West Coast pulp and paper workers settle Essay

Employees of three West Coast paper companies agreed to a 32-month
contract containing terms the companies had unilaterally put into effect
a month earlier, after a rejection by the workers. About 4,600 workers
are covered by the settlement between the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers and the Pulp and Paper Bargaining Council, comprising
Georgia-Pacific Corp., Boise Cascade Corp., and Weyerhaeuser Co. Based
on past practice, the settlement was expected to influence the
bargaining outcome for 9,500 employees of other West Coast firms where
40 contracts had expired. The union also represents 4,000 workers in
the area whose contracts expire in 1985.

Wage terms included a $1,000 immediate lump-sum payment to each
worker, a 4-percent wage increase in the second year, and a 4.5-percent
increase in the last year.

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There were provisions for improvements in pension and life
insurance benefits, as well as changes designed to hold down cost
increases in the medical insurance plan. Also, workers will now pay
part of their medical costs. Beginning January 1, 1985, they will pay
an annual deductible of $75 per person up to $150 per family, with the
respective figures rising to $150 and $300 in 1986. They will be
subject to coinsurance payments of 20 percent of medical costs, up to
$750 per person and $1,500 per family in 1985, rising to $1,000 and
$2,000, respectively, in 1986.

The union also agreed to an employer proposal to eliminate
mandatory shutdowns of operations on Christmas and Independence Day.
This gives the company more operating flexibility and eliminates the
expense of restarting production.


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