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Paperworkers settlements.

Members of United Paperworkers Local 900 in Rumford, ME, agreed to a 6-year contract with Boise-Cascade Corp. that terminates premium pay for non-overtime weekend work, effective in 1994. The settlement apparently was influenced by the unsuccessful 16-month strike against International Paper Co. plants in Jay, ME, and other locations where similar changes were the focus of the dispute. A union member in Jay contended the Boise-Cascade employees were prompted to settle early and accept costreducing contract changes because only about 25 of the 1,200 strikers at Jay's International Paper mill had been recalled since the strike ended in October 1988. (See Monthly Labor Review, January 1989, p. 32, for a description of the strikes and the contract settlement that ended a lockout at International Paper's Mobile, AL, mills.)

The Boise-Cascade agreement, scheduled to take effect when the current agreement expires June 30, 1989, also provides for:

* elimination of a 1-day paid shutdown on Christmas Day, effective in 1990;

* employee assumption of some health insurance costs;

* changes in work rules and seniority provisions beneficial to the company;

* a $3,000 lump-sum payment to each employee in the first year;

* 2-percent wage increases in the second and third years, followed by 2-percent increases in each of the final 3 years; these amounts could be raised depending on the "industry standard" at the time; and

* improvements in dental, life, and sickness and accident benefits.

The 6-year contract indicated a movement toward longer term contracts in the industry, contrasting the 2or 3-year contracts that prevailed in the past. At the time of the Boise-Cascade settlement, International Paper reportedly was seeking a 6-year contract at its Ticonderoga, NY, mill. The locked-out employees at International Paper's Mobile, AL, mill also accepted a 6-year contract, enabling them to return to work.

Elsewhere, members of United Paperworkers locals 1148 and 1140 settled with International Paper's Texarkana, AR, mill. An official at Local 1149 said the 3-year contract was accepted "reluctantly -by a narrow margin."

The new contract, running to November 30, 1991, provides for:

* immediate lump-sum payments ranging from $500 to $1,100, varying by job classification;

* an immediate 25-cent-an-hour wage increase to 440 production employees to compensate for the termination of weekend premium pay under the 1985 accord (about 130 mechanics and machine operators did not receive the increase);

* 2-percent general wage increases in the second and third years; and

* a new savings plan, permitting employees to invest up to 4 percent of their earnings, with the company matching half of the amount.

Prior to the settlement, International Paper hadannounced it would invest $100 million in the plant to increase output of bleached paperboard.
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Mar 1, 1989
Previous Article:Arbitrator sets wage award for textile workers.
Next Article:Philadelphia grocery store workers get 1 - year contract.

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