Tony speaks out on IP and Sedgewick
How Petty is Management? One answer can be found here>
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United Steelworkers At 14 International
Paper Mills Overwhelmingly Vote To Approve First Master Contract In 25
For Immediate Release August
-- Members of the United Steelworkers at 14 mills owned by International
Paper, the largest producer in the industry, voted overwhelmingly
yesterday to approve a four-year master agreement that improves wages
and benefits and secures jobs with a successorship clause.
“The overwhelming support for this agreement shows how united our
members are in pursuing master agreements in the paper industry,”
USW International President Leo W. Gerard
said after learning the results.
“Now our focus will turn to getting a master agreement for the IP
converters,” he added, referring to the IP plants where paper is
converted into other products, such as cardboard.
Under the agreement, steelworkers’ wages and health and retirement
benefits will improve, but they also receive job protection from a
successorship clause, which is particularly significant in the volatile
The successorship provision says that if IP sells a mill, it will as
part of that sales agreement require the new owner to retain current
workers, recognize the union, and honor the collective bargaining
agreement until expiration. It allows a new owner room for work force
reduction, but that must occur under the seniority terms within the
“Successorship clauses protect
workers from the unconscionable behavior of corporations that sell a
mill, then disregard both the union and the collective bargaining
agreement and summarily fire hundreds of people who have dedicated their
lives to work there,” Gerard said.
The master agreement provides
current IP workers with virtually the highest monthly pension multiplier
in the industry at $50 for all years of service. In addition, this
contract provides all workers with a high quality PPO health care plan
that IP cannot arbitrarily alter, as it could previously. IP will pay
increasingly larger shares of the premium costs over the life of the
four-year agreement, with the goal of 80 percent at the end.
In addition, IP will for the first time ever make lump sum payments into
a fund for any worker who was at least age 50 at the time of the
ratification to help them pay for early retirement health insurance
premiums. In addition, workers who pay $80 into that fund a month
themselves will see the company double those dollars.
Under this agreement, IP workers will receive two percent pay increase
on the expiration date of their local contract and on the second
anniversary. They will also get $1,000 lump sum payments on the first
and third anniversaries.
The USW represents 150,000 workers in the North American paper industry.
Overall, it has more than 850,000 members in a wide array of industries
We received this information some
time ago and were asked to keep it quiet until given permission to post
it. There is much more to come on this story and we will bring it to you
firsthand either through this website or in the form of handouts
personally given to you by this committee. We will be voicing our
own takes on this monumental occurrence in the very near future.
United Steelworkers, International Paper Reach
Tentative Agreement Covering 14 Mills
Local presidents unanimously endorse first master
contract with IP in 25 years
-- The United Steelworkers
announced today that the union has reached an understanding on the first
master agreement with International Paper in 25 years, one that would
improve wages and benefits and provide job security across 14 mills owned
by the largest paper producer in the industry. The agreement also contains
successorship language to protect Steelworkers’ jobs if IP sells a mill
and maintains wages and benefits that support the mill communities.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard said, “This
tentative master agreement is a clear step forward by both the USW and the
largest player in the paper industry. The successorship commitment
represents a mature view of the volatile business climate in this industry
and a fair and reasonable commitment by IP to its workers.”
Local unions present at a meeting in Nashville on
Friday unanimously endorsed the tentative agreement.
USW Vice President Richard LaCosse, who led the
Steelworker bargaining team, told the local
presidents, “The paper industry has resisted reaching
master agreements with our union. Through a progressive approach with IP,
we were able to address issues affecting both parties and the paper
industry itself and set an example for the rest of the industry. The final
voice, of course, belongs to our members, who will be voting on the
Workers will receive details of the proposed contract
in the mail this week and are scheduled to vote on it Aug. 23. Results
will be available Aug. 24.
The USW represents 150,000 members in the North
American paper industry. Overall, it represents more than 850,000 workers
in a wide array of industries throughout the U.S. and Canada.
I located a few questions and
answers on one of the AFL-CIO's Websites called
America" that I thought were easy
to relate to our employment situation and our undeniable need for proper
legal representation. These questions are answered voluntarily by
the attorneys listed at the bottom of each reply. Be sure to follow the
link under the answer and read all the Q&A's They are quite informative
and eye opening. If you wish to check the credentials of any
of the attorneys answering these questions, click their names to see
My company has what they call
"objectives" that have to be met in order to maintain your job. There
have been many changes in the working conditions that make these
objectives more & more difficult to reach. Can management do this?
