Sappi: Union Authorizes Strike
Posted at: 11/28/2012 12:00 AM
| Updated at: 11/28/2012 12:23 PM
Union members at Sappi Fine Paper's Cloquet mill have authorized a strike, according to the company. United Steelworkers union leaders were not immediately available to confirm the vote.
The company said the vote happened Tuesday and authorized union leadership to call a strike. "Even though such a vote is not uncommon, and does not mean a strike will occur, we are very disappointed in the membership’s action, given our fair and competitive contract package," said Rick Dwyer, Managing Director, Cloquet, Sappi Fine Paper North America, in a press release.
The contract covering nearly 400 workers expired about six months ago. Dozens of workers held an informational picket at the plant in October, saying the company is requesting employees pay a higher health care deductible.
"The proposal would have split our local right down the middle," said Brady Nelson, Local 1163 president, in October. "They were proposing to take some retiree benefits away from our members that had less than 15 years of service by the end of this year."
Sappi said it will fully pursue continued operation of the mill in the event of a strike. It called its offer "very competitive" and said the company's $170 million project to convert the pulp mill to specialized cellulose shows a commitment to the Cloquet facility and its employees.
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