Members of the United Steelworkers Union ratified a five-year master global agreement with Packaging Corporation of America. The contract covers over 1,200 workers at paper mills in Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
"This global agreement is the latest example of how we are moving national paper bargaining forward and making a difference on behalf of our members in the industry," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "This type of agreement not only helps provide economic and job security for our members, it creates a more positive relationship between the union and the company."
Upon expiration of the local union contract, wages are increased 2.5% the first and second years, 2.75% the third year and 3% each of the remaining two years, and the defined benefit pension is increased $6 per year of service immediately. There is also a provision for 401(k) loans. The current health care plan and premium contributions are locked in for the life of the current and next local union agreements.
"One of the key achievements of this global agreement was locking in a very quality health care plan and current percentages on premium contributions to keep health care costs from escalating for the PCA mill workers," said Leeann Anderson, PCA bargaining chair. "Too many employers today are shifting the burden of increasing health care costs onto their employees, but the PCA mill workers will know stability on this important issue through at least 2013 and for some mills all the way until 2015."
All local union contracts immediately have a successorship clause in case a facility is sold. There is employment security language to secure union work. For members who are laid off there is preferential hiring for them if they transfer to other mills seeking workers.
The USW is the largest manufacturing union in North America, representing more than 850,000 members, including about 130,000 paper workers.
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