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United Steelworkers (USW) members at four paper mill sites in Calhoun, Tennessee, Catawba, South Carolina, Coosa Pines, Alabama, and Augusta, Georgia, overwhelmingly ratified by a 4 to 1 margin a master agreement with Resolute Forest Products, a producer of newsprint and specialty and coated paper.

The 5 year master agreement covers 1,500 members in 7 USW local unions. It also impacts mill workers who are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinkler Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada (UA).

The contract improves wages in each of the five years of the master agreement, secures high-quality health care and ensures the Resolute mills continue to be the most efficient plants.

This second-generation master agreement builds upon the first one negotiated four years ago when AbitibiBowater Inc. was undergoing bankruptcy. AbitibiBowater now does business as Resolute Forest Products. The USW negotiated the first master agreement as part of a strategy to enable Resolute to successfully complete its reorganization and emerge from creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Protection Act in Canada and chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 2010. 

Published in the March 2014 Edition of American Recycler News