Everett Unions Ratify Contract…Kimberly Clark – Atlas Sale Moves Closer

October 31, 2011

Everett Economy, Everett Jobs

Just got this in from the Unions representing workers at Kimberly Clark’s Everett Plant…

In a serious effort to find and secure a buyer for the Kimberly Clark Mill in Everett, the affiliated locals 183 & 644 of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) and Atlas Holdings LLC have come to an agreement on a 5 year labor agreement that will take effect if and when Atlas is able to acquire the Everett facility.

Atlas indicated in September that a new labor agreement going forward would be required for them to make a serious offer on the facility as the current labor agreement did not provide them with the flexibility they believe is required for them to be successful going forward.

After two weeks of negotiations and significant concessions by the union, a tentative offer was reached on October 26, 2011 at 3:00am pending a ratification vote of the current membership of both locals. The vote passed in favor of a new labor agreement with an 80.8% margin.

The union has worked hard for the last half century to secure many of the things that we ended up parting with in this negotiation. The union also recognizes that starting this facility up as a going concern with a new labor agreement and an initial potential of 250 hourly employees gives this community the best chance at keeping family wage jobs on the Everett waterfront.

The union has done everything possible to overcome this critical hurdle in the sales process, and now it is in the hands of Atlas and Kimberly Clark to come to terms on an agreement that gives us a fighting chance here in Everett. 

The Unions had to make some serious concessions and not all employees will keep their jobs if the sale closes.

Josh Estes, President of Local 183 had this reaction.

“The thought of losing 690 family wage jobs in this economy makes me sick, but the thought of not doing everything possible to give 250 of those families a chance at a decent income and good benefits makes me even sicker.  We did the right thing here, even though it was tough, it was the right thing to do.”

David Herrera, President of Local 644 made these comments.

“It has been my privilege to work with some of the hardest working people around, we have shown that we are adaptable to change and we have proven it by passing this contract and we look forward to facing whatever the future holds “

Here’s the reaction from Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.

“Ratification of this contract is a good step toward the possibility that Kimberly-Clark Corp and Atlas can come to a purchase and sale agreement for the facility on the Everett waterfront,” Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said. “The employees have shown their willingness and commitment to keep the mill open and preserve as many jobs as possible.”

Atlas and Kimberly Clark have been in exclusive negotiations over the sale of the mill since the first of October.

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