Approximately 22 Machinists Union members from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 1490 (District 4), 20 Millwrights, and 38 oilers and steam and water plant operators from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 330-3 have been on strike since October 14, 2023. Millwrights Local 1121 members are set to join the strike line on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
In a sign of disrespect to workers and the community, Woodland Pulp has hired scabs, temporary replacement workers through Strom Engineering Corp., a specialist in scab labor. This latest action by the company has intensified tensions during an ongoing strike by a coalition of dedicated workers.
The strike, which has garnered much attention throughout Maine, is primarily driven by the workers’ commitment to job security and preserving their core trades. Woodland Pulp’s last proposal introduced a new job classification that threatens the positions of millwrights, pipefitters, machinists, and auto mechanics positions. This strike is a collective show of solidarity emphasizing their profound concerns regarding this proposed change.
“Our members are fighting not only for their job security but for the integrity of these crucial trades,” said IAM District 4 Business Representative Danny Loudermilk. “Woodland Pulp’s actions are deeply concerning and show the type of company we are dealing with to get a fair deal for working families. Our resolve remains strong.”
“We expected good-faith negotiations, but instead, we’ve encountered a company that refuses to acknowledge the importance of these jobs to the community and continues to engage in bad-faith bargaining practices,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “This latest stunt of bringing in scab workers is a slap in the face to our members and union allies. We will not back down to protect our members’ livelihoods.”
Members of IAM District 4, SEIU Local 330-3, and Millwrights Local 1121 have demonstrated their steadfast commitment to defending their jobs and supporting their community, which depends on the stability of strong union jobs at Woodland Pulp.
The IAM has already filed Unfair Labor Practice Charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Woodland Pulp for the company’s continued refusal to negotiate in good faith. These charges are in addition to the ones previously filed against the company for similar reasons. Woodland management’s decision to introduce the contentious job classification proposal during ongoing negotiations and a lack of satisfactory financial transparency has deepened the rift between the company and its workforce.