In ballots counted Oct. 26, Greg Pallesen won election as president of Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW).
AWPPW, headquartered in Portland, represents 4,500 workers at pulp and paper mills in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Virginia. Formerly independent, it’s now an autonomous division of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. It’s a union that’s been hit hard by the steep decline of the pulp and paper industry in the Pacific Northwest.
Pallesen, 61, has been vice president and political director at AWPPW for 13 years. He’s an outspoken critic of NAFTA-style trade policy, which he holds responsible for multiple closures of pulp and paper mills.
Pallesen first became a member of AWPPW Local 580 in 1986, as an electrician at Weyerhaeuser’s Longview pulp and paper mill. That mill was sold earlier this year to Japan Nippon Paper Industries.
In the race for president, Pallesen outpolled AWPPW Local 153 president Kurt Gallow, a millwright at the Kapstone paper mill in Longview.
Pallesen succeeds John Rhodes, who’s retiring after 14 years as president.
Members also elected a new vice president, Bill Spring of Local 5 in Camas, Washington; a new secretary-treasurer, Rick Craft of Local 747 in Nampa, Idaho; and area reps, relief reps and trustees. All new officers will be sworn in to five-year terms at the union’s Jan. 26 general membership meeting.