Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

November 15, 2019

Woodland Pulp workers in four unions ratify contracts

Sen. Angus King, dressed in a safety vest and hard hat talks to half a dozen similarly dressed me in a production area. Courtesy / Office of U.S. Sen. Angus King Workers at Woodland Pulp LLC in Baileyville have ratified three- and four-year contracts. U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, right, talks to workers at the pulp mill last year.

New labor contacts affecting nearly 300 employees of Woodland Pulp LLC in Baileyville will strengthen rules specific to separate trades and also provide pay increases for trades and production workers at the plant, union leaders said.

Trades and production workers in four unions ratified contracts last month, according to a news release from the unions. The mill, which is just north of Calais on the St. Croix River, produces St. Croix Hardwood, a type of pulp made from locally sourced wood, which is sold to paper makers globally, as well as to its affiliate company, St. Croix Tissue.

The trades contract is for four years with separate rules and job classifications for each trade, as opposed to adopting the same rules for all under the previous contract, according to a news release from the unions.

The contract covers members of the International  Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1490 (66 workers), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1057 (55 workers), Millwrights Local 1121 (23 workers), as well as the firemen and oilers who work at the pulp mill.

Workers covered by the trades contract will get raises of 2%, 2.5%, 3% and 2.5% over four years. Health insurance and retirement benefits will remain the same, and there are also small improvements on shift differentials, the release said.

United Steelworkers Local 27 represents 125 production workers at the pulp mill and negotiated a three-year contract. The production workers will receive pay raises of 2%, 2.5% and 3%. Small improvements were made on on shift differentials and health insurance will remain the same.

The agreements were ratified on Oct. 22 and are effective retroactively to Sept. 1.

Smooth negotiation process

"The negotiations went very smoothly," said IAM 1490 labor representative George Edwards in the  release. "All of the unions came together to work for the same goal and supported each other through the whole thing.

“Working people deserve a fair shake of the wealth that we create," he said. "These were solid raises and a good step forward because the last couple contracts were much lower. As lead negotiator, I was proud of the team for sticking together and staying strong.”

Josh Kinney, president of IAM Local 1490, said the contracts strengthen the core trades "quite a bit."

"That was a huge thing for us," he said. "The guys are pretty proud of their trades, so it’s good that we got that language a little better written in the contract.”

Union leaders credited the company for negotiating in good faith and working well with the bargaining team. Woodland Pulp management wasn't immediately available for comment Friday morning.

“This  contract is one of the better ones I’ve had in a while in terms of the interaction with the company,” said Zachary Middleton, council representative for Millwrights Local 1121. “It was a very fair negotiation, and for the most part we walked away with something that we feel happy about. All and all I think it was a fair contract.”

Shawn Howland, president of United Steelworkers Local 27 representing production workers, said he is happy about how things worked out. "We knew exactly what the increase needed to be to keep us in line with the rest of the industry.

"We’re now exactly where everyone else is,” he said. “This is my third set of negotiations and by far it was the most civil and calm. The company didn’t come after things this time. We didn’t have any banging of the tables or kicking of the chairs. It just went really well.”

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF