The P.A.C.E. Setter 

International Paper   Lexington, Kentucky


Updated : 3-31-08


Employees Get Average 3.6 Pay Raise

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 19, 2005; 4:40 PM

NEW YORK -- A rebounding economy and improving job market aren't translating into big pay raises for U.S. workers, who'll get an average 3.6 percent increase this year. Some workers, though, might find something extra in their paychecks if their bosses are really pleased with their work.

Results of a survey released Tuesday by Mercer Human Resource Consulting show the size of the average raise this year is little changed from 2004, when pay hikes averaged 3.5 percent. But the increases are generally helping workers stay ahead of inflation, which has risen at annual rate of 3.1 percent so far this year.

A separate survey issued last month by the Conference Board was in line  with  Mercer's, finding that salaries are expected to rise an average 3.5 percent.

These folks seem to think 3.5 - 3.6 percent is a small raise. I bet none of them work hourly jobs for International Paper.  I wonder why none of these national surveys were looked at when our raise was being considered?               MB

This is the third straight year that employers are granting raises under the 4 percent-plus level common in the 1990s, but many individual workers are actually doing better because the use of one-time compensation such as bonuses has increased, said Steven Gross, a senior consultant at Mercer who specializes in looking at employee compensation.

"This is not bad news, this is good news." Gross said. "In aggregate, employers are providing more compensation, it's just not directly in base pay."

With employers under pressure to hold down their fixed costs, many are reluctant to increase base pay and are more likely to use bonuses and other one-time rewards. Mercer said 86 percent of its survey respondents reported they used some kind of short-term incentive in 2005.

The survey included nearly 1,350 employers across the country and reflects pay practices for nearly 13 million workers.

All this talk about incentives,  bonus checks and more compensation leads me to believe that some of these people got more than a $600 check.          MB

Signing bonuses have become increasingly popular as companies try to compensate for lower raises and attract talented employees. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said they gave out signing bonuses during 2005.

This trend is most apparent in the information technology companies, where 65 percent of the respondents said they offered signing bonuses this year. They were also common in accounting and finance companies, where 46 percent said they granted such bonuses, and in engineering, where 38 percent of respondents gave them.

Spot cash awards were also popular in 2005, with information technology companies again the most likely to use this form of compensation.

Looking ahead to 2006, Mercer found employers were likely to continue using spot rewards and bonuses while the average expected pay raise rate remains constant at 3.6 percent.

Among the five categories Mercer divides employees into, management employees and technical/professional employees on average received a 3.6 percent pay increase in 2005, and are expected to receive the same in 2006. Nonexempt clerical/technician employees, who hold positions such as secretaries and lab technicians, are receiving an average of 3.5 percent raises this year and can expect 3.6 percent next year.

Non-union hourly employees are seeing average raises of 3.4 percent and are likely to see 3.5 percent increases next year. The pay raise rate for executive employees, on the other hand, is expected to decline from an average 3.9 percent in 2005 to 3.8 percent in 2006.

2006 Average 3.6 raises and bonus checks? Non-Union employees getting 3.4 to 3.5 percent raises?  Executive raises on the decline? I know this can't be International Paper these people are talking about.  IP loves to lavish bonus checks on their executives and starve their non union employees in the process.           MB

While the overall pay raise rate will remain constant, the good news for employees is that there appears to be a halt in salary freezes. Dramatically down from 16 percent in 2002, only 2 percent of employers reported salary freezes in 2005. In 2004, five percent of employers reported salary freezes.

Employers providing compensation through stock options declined to 31 percent this year, down from its peak of 37 percent in 2002. The decline is expected to continue with only 1.4 percent of survey respondents considering stock options as compensation for the first time.

Gross said the drop in stock options is the result of changing accounting methods that have made the once free commodity too expensive for companies to continue using.



Workers Not Involved in Sex Can Sue for Harassment

SAN FRANCISCO (July 18) - A manager who has affairs with subordinates can create a work climate that constitutes sexual harassment even for uninvolved employees, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Phil Horowitz, of the California Employment Lawyers Association, who submitted a brief to the court in support of a lawsuit filed by two women, called the decision "groundbreaking."