Absent a collective bargaining agreement between your
union and the company, the employer has broad authority to regulate your
working conditions as long as these changes are not based on such
protected factors as age, sex, race and disability. A union contract, on
the other hand, is a binding agreement which covers "wages, hours, and
working conditions." The company with a union contract cannot, on its
own, change working conditions which are identified in the collective
bargaining agreement. If it does, charges could be filed with the
National Labor Relations Board, or a grievance could be filed. The
impact of changes in working conditions not listed in the collective
bargaining agreement, must be bargained with the union. For example, if
the collective bargaining agreement has an hourly rate established for
employees, and the company is now saying the employees have to produce a
certain number or amount of products to receive that hourly rate, that
is a change in working conditions to be negotiated with the union.
This response provided by
Joseph L. Allotta of Allotta, Farley & Widman CO., L.P.A.
(Very Good) Attorney Answered Questions Linked Here>
IP Hall of
Shame updated 5-27-07 >
Question from inside the plant
I saw in the news that the Terre
Haute Mill is being shut down, and another 100+ union jobs lost forever.
Tell me again how a union in the Lexington plant is going to make us more
competitive and prevent our jobs from reaching the same fate as our
co-workers from Terre Haute.
Union status of the workforce
has no bearing on a plant staying open or closing. For management to say
otherwise is a violation of Federal Law.
You read the news release so you
Dennis Colley, vice president and general manager of International
Paper's containerboard business announced that
employees would receive severance pay and benefits,
and the company would bargain the effects of the closure with the
union. If we were being
closed, I would rather have a Union and a contractual agreement guarding
my best interest rather than depending on the generosity
and compassion of a corporation that just eliminated my job because of
As far as being competitive... the only competition I'm interested in
involves hourly people being able to feed and provide better for
their families. It is a fact that management will take whatever steps
necessary to up profits and increase their ability to compete... up to
and including eliminating 100+ hourly working people's jobs... people
just like us. And God only knows haw bad I wish I had an
answer for that.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our old friends at the Terre Haute
Shareholders Send Message to IP Board of Directors! Full story Here
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One of our most popular pages of all time has been the Employee
Commentaries Pages where you, the people who work in this plant, are
allowed to voice your concerns and complaints with and about the way
things are going in our workplace. Here, on these pages, you do not have
to fear retribution from management when you speak your mind because your
name is never revealed to anyone. These pages were so popular in
fact, we are bringing them back to the forefront of our organizing
One of the main reasons
they were so popular was the fact we will not and have not ever
revealed anyone's name that has posted to our pages without their
I hear quite a few of you bringing up valid points of
discrimination, favoritism, and blatant
harassment perpetrated against you by management.
These are issues that everyone
should and will know about. Our
new management team has chosen to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to these
occurrences because it does not "inconvenience" them in any real
manner. I think it is time to turn a bright light onto these issues and
see just how long their shadows really cast.
We invite you to share your thoughts on favoritism shown through
preferential treatment and special favors in this plant. Tell
everyone how supervisors and other members of management talk to you when
"no one else is listening." Put into words how you feel when you are
disciplined and others "slide by" like they are charmed. Let us
know and then we will let you know how to put a legal halt to all this
nonsense through collective bargaining.
Use the "Contact Form" Link
to the left to post any and all commentaries. Please observe the rules
posted on this page.
The principals of
brotherhood and unity are not forgotten so long as there are people who
are willing to stand for the greater good against what may seem to be
insurmountable odds and the scorn of those who would seek to strip us of
the common labor rights of all American Working People.
Those who chose to allow
their rights to be taken or chose to remain silent as their rights or the
rights of those around them are violated will soon find themselves
subservient to a system that worships money and profits as its governing
force. Such a system devalues the human element of manufacturing as merely
a means to achieve an end.
Working people have very
little they can depend on besides each other. To turn your back as one of
your own people is victimized begins a cycle in which you will have to
keep turning until you come face to face with your own persecution. Who
will stand for you and by you then?
Just a few thoughts from M.B.