WestRock Illegally Locks Out Union Workers

Contact: Dave Trostle at dtrostle@usw.org or 205-631-0137; Tony Montana at tmontana@usw.org or 412-562-2592

The United Steelworkers (USW) said that approximately 480 members of its local unions 971, 1471 and 1972 were locked out of their jobs by management at WestRock’s Mahrt Mill on Thursday after management’s persistent refusal during months of negotiations to bargain in good faith for a fair contract.

WestRock management turned away workers from their jobs when they reported for their scheduled shifts on Thursday, initiating the labor dispute against its own employees.

“In its drive to force workers into overtime without fair compensation for time spent away from their families, WestRock has shown that it is willing to break federal labor laws,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo. “The essential, experienced union workforce that kept the mill running through the pandemic cannot be treated as expendable, and the USW will follow up with the National Labor Relations Board.”

Flippo called on the company to stop trying to bully union workers into accepting the company’s unfair demands and negotiate in good faith for a fair contract.

“WestRock must be made accountable for its decision to hold hostage our jobs, families and community over issues that should be resolved through collective bargaining,” Flippo said. “Management needs to end this lockout immediately, return these workers to their jobs and commit to resolving our differences at the table to ensure our members have a proper work-life balance. All workers deserve this.”

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

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222