

The four were among 16 who originally sued Greenpeace, but 12 abandoned their claims and their cases were dismissed.

Some of the workers lost 10 days of work, while others had been scheduled for fewer days. Only Verchere was able to work at another job for part of the time he lost.

"Greenpeace Canada, Ms. (Tzeporah) Berman, and Ms. (Tamara) Stark are jointly and severally liable for the losses," the judgment says.

Berman was an employee of Greenpeace International and represented Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Canada at the protest site. Stark acted as a representative of Greenpeace Canada.

During the protest, volunteers chained themselves to logging equipment and hung banners reading, "Stop clearcutting the great bear rain forest Greenpeace," and "Protesters for hire 1-800-Greenpeace."

Prowse didn't award any punitive damages, noting the protest was peaceful, and ended as soon as the demonstrators were notified of a court injunction.

She also rejected a request that the loggers' union be reimbursed for court costs.