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July 16, 2019

Sappi workers agree to new contracts, wage increases

sappi mill File Photo / Courtesy of Sappi Sappi North America Inc., whose Somerset Mill in Skowhegan is shown here, has agreed to contracts with three union locals representing over 70 employees at its Westbrook mill.

Members of three unions at the Westbrook paper mill of Sappi North America Inc. have voted to ratify three-year contracts that include pay raises and better benefits.

The new contracts were approved by members of IBEW Local 2233, Machinists’ Union (IAM) Local 2287, and Firemen and Oilers (IBFO) Local 3, according to a news release Tuesday from the unions. Each local represents about two dozen Sappi employees.

Union leaders said the negotiations were collaborative, productive and quick, since both the workers and the company shared an interest in recruiting and retaining a well-trained workforce.

The contracts run through June 2022 and include:

  • wage increases of 3% in the first year, 2.25% in the second year and 2.5% in the third year; 
  • additional pension contributions;
  • new provisions that recognize years of service for benefits and vacation for employees who severed employment and have returned to work; and
  • improvements to disability insurance.

“I feel really good about this contract. We got a good raise, improved pensions and benefits for new hires and rehires,” said Jim Marshall, president of the IBEW local.

“I’ve been president of this local since 1986 and this one is one of the best ones we’ve negotiated. Both sides acted professionally and the process went really smoothly.”

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