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United Steelworker Locals Reach Tentative Agreement With International Paper

Published Wednesday, April 6, 2011 10:00 am
by USW National News

(PITTSBURGH) – The United Steelworkers (USW) have reached a tentative, four-year Master Agreement with International Paper (IP) after a week of negotiations over key economic issues, the Union has announced.  The agreement was reached after nearly a year of planning and strategic meetings that was brought about by an 80-person bargaining committee, which represents 15 sites meeting in New Orleans in face-to-face discussions.

“These negotiations are particularly important for our Union,” USW International President Leo Gerard said. “IP is the biggest company in the sector and a leader in the global industry.  The success of our local Unions here sets the tone for bargaining across the industry.”

“The accord with IP represents a historic moment for our paper sector.” said USW Vice President Jon Geenen, who heads Collective Bargaining for its members employed in the paper industry. “In the past, our Locals bargained site by site, even though most companies approach bargaining as part of a national strategy.  One of main benefits of all the Locals bargaining together at the same time is that everyone gets a voice in shaping the package.”

 “What made the difference in these negotiations was the activism and participation of our local Unions,” said Stan Johnson, USW’s Secretary-Treasurer and Chairman of the IP Union Council.  “They were engaged, active and vocal about their priorities - and it paid off.”

The local Unions will take the offer - which includes wage increases in each year of the agreement, improvements to the pension and 401(k), cost stabilization for Health Care Costs and employment security - back to their members for discussion by the first week in May.  A ratification vote will be conducted later in the month.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada employed in the Metals, Rubber, Chemicals, Paper and Oil Refining Industries, as well as the Service Sector.  Some 100,000 are employed in the Paper and Pulp Sector. For more information on the USW, visit www.usw.org/.

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