Packaging Corp. of America, USW, Ratify Four-year Labor Deal at Box Plants

June 24, 2013 (Press Release) - The United Steelworkers (USW) [June 20] said that its members have ratified a four-year master global economic and security agreement by an overwhelming margin with Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) that covers over 1,900 workers at 25 box plants across the country.

The global agreement sets key economic and security terms and stipulates that during local bargaining, no changes can be made to existing local agreements except as mutually agreed by the local union and the company, while fixing the term of those local contracts at four years.

"This second global agreement further solidifies coordinated bargaining in the industry and with PCA," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "It provides economic and job security for our members and a platform for a positive relationship between the USW and companies like PCA that are committed to manufacturing in North America."

On expiration of each local union contract, wages will increase 2.5 percent the first and second years, 2 percent the third year and 2.5 percent the final year. The agreement also improves retirement security, vacation provisions, the dental plan and adds a vision program. The current health care plan and premium contributions are locked in for the life of the current and next local union agreements.

"One of the key achievements of this global agreement was locking in our high quality health care plan and maintaining current percentages on premium contributions to keep health care costs from escalating for the PCA box plant workers," said Leeann Foster, Assistant to the International President and PCA bargaining chair. "Unfortunately, health care insecurity is too often the norm in today's workplaces, but the USW PCA box plant workers will know stability on this important issue through at least 2017 and at some locations until 2019."

All local union contracts will continue their contract protection clause in case a facility is sold. There is also improved organizing language that showcases the relationship between the USW and PCA at both an international and local level.

"With continuing consolidation in the industry, contract protection provisions are especially important, and USW PCA workers will continue to know that their jobs won't be affected if a facility is sold. The organizing language will assist us in improving our union density in the converter sector of this industry," said USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, who oversees bargaining in the paper sector.

Later this summer, the USW, local affiliates and PCA will enter negotiations for a master global economic and security agreement that covers workers at the company's four mill operations.

The USW is the largest manufacturing union in North America, representing more than 850,000 members, including about 130,000 paper workers.

PCA is a manufacturer of containerboard and corrugated packaging.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)