"It's the first major decision saying women can sue if they are treated worse because they're not the paramour of the supervisor," Horowitz said.

Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office, said the decision is a warning to business owners.

"It tells employers that having an anti-nepotism policy is not enough. You need to do more to make sure that you have a hostility-free work environment even when employees are having consensual sexual relationships," Barankin said.

The case involves former employees at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla who complained about then-warden Lewis Kuykendall, who was sexually involved with at least three women at the same time.

The plaintiffs, Edna Miller and Frances Mackey, sued the Department of Corrections for sexual harassment in 1999.

A lower court ruled against the women, saying they "were not themselves subjected to sexual advances and were not treated any differently than male employees." The state Supreme Court overturned that decision Monday.

An isolated instance of favoritism would not ordinarily constitute sexual harassment, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote in the unanimous decision.

But when it is so widespread that "the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as 'sexual playthings' or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct," it constitutes harassment, he wrote.

Both women subsequently left their jobs, and Mackey died in 2003. An Internal Affairs investigation in 1998 resulted in Kuykendall's retirement.


07/18/05 19:03 EDT















Don Noort's Rules of Running a Plant:

   1. I make up the rules as I go along. 

   2. You follow the rules until I don't like them and change them. 

   3. Questions? Refer to rule #1. 

     People, After this last little so called "Monthly Meeting" I got the distinct impression that I had been both threatened and accused all at the same time. The little comment about the "winks and nods" was about as general as a "general accusation" gets.  The undertone I heard was, quite simply, rat out your friends or face the consequences. In this meeting, Don had an opportunity to reach out to the people and heal a widening gap in this plant between management and hourly employees and he chose (and it was by his choice) to inflame matters by these accusations and threats. All I have to say about his behavior is, thanks for the continued support for our Union Campaign. 

The lock out tag out process started as a good idea and has been perverted by a management team that can't seem to follow it themselves. Don himself was caught in a violation. (And, as I hear it, denied it to the bitter end) As it has been told to me, Don's statements about that occurrence were in direct contradiction to witness statements. Assuming that is true, by the rules that Don now trumpets, he should have been fired for making false statements. Any of us would have been fired for such a violation. Don talks the talk about consistency but have you ever seen him walk the walk?

On the subject of making statements... why would anyone subject themselves to the kind of grilling witness interrogations that the last safety investigation produced? Innuendoes of termination were used as tools of intimidation on people that were merely cooperating with the process. Has management ever put that much effort into an investigation when it was one of us on the chopping block?  No!   Are we happy about the result of this investigation? (Bill's Termination)  No, we most certainly are not.  

In last months meeting Don refused to answer a question about how much money Lexington Plant made this year. The reason Don gave was he didn't want that information winding up on this website. What do you have to hide Don? Why discriminate against us and our website? Could it have something to do with the fact we are winning this campaign? Are you afraid your Bosses' Boss might find out about your little secrets?  Most every member of this workforce is a share holder in this company through their 401k plan and I think it is a disgrace that a member of management treat shareholders with that kind of disregard and besides that, refusal of anything due to Union Activity (and this website is Union Activity) is a chargeable offence under Federal Labor Law.  

Witch hunts, threats, hidden information and accusations... are these the things we can now expect from our management team? Seems obvious to me that is exactly the situation.  The only remedy for the illness we are faced with is to come together and form a Union. As a Union Plant we will have at least some voice in the way we are treated and that is far better than what we have now. 



    It is a truly sad moment in the history of this committee when our members are accused of a conspiracy to facilitate the termination of  a member of this management team. Before I say anything else, Let me assure you that this is in no way the truth. It is our belief that management and hourly workers alike should be held to the same code of safety conduct in this plant. International Paper has mandated the use of Lock Out Tag Out procedures at this facility and mandated the punishments associated with violations of this procedure. All employees (Including Management) have been trained in these procedures and understand the consequences of  non compliance. Lockout Matrixes are clearly displayed at all machines and give a detailed list of the requirements for safe entry into areas that might otherwise be a danger to the workers.  This has been not welcomed but accepted in this plant as law. This being common knowledge, why is it  when one of the Lead Team is accused of a violation of this long standing policy... management cries conspiracy? And not only do they cry conspiracy, they go on a plant wide witch hunt looking for someone or anyone to vilify. Management has made accusations either direct or indirect that employees have lied in their statements. By their own actions, management shows distrust of people that are just following the rules that they (management) has put into place. What kind of statement does this make? You Follow the rules and be subject to numerous grilling interviews in what can only be described as a bad episode of NYPD Blue?  Enough is enough! 

