Updated: Teamsters ratify new contract with Blandin, strike is over

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Teamsters who work for UPM Blandin in Grand Rapids have ratified a new labor contract with the company, which means the strike is over.

Union leaders met with the members at a meeting at 12pm on Friday in Grand Rapids.

“We had a fairly successful day and a half of mediation yesterday, and a half day before that. Our committee thought it was time to get guidance from our members. So we brought them the offer, which they narrowly approved,” shared Jeff Oveson, Teamsters Local 346 president.

He acknowledge that not everyone will be happy with this. But he added, “Nobody wins when there is a strike.”

On Thursday afternoon, the company announced they had reached a tentative agreement for a 3-year labor contract with respect to the mill’s 166 hourly employees. 

Members had been on strike since July 15th.

They are now on layoff status, as the mill waits for new orders.

UPM Blandin sent a statement on Friday afternoon. It calls out some specifics of the contract, like year over year wage increases, and increases to shift differential. It also provides benefit enhancements in areas including paid time off and health savings account contributions.

“Together we reached an agreement on the issues that are important to our employees and helps position our mill for the future,” said UPM Blandin General Manager Scott Juidici. “We value our employees and look forward to their return to work.  We’re now focused on restarting operations in a safe and efficient manner.”