IP Lexington Plant Union Homepage 

International Paper   Lexington, Kentucky


Updated : 09-20-07



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United Steelworkers At 14 International Paper Mills Overwhelmingly Vote To Approve First Master Contract In 25 Years


For Immediate Release                                           August 24, 2007


PITTSBURGH -- Members of the United Steelworkers at 14 mills owned by International Paper, the largest producer in the industry, voted overwhelmingly yesterday to approve a four-year master agreement that improves wages and benefits and secures jobs with a successorship clause.


“The overwhelming support for this agreement shows how united our members are in pursuing master agreements in the paper industry,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said after learning the results.


“Now our focus will turn to getting a master agreement for the IP converters,” he added, referring to the IP plants where paper is converted into other products, such as cardboard.


Under the agreement, steelworkers’ wages and health and retirement benefits will improve, but they also receive job protection from a successorship clause, which is particularly significant in the volatile paper industry.


The successorship provision says that if IP sells a mill, it will as part of that sales agreement require the new owner to retain current workers, recognize the union, and honor the collective bargaining agreement until expiration. It allows a new owner room for work force reduction, but that must occur under the seniority terms within the contract.


“Successorship clauses protect workers from the unconscionable behavior of corporations that sell a mill, then disregard both the union and the collective bargaining agreement and summarily fire hundreds of people who have dedicated their lives to work there,” Gerard said.


The master agreement provides current IP workers with virtually the highest monthly pension multiplier in the industry at $50 for all years of service. In addition, this contract provides all workers with a high quality PPO health care plan that IP cannot arbitrarily alter, as it could previously. IP will pay increasingly larger shares of the premium costs over the life of the four-year agreement, with the goal of 80 percent at the end.


In addition, IP will for the first time ever make lump sum payments into a fund for any worker who was at least age 50 at the time of the ratification to help them pay for early retirement health insurance premiums. In addition, workers who pay $80 into that fund a month themselves will see the company double those dollars.


Under this agreement, IP workers will receive two percent pay increase on the expiration date of their local contract and on the second anniversary. They will also get $1,000 lump sum payments on the first and third anniversaries.


The USW represents 150,000 workers in the North American paper industry. Overall, it has more than 850,000 members in a wide array of industries throughout the U.S. and Canada.




We received this information some time ago and were asked to keep it quiet until given permission to post it. There is much more to come on this story and we will bring it to you firsthand either through this website or in the form of handouts personally given to you by this committee.  We will be voicing our own takes on this monumental occurrence in the very near future.  Marcus Bryant

United Steelworkers, International Paper Reach Groundbreaking

Tentative Agreement Covering 14 Mills

Local presidents unanimously endorse first master contract with IP in 25 years

PITTSBURGH -- The United Steelworkers announced today that the union has reached an understanding on the first master agreement with International Paper in 25 years, one that would improve wages and benefits and provide job security across 14 mills owned by the largest paper producer in the industry. The agreement also contains successorship language to protect Steelworkers’ jobs if IP sells a mill and maintains wages and benefits that support the mill communities.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard said, “This tentative master agreement is a clear step forward by both the USW and the largest player in the paper industry. The successorship commitment represents a mature view of the volatile business climate in this industry and a fair and reasonable commitment by IP to its workers.”

Local unions present at a meeting in Nashville on Friday unanimously endorsed the tentative agreement.

USW Vice President Richard LaCosse, who led the Steelworker bargaining team, told the local

presidents, “The paper industry has resisted reaching master agreements with our union. Through a progressive approach with IP, we were able to address issues affecting both parties and the paper industry itself and set an example for the rest of the industry. The final voice, of course, belongs to our members, who will be voting on the agreement shortly.”

Workers will receive details of the proposed contract in the mail this week and are scheduled to vote on it Aug. 23. Results will be available Aug. 24.

The USW represents 150,000 members in the North American paper industry. Overall, it represents more than 850,000 workers in a wide array of industries throughout the U.S. and Canada.



I located a few questions and answers on one of  the AFL-CIO's Websites called "Working America"  that I thought were easy to relate to our employment situation and our undeniable need for proper legal representation.  These questions are answered voluntarily by the attorneys listed at the bottom of each reply. Be sure to follow the link under the answer and read all the Q&A's They are quite informative and eye opening.   If you wish to check the credentials of any of the attorneys answering these questions, click their names to see their bio.


My company has what they call "objectives" that have to be met in order to maintain your job. There have been many changes in the working conditions that make these objectives more & more difficult to reach. Can management do this?



Absent a collective bargaining agreement between your union and the company, the employer has broad authority to regulate your working conditions as long as these changes are not based on such protected factors as age, sex, race and disability. A union contract, on the other hand, is a binding agreement which covers "wages, hours, and working conditions." The company with a union contract cannot, on its own, change working conditions which are identified in the collective bargaining agreement. If it does, charges could be filed with the National Labor Relations Board, or a grievance could be filed. The impact of changes in working conditions not listed in the collective bargaining agreement, must be bargained with the union. For example, if the collective bargaining agreement has an hourly rate established for employees, and the company is now saying the employees have to produce a certain number or amount of products to receive that hourly rate, that is a change in working conditions to be negotiated with the union.