At this time I would like to make the official statement on behalf of the International Paper Lexington Plant Union Committee. 

We have NO desire to see Bill Childress terminated. We ask management to show the leniency that no hourly worker has seen in a like situation.  We ask that the rigid and punishing rules involved with Lock Out Tag Out be softened a bit so that we all may benefit in the unhappy event that someone else may be in this situation. We have for years championed the fact that the punishment does not fit the crime in relation to the Lock out Tag Out rules.  In the event someone else is accused of a violation, We also ask management to show the same effort in their investigations to one of us (hourly workers) that they have now shown to one of theirs (salaried workers).

   We are a Union Organizing Committee. Our only goal and purpose is to establish a Union and negotiate with our management team. In accordance with Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act we have that right. Also, in accordance with Federal Law, we have the right to organize for the purpose of mutual protection.   With accusations flying wildly from this management team, I think it is wise that we, as hourly workers, seek this mutual protection that the law allows. This has become a prime example of how a Union Free plant deals with it's employees. Stand united or fall victim to management's conspiracy. 


Why Does Corporate Ignore Us? 

     The Lexington Plant's people are a highly mobilized, hard working group that have met or exceed all production goals that corporate has set for them. No matter how ridiculously over booked Don allows the schedule to get, we manage to pull his butt out of the fire. So why is it, when it comes time for benefits and a decent raise, Don forgets all about us? Could it be that he want it all for himself? Could it be that his greed over rules the needs of his people? Former Queen of France  Marie Antoinette was credited with saying "Let them eat cake" when it was told to her that her subjects had no bread to eat. Is that a reflection of our situation? Has the lust for more and more profits and a higher bonus checks so clouded the vision of management that they cannot see that we need to make a living also?  Can they not see that anorexic raises and insurance hikes leave us making less money than the prior year? The question " What can the Union do about it? " Goes unanswered because we have not given it a proper chance. We don't know what the Union can do about it until we try.  We don't make foolish promises about grand plans to make this a utopia for the working people. What we do promise is to try to make it more livable and fair for the people. I would much rather know what to expect from year to year than to have it sprung on me at the end of each year. In a Union Contract we will have that advanced notice for years into the future.  All working conditions, benefits and increases in cost will be spelled out.   Why not give Union a chance?  The situation we are in now is not working for us it is working against us. I would rather cast my bread upon the water than to have our own resident  Marie Antoinette promise us cake and deliver nothing but crumbs. 


Labor Day Weekend Cut Short


      The Don strikes again by scheduling overtime the Saturday before Labor Day! I wasn’t surprised as I’m sure most of you weren’t either. As we have known all along by his actions, he has little respect for this work force or their family lives. His bonus check is where his heart truly is.

  He tried to put up a good front though I’m told. He showed up and made his presence known by visiting every machine on first shift. Yes, he made his cameo appearance and left shortly after to enjoy his long weekend. Must be nice! No 8-hour day for the DON!

Have you noticed how they have been scheduling Saturday overtime on Thursday only to call off most of it on Friday? They want you to cancel any plans you have in case they might need you. They had promised during the last election to post over time on Thursday so that you could make plans with your families on the weekend. See how they twisted that promise to work in their favor? What good is posting over time on Thursday? They will still inconvenience you regardless. Another election promise twisted if not broken. They always tell you what you want to hear at election time!

Oh well, thanks to this man and his arrogance we had an awesome turn out by our committee and friends hand billing the plant Wednesday and Thursday! Never in any previous campaign have we had such a turn out! We also had a great response from our co- workers! Continue to stand as one and we will have our day negotiating the terms and conditions we work under. A contract is the only way to work for a man and a corporation that cannot be trusted by anyone, in my opinion.


