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Paper workers accept previously rejected terms.

Paper workers accept previously rejected terms

In Camden, AR, members of three local unions of the United Paperworkers and one local of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers approved a 5-year contract with International Paper Co. The contract provided for 2-percent pay raises in February of 1989 and 1990 for most employees (lump-sum and/or wage increases for some employees), $750 or $1,000 lump-sum payments in February 1991 for all employees, and 2-percent wage increases in February 1992 and 1993 for all employees.

Other terms included reductions in Sunday premium pay, greater company flexibility in assigning work, and adoption of a 401 (k) savings plan.

Union officials said they were not satisfied with the terms but, according to one official, accepted them because "that was all there was for us." The terms were essentially the same as those in an offer International Paper made in February 1988, when the prior agreement expired. Since then, the employees have worked under contract extensions.

Meanwhile, the United Paperworkers union was continuing a corporate campaign to pressure International Paper to end its drive to cut labor costs at various plants by such measures as reducing Sunday premium pay and broadening job assignments. The campaign began during bitter work stoppages at several plants; the stoppages ended in 1988 when the workers voted to return to work, but the campaign continued. (See Monthly Labor Review, November 1988, pp. 47--48.) Recently, a union ally, the Laborers, withdrew $200 million from a bank subsidiary of PNC Financial Corp. because an International Paper executive was a member of the bank's board of directors.

Also in the papermaking industry, Westvaco Corp. and United Paperworkers locals in Luke, NC, and Covington, VA, agreed to extend their existing contract for 3 years, to December 1, 1992.

Contract terms included a $300 bonus for immediate ratification; 2.5-percent wage increases in December of 1989, 1990, and 1991; $1 increases in the monthly pension rate for each year of service, effective in April of 1990 and 1991; and a $1,000 increase in life insurance and a $5 increase in weekly sickness and accident benefits in each of the 3 years of the extended contract.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:column
Date:Jun 1, 1989
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