Sappi union workers in Cloquet authorize possible strike

Cloquet, Minnesota. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Union workers at the Sappi paper mill in Cloquet, Minnesota, have authorized a possible labor strike.

Sappi leaders tell WDIO News the company’s most recent three-year contract offer included wage increases, retirement plan improvements and a signing bonus, but according to WDIO a majority of the 150 union workers represented by the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers Union turned down the company’s offer and have voted to authorize a potential strike.

Peter Steele of Sappi Corporate Communications is quoted as saying:

 “We are disappointed that a majority of the approximately 150 Cloquet mill employees voted to reject our proposal and authorize a strike. Sappi’s proposal contains a number of significant improvements for our employees, including very competitive pay and benefits, enhancements to the retirement plan, an extremely generous signing bonus and wage increases over the three year life of the contract, which is almost unprecedented in our industry in recent years.”

Last year Sappi announced plans to convert the existing kraft pulp mill from making pulp to production of chemical cellulose. In June, ground was broken on the $170 million project.

The conversion project is expected to be completed in June.