IAM wood, pulp and paper workers are doubling down on efforts to organize their industry and grow bargaining power.
Two more organizers will be added to the Woodworkers Department, International President Robert Martinez Jr. announced at the 2019 IAM Wood, Pulp and Paper Council Conference this week in Biloxi, MS.
The council also created a voluntary organizing committee that will bring together IAM wood, pulp and paper workers from across the country to identify and launch organizing campaigns.
“I want each and every one of you to know how important this sector is to our union,” said Martinez. “Myself and this Executive Council are committed to giving you all of the resources you need to succeed.”
The Southern Territory previously committed two members of its staff, Grand Lodge Representative Bobby Barnwell and Special Representative Craig Martin, to assist wood, pulp and paper workers in negotiating and organizing.
“The wood, pulp and paper industry is growing in the South and the IAM plans to grow with it,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “Our team in the Southern Territory is working hand in hand with Woodworker Chief of Staff Mike Rose to give our members in this sector everything they need to negotiate good contracts and stand up to these companies.”
Members from dozens of employers in the wood, pulp and paper sector signed a support letter to 115 newly organized District 65 members who are entering first contract negotiations at Cascades Mill, a containerboard packaging process mill in Niagara Falls, NY. IAM members at IKEA facilities across the country also signed a support letter to IKEA workers at a Minooka/Joliet, IL distribution center who will vote on whether to join the IAM on June 19.
Council delegates formed a Guide Dogs of America committee to raise funds for the IAM’s favorite charity, which provides guide dogs free of charge to visually impaired individuals in the U.S. and Canada.
District 131 President and Directing Business Representative Billy Barnwell was elected president of the council, Local 2740 President Wes Perry was elected vice president and Local W130 President John Irvine was elected secretary-treasurer.
The IAM hosted its weekly Activate L!VE show from the conference.
Live from Biloxi, Mississippi, we introduce you to the IAM's Wood, Pulp & Paper Conference.
Posted by Machinists Union on Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Martinez mentioned the IAM’s organizing success over the past year.
✊ We are here in Biloxi, Miss. for the 2019 IAM Wood, Pulp and Paper Council Conference! Our theme this week is "organizing for sustainable growth." ✊ pic.twitter.com/iwYf1APGs1
— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) June 12, 2019