USW Paper Workers Ratify First Master Agreement with RockTenn

Contact: Tony Montana at (412) 562-2592 or tmontana@usw.org

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that members of 61 local unions at RockTenn facilities across the country voted by a large margin to ratify their first-ever master economic and security agreement that sets wage, pension, health insurance, health and safety and other provisions for about 6,000 workers.

“Our members in the paper sector, one of our union’s largest, have made significant progress in developing a more efficient and effective process to negotiate improved contracts at RockTenn and throughout the industry,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

“The local unions worked very hard and were rewarded with a new collective bargaining agreement that provides stability for both RockTenn and its USW represented employees. Gerard said. “All parties should be commended for the hard work put into negotiating this agreement.”

USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, who oversees the union’s paper sector negotiations, said that the new, six-year contract with RockTenn will provide security for workers and their families.

“This agreement will provide increased earnings and economic peace of mind for workers at RockTenn,” Geenen said. “Imagine the confidence that could be brought to the entire economy if all working families could predict their prosperity for a half-decade while seeing their living standards improve each year.”

USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who co-chairs the union’s RockTenn negotiating committee, said that both workers and RockTenn will benefit from the ratified master agreement.

“Any agreement that includes a 13 percent wage increase for workers, improves pensions, provides a stable platform for health care and at the same time helps position our employer for continued success is a victory for everyone.”

The USW represents over 100,000 paper workers in the U.S. at over 600 separate sites. Paper mills are often situated in rural communities and provide some of the highest-quality advanced-manufacturing jobs in the country. Converting sites are generally situated closer to metropolitan areas and are known for their progressive wage and benefit packages.

Overall, the USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply, manufacturing and energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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