United Steelworkers members at Wausau Paper’s Rhinelander and Mosinee mills and the Thilmany mill in Kaukauna, have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with KPS Capital Partners in anticipation of the private equity firm purchase of those mills. A Steelworkers spokesperson says the contracts improve on some of the conditions workers have at the mills.
Union spokesperson Lynne Hancock outlines the new agreement..
"...we were able to get a four-year agreement with an improvement in wages and benefits, including one of the best-in-industry defined contribution plans for pensions..."
Hancock says both sides agreed to "neutrality" language, where both management and the union won't disparage the other should the union to organize the workers at non-union plants. She says the agreement will help local families...
"....this agreement gives a lot of job security to the workers at the mills purchased by KPS. It also spells a good future for them as KPS is willing to put investment into these mills..."
This agreement represents about 1,400 paper workers at three mills....
"....the agreement was ratified overwhelmingly. It also shows when labor and companies work together to create jobs and keep jobs in America, it's a win-win for everyone..."
De Pere is a non union mill and did not need to ratify a contract where another 400 workers are employed. When the sale is completed, the new operation will have the largest specialty paper production company in North America.