IP settles six-year master agreements with USW members at 18 paper mills and 53 other locations in North America; USW International president says the two agreements, each for mills and converting operations, 'set a mark for the rest of the industry'

PITTSBURGH , June 5, 2014 (press release) – The United Steelworkers Union (USW) announced today that International Paper (IP) mill and converter members ratified master agreements.

The six-year mill master agreement that workers ratified in April, covers 18 IP mills and over 6,000 workers. The six-year converter master agreement that workers ratified the end of May covers 53 IP locations and over 2,800 workers.

“International Paper is our largest bargaining partner in the paper sector and these two agreements demonstrate the quality of the relationship with IP and set a mark for the rest of the industry,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “These agreements build on the legacy of family-supporting union jobs in both urban and rural communities throughout the country.”

“This agreement recognizes the level of engagement of our members at USW IP sites,” said USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, who heads the union’s paper sector. “The strength of our local union leadership has enabled us to continue making progress in an economy and industry that has seen significant challenges.”

The master agreements cover wages, benefits and overall working conditions, such as health and safety. Local issues pertaining to each facility are negotiated at the local level between the local unions and management.

“The mill and converter master agreements are another substantial step forward,” said USW Secretary Treasurer Stan Johnson. “These agreements provide our members earnings, benefit and retirement protections throughout the term of the agreement and should provide for stable, secure and efficient operations going forward for both USW members and International Paper.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors, with some 100,000 employed in the paper and pulp industry. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

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