WPPA union at K-C's pulp, tissue mill in Everett, Washington, agrees to five-year labor contract with prospective buyer Atlas Holdings; agreement contains 'significant concessions,' saves 300 jobs at mill with 750 workers

LOS ANGELES , November 1, 2011 () – A five-year labor agreement has been approved by the union at Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s pulp and tissue mill in Everett, Washington, should Atlas Holdings LLC buy the facility, reported The Herald on Oct. 31.

The agreement contains “significant concessions" by the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (WPPA) union, but saves about 300 of the mill’s jobs, said Josh Estes, president of WPPA Local 183 on Monday.

The mill is an integrated pulp and tissue manufacturing operation with about 750 workers, he said.

Recently, Dallas, Texas-based K-C said it would close the mill if it isn’t sold by the end of this year, according to the article, which was carried on HeraldNet.com.

Atlas has not agreed to acquire the mill and the union vote doesn’t guarantee a sale, but ratification of the labor contract “is a critical step toward a successful sale,” said Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Washington.

The negotiations are an indication of “how serious” Atlas is in buying the mill, he said, The Herald reported. Atlas is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Atlas, which has been talking with union members and inspecting the operation, would start the mill with about 250 union employees working on an hourly basis and about 50 managers, said Estes.

The union labor agreement was negotiated during two weeks of exclusive talks between Atlas and WPPA locals 183 and 644, and subsequently ratified by 80.8% of the membership, reported The Herald.

The primary source of this article is The Herald, Everett, Washington, on Oct. 31, 2011.

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