WestRock union workers accept new contract offer

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 10:30 AM EST
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RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - Good news for hundreds of workers at a Russell County paper mill.

Union representatives and workers officially accepted a contract with the WestRock Paper Mill after a a labor dispute that started in early October.

Hundreds of union workers who dedicated many years to the mill are glad an agreement was made…but they will never forget the struggle of the four-month process.

The labor dispute centering around long work hours and overtime pay at WestRock Paper Mill has been resolved as of Tuesday. Hourly workers had been on strike since October of last year.

Over 400 workers were left without jobs and fighting for what they call a fair contract with the company.

“They’ve done away with the time and a half for Sunday…Sunday obviously doesn’t hold any importance to them,” said union worker Patrick Vickers.

Here is what the final contract agreement came down to:

  • Each worker will receive a $1.50 hourly raise
  • A $7,500 dollar one-time bonus
  • An added 1 percent of 100 percent company match into the employee’s 401(k) account.

This was the fourth contract the company offered union workers before finally coming to an agreement.

“There was one offer that was a little bit better than this one but still had wording in it that we didn’t really like. Just being able to come to an agreement and go back to work and being able to make money like we used to… I think it will work out,” said union worker Eddie Ubanks.

Overall, despite the long journey to get to this point, union workers agree - they’d do it all again.

“You know to get to what you feel is right, I think we did that and we set a precedence on what mill workers do in time... yeah I think it’s pretty fair but I would do it again,” said union worker Cliff Crouch.