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Longview Union Weighing Whether To Authorize Strike

About 800 union employees at the KapStone Paper and Packaging Mill in Longview, Washington are voting on whether to authorize a strike.

The company and the union have been negotiating a new contract for the last several months, said Greg Pallesen, vice-president of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Union.

He said a strike is realistic, unless the company’s offer improves.

“For years, I think it was certainly not uncommon to have bargaining boards or locals take a strike authorization and not strike, in part because the labor agreements would get improved somewhat,” Pallesen said. “But as an organization, as a labor union, our members have gone on strike more in the last five years than we have in the previous 40 years.”

Pallesen said the current offer from KapStone Paper and Packaging doesn’t do enough to address healthcare coverage.

He said the union would need to give a 10-day notice before a strike.

The results of the strike authorization vote will be announced later Tuesday or sometime Wednesday.

The company didn’t return calls for comment.