AWPPW rejects Georgia-Pacific / Koch Industries concessionary contract proposal

Workers at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Camas, Washington, voted overwhelmingly to reject their employer’s contract offer and authorize a strike, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) announced Aug. 9.

The rejected company proposal would have created a “two-tier” compensation structure giving future employees lower wages and benefits than current employees. Under the proposal, new employees would not be eligible for the defined benefit pension plan, would have reduced vacation pay, fewer holidays, wages about 20 percent below current workers, and no general wage increases.

Current employees would get annual wage increases averaging just 1 percent under the rejected proposal. It would replace current health care plans with plans that reduce benefits and have high deductibles. AWPPW said the proposal also would allow for contracting out of all work, maintenance and production.

The concession-seeking proposal comes as Georgia-Pacific is making record profits for parent company Koch Industries, AWPPW said.

Georgia-Pacific and AWPPW Local 5 have been in contract negotiations for over three years, and their most recent labor agreement expired May 31, 2014.

AWPPW says customers like Walmart, Costco, Staples, and Kroger’s would be affected if a labor dispute arises at the Georgia-Pacific facility, which produces printer paper and paper towels.

The union and the company were scheduled to meet again on Aug. 16.

AWPPW is affiliated with the United Brotherhood of the Carpenters & Joiners of America.

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