International Paper   Lexington, Kentucky

                                                                                                             

Updated : 08-13-07

 

Leaders from 21 unions in 11 countries on five continents met in Nashville recently to create a global union network at International Paper Co. (IP), the largest paper company in the world, "to advance and protect the interests of IP employees worldwide."

"This global union network is a strong step forward in dealing with this multinational employer and will allow unions around the world to work together in common cause," said Boyd Young, International President of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE).

PACE and the ICEM co-sponsored the conference, which took place on April 10-11.

The participants came from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Korea, New Zealand, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, representing tens of thousands of IP employees. Globally, IP employs 100,000 people and operates in 22 countries, with sales last year exceeding $26 billion.

In addition to PACE, ICEM affiliates from North America in attendance included the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU), and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

"We decided that an effective trade union movement has to operate as globally as the companies where we represent workers," said PACE Vice President Donald L. Langham, who also serves as a North American vice president of the ICEM.

"IP crosses national borders in search of the highest profits, and the unions present here have resolved to match that corporate globalization with a globalization of workers' solidarity," he said.

Langham was elected by the conference to chair the new ICEM Global Network of IP Unions. He will lead a network steering committee that will also include Jean-Pierre Nicolas of the FILPAC-CGT paper workers union of France; Kazimierz Nowak of Solidarnosc of Poland; Max Adlam of the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union of Australia; and Job Filho of the paper workers union SINAP of Brazil.

The unions pledged to share with each other information on wages and working conditions and take common action at IP in support of participating unions that need assistance. The unions additionally resolved to approach senior IP management to establish a dialogue and to seek an agreement on the establishment and implementation of labor standards at the company's operations worldwide.

"When we came together and heard how IP operates around the world it was eye-opening for many of the participants," said PACE Vice President Bob Smith, who co-chaired the conference. "It was empowering to bring so many unions together for a common purpose."

The unions also expressed their strong support for workers then on strike at IP's Clifton, New Jersey cosmetics packaging plant. The workers are members of the GCIU, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Four days after the end of the union conference, IP and the unions reached an agreement that ended the strike. The new contract did not contain the concessions that IP had been seeking but did include wage increases and other improvements for the workers.

"I express my gratitude and appreciation" to the unions that supported us, said Edward Treacy, president of GCIU Local 612M, which represents the majority of the workers at the Clifton plant.

 

Largest U.S. Pension Increase Ever Negotiated at International Paper

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          Workers at International Paper Co. mills and converters received their largest pension increase in recent memory during a re-opening of the pension contract this past spring that made changes to the existing pension agreement and extended it by one year.

          Pensions will increase 28.9 percent from June 1, 2003 through June 1, 2007 for IP primary mill workers, and 30 percent during the same period for converting operations.

          “This is the biggest increase in pension IP ever gave in all their years of bargaining,” said PACE Region Five Vice President Don Langham.

          Rank-and-file delegates to the IP pension councils credited the union’s global IP network and first-ever IP global council meeting in April 2002 for the pension increase. “I think it made the company nervous because they’re dealing with the union in a worldwide setting,” said PACE Local 7-20 President Tim Giles.

          The plan covers about 9,500 IP primary mill participants and approximately 4,600 employees in the company’s converting operation. All of the primary mills and a majority of the converters are part of the union-negotiated plan, said Langham. The converting plan covers woodlands, timberlands, wood product plants, corrugated box plants, paper converters and the Arizona Chemical Co.

          Twelve unions are involved in the pension negotiations, with PACE having the most members and taking the lead. Other than National Oil Bargaining, this is the largest bargaining group in PACE.

          For those workers who will lose their jobs because of mill and plant downsizing or closures—like the shutdown of the IP mill in Natchez, Miss.—the new agreement continues a supplemental monthly payment of $100.

          With IP being the largest paper company in the world, the pension changes are expected to influence the rest of the industry. “This should motivate other paper companies to move forward and improve their pension plans,” said PACE President Boyd Young. “Paper workers should not have to live in poverty during their retirement years.”

 

 
This network is created and managed by Marcus Bryant & Tony Bellamy   with the sole intentions of exercising their  legal right to organize for the  purpose of collective bargaining. 
Your in-plant organizing committee is: Tony Bellamy,  Roger "3 O'clock" Clark,  Roy "Daddy" Cates,  Dennis "The Enforcer" Brannock,  James Davenport,  Greg Pelfrey,  Jim Rohr,  Shane Nolan,   Quentin Gay,  Tommy Wells,  Brian Hill,  Rodney Clem,  Hugh Reed, Emery "The Big E" Addison,  Derek Webb And Marcus Bryant.  

We serve notice to all that, under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, we are participating in a Federally Protected Activity to organize the workforce of International Paper Lexington for the purpose of collective bargaining.   Any and all of the contents of this website is used, exclusively,  for that stated purpose. No other meaning should be assigned or implied to said content. By Federal Law, any misrepresentation or alteration of the original copyrighted material  contained in this website is forbidden.  

 

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Last modified: August 12, 2007.