This past week we saw the single largest Union Committee gathering ever as all 18 members of this Committee banded together to pass out our latest flyer. This display of unity shows true Solidarity between the members of this Committee.  Their outstanding dedication to the fight for Union at this facility proves we truly believe in our cause.  Thank you once again to all those who stopped and took our flyer! We look forward to bringing more to you soon!    See a copy of this Flyer by clicking The Provided Link>



In reference to Dons meeting announcing to all yet another change in Policy, August 6th 2004.

Don and Bill first tried to lull us to sleep with their graphs and charts before bombing us with a change in policy concerning taking off before or after a Holiday. He let us know we would no longer be paid for such absences and in the same breathe blasted the idea of brotherhood and unity saying that we were against such a policy change because we don’t care if our brothers have to cover overtime unnecessarily.

  We have been covering overtime on the dock due to his over sight for half a year! In his infinite wisdom he replied, “When was this? Four years ago?” The people around me replied, “ No Don this happened in the last year!”

 Don heard some of the concerns and opinions of others and then had the audacity to suggest, “ We form committees to address these things.” Sounds good Don, but you rejected all the attendance committee’s ideas the last time they presented them to you remember? They refused to sign off the required paperwork because of your position. Remember? 

Don did admit that some people call in and don’t give a reason. He also admitted that management has accepted just saying your reason is personal, though I was given a verbal for job abandonment. I asked my supervisor before clocking in, if I left what would the consequences be? He told me one incident. I come back to work and find Bill ready to lynch me. Bill tries hard not to hold supervisors accountable for misleading employees. 

 Didn’t you find it interesting that Donna was there too though the office staff didn’t attend the meeting? She didn’t speak so why was she there? Perhaps Don was rewarding her with yet another lengthy break for all her hard work.. 

When will all the taking of benefits and money end? When we stand up for change. Don proved he is not in touch with the people or what goes on in this plant by his own words in his own meeting. No contract means they are not bound to anything and can change policy as they see fit. Not a good scenario for us now is it?    


              Last Thursday ( 8-12-04) we, at the Lexington Plant, were visited by a "Big Dog" from the IP Corporate HR  Dept. Some of us had hoped to have the opportunity to voice our opinions regarding local management's practices, Don Noort's practices in particular but we were avoided and ignored as usual.  

Word from the rumor mill says that the "Big Dog" left with the assumption that the only problem in Lexington is a couple of people that can't be satisfied no matter what local management does. To this I say:  Good assumption! Tony and I will never be satisfied as long as the people are ignored, avoided and pissed on by the likes of Don Noort and his minions. We can't be satisfied as long as management uses rules like "Job Abandonment" to punish employees unjustly. We can't be satisfied when some people are written up for one thing and others are not. We can't be satisfied with a plant manager who's word you cannot trust.     International Paper had a chance to make a difference at the Lexington Plant and they chose to walk away and blame everything on two people... neither of which has any control over the way this plant is run.  So, What they are saying is: No matter who gets screwed, whether it be employee or customer, lets blame it on the Union Guys! Hell, corporate will buy that, they already bought into the story that only a couple of people are dis-satisfied with Lexington's Management Policies.

I will grant you this: The local management team at Lexington is better at burying their crap than a cat with a four square mile litter box.  

We speak of Brotherhood and Unity every day and the one time it comes out of Don Noort's mouth it is twisted and warped into a sarcastic remark. I really don't expect Don to understand what those words mean to us after all, he and all of his actions have the blessing and support of an entire corporation what does he need Brotherhood and Unity for? 

Now that the much anticipated visit from corporate has proven it's self to be a farce,  it is now as it has always been...  Brotherhood and Unity is all we have.  Stand together or fall prey to one of the company's new rules they come out with on a daily basis.  

What can you do about all this? Sign your Union Petition and vote for the Union, it is the only way under the law that you can negotiate with this company to make a change for the better.    Solidarity.

Special note: To the poster that sent the Don Watch Postings that declared IP Corporate to be unaware of the way we were being treated here.  While I appreciate any and all postings, In recent days I think we and you have seen quite enough to know that is a load of crap. Please do not send any more of this propaganda as it will not be posted to these pages.    

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, Scotty P'Simer,  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: March 30, 2008.