This response provided by Joseph L. Allotta of Allotta, Farley & Widman CO., L.P.A.

More (Very Good) Attorney Answered Questions Linked Here>


IP Hall of Shame updated 5-27-07 >

5-26-07 Question from inside the plant


I saw in the news that the Terre Haute Mill is being shut down, and another 100+ union jobs lost forever.  Tell me again how a union in the Lexington plant is going to make us more competitive and prevent our jobs from reaching the same fate as our co-workers from Terre Haute.

 And Answered

Union status of the workforce has no bearing on a plant staying open or closing. For management to say otherwise is a violation of Federal Law.

You read the news release so you saw where Dennis Colley, vice president and general manager of International Paper's containerboard business announced that  salaried employees would receive severance pay and benefits, and the company would bargain the effects of the closure with the union. If we were being closed, I would rather have a Union and a contractual agreement guarding my best interest rather than depending on the generosity and compassion of a corporation that just eliminated my job because of profit considerations. 

As far as being competitive... the only competition I'm interested in involves hourly people being able to feed and provide better for their families. It is a fact that management will take whatever steps necessary to up profits and increase their ability to compete... up to and including eliminating 100+ hourly working people's jobs... people  just like us.  And God only knows haw bad I wish I had an answer for that.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our old friends at the Terre Haute Mill.
Marcus Bryant

Shareholders Send Message to IP Board of Directors!  Full story Here > 

A New Feature!!

We will be offering a bulk e-mail notification service to anyone wishing to be formally notified anytime we update these pages. We are also working on a e-newspaper / e-report that will contain constantly updating information about this facility. This is an exciting project for us and we feel this new avenue of information delivery will be extremely convenient for our readers.

This is a great opportunity for you to stay in the know about the conditions of our working environment and our continuing efforts to bring fairness and democracy to our workplace! Click the following link and enter your e-mail address and we will add you to our list!

Note; We have several e-mail addresses from a previous mailing we did it is our intentions to leave them active. If you feel you are receiving our information in error, we will be glad to remove your name from our mailing list. Simply contact us via the address you wish cancelled and we will remove it right away.




One of our most popular pages of all time has been the Employee Commentaries Pages where you, the people who work in this plant, are allowed to voice your concerns and complaints with and about the way things are going in our workplace. Here, on these pages, you do not have to fear retribution from management when you speak your mind because your name is never revealed to anyone.  These pages were so popular in fact, we are bringing them back to the forefront of our organizing efforts.

One of the main reasons they were so popular was the fact we will not and have not ever revealed anyone's name that has posted to our pages without their permission. 

I hear quite a few of you bringing up valid points of discrimination, favoritism, and blatant harassment perpetrated against you by management.  These are issues that everyone should and will know about. Our new management team has chosen to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to these occurrences because it does not "inconvenience" them in any real manner. I think it is time to turn a bright light onto these issues and see just how long their shadows really cast. 

We invite you to share your thoughts on favoritism shown through preferential treatment and special favors in this plant.  Tell everyone how supervisors and other members of management talk to you when "no one else is listening." Put into words how you feel when you are disciplined and others "slide by" like they are charmed.  Let us know and then we will let you know how to put a legal halt to all this nonsense through collective bargaining

Use the "Contact Form" Link to the left to post any and all commentaries. Please observe the rules posted on this page.

Kentucky Chapter Workplace Safety News


Solidarity to our Brothers and Sisters in San Antonio, Texas. The Lone Star State! 

The principals of brotherhood and unity are not forgotten so long as there are people who are willing to stand for the greater good against what may seem to be insurmountable odds and the scorn of those who would seek to strip us of the common labor rights of all American Working People.

Those who chose to allow their rights to be taken or chose to remain silent as their rights or the rights of those around them are violated will soon find themselves subservient to a system that worships money and profits as its governing force. Such a system devalues the human element of manufacturing as merely a means to achieve an end. 

Working people have very little they can depend on besides each other. To turn your back as one of your own people is victimized begins a cycle in which you will have to keep turning until you come face to face with your own persecution. Who will stand for you and by you then? Just a few thoughts from M.B.


This network is created and managed by Marcus Bryant & Tony Bellamy   with the sole intentions of exercising their  legal right to organize for the  purpose of collective bargaining. 
Your in-plant organizing committee is: Tony Bellamy,  Roger "3 O'clock" Clark,  Roy "Daddy" Cates,  Dennis "The Enforcer" Brannock,  James Davenport,  Greg Pelfrey,  Jim Rohr,  Shane Nolan,   Quentin Gay,  Tommy Wells,  Brian Hill,  Rodney Clem,  Hugh Reed, Emery "The Big E" Addison, Scotty P'Simer,  Derek Webb And Marcus Bryant.  

We serve notice to all that, under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, we are participating in a Federally Protected Activity to organize the workforce of International Paper Lexington for the purpose of collective bargaining.   Any and all of the contents of this website is used, exclusively,  for that stated purpose. No other meaning should be assigned or implied to said content. By Federal Law, any misrepresentation or alteration of the original copyrighted material  contained in this website is forbidden.  


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Copyright © 2002 International Paper Lexington Plant Union Homepage.

Last modified: September 19, 2007.