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Latest News - August 2010

August 05, 2010
Longview Fibre union approves strike
Source: Portland Business Journal
By: ERIK SIEMERS staff writer

The union representing more than 700 workers at Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging Inc. has voted to authorize a strike, saying the Southwest Washington paper manufacturer’s offers have been “very inadequate.”

The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Local 153 voted on the strike issue on July 26 and 27, with 70 percent of its members casting a vote. According to a report in the Longview Daily News, only three no-votes were cast.

“They’re in the negotiations and the local bargaining board felt that the offers are certainly very inadequate,” Gregory A. Pallesen, vice president of the Portland-based labor union, told the Business Journal on Thursday.

The vote doesn’t mean the workers are on strike, but it gives the union the right to call one should talks falter.

The local represents about 730 hourly employees at the company’s Longview, Wash.-based paper mill and box-making plant, said company spokeswoman Sarah Taydas. The company employs a total of 1,700.

The union employees are still working under the terms of their previous four-year contract, which expired May 31.

Taydas said negotiations with the union began May 3.

“Longview is dedicated to the bargaining process and to finding an outcome that includes a competitive total compensation package,” Taydas said. “By doing that, it will support our long-term vision of making the company a competitive and viable business in the future.”

Longview Fibre has been heavily downsized since it was acquired three years ago for $1.65 billion by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. Since the deal closed, the company has cut about 700 workers.

The company has said cost-cutting measures were necessary to keep the business afloat.

Longview Fibre’s paper-making business, which had generated more than $45 million in annual operating losses, is now profitable, despite lower revenue.



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