International Paper Co. Unions Forge Global Network
Press release from the issuing company
NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 11 -- The following is a joint press release issued by PACE International Union and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions:
Leaders from 21 unions in 11 countries on five continents resolved here today to create a global union network at International Paper Co., the largest paper company in the world, "to advance and protect the interests of IP employees worldwide."
"This global union network is a strong step forward in dealing with this multinational employer and will allow unions around the world to work together in common cause," said Boyd Young, International President of PACE International Union (Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers), which represents 320,000 workers in the United States and Canada.
The union leaders met at this unprecedented conference co-sponsored by PACE and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), a 20-million-member global union federation.
The participants came from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Korea, New Zealand, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, representing tens of thousands of IP employees. Globally, IP employs 100,000 people and operates in 22 countries, with sales last year exceeding $26 billion.
"We decided that an effective trade union movement has to operate as globally as the companies where we represent workers," said PACE Vice President Donald L. Langham, who also serves as North American vice president of the ICEM.
"IP crosses national borders in search of the highest profits, and the unions present here have resolved to match that corporate globalization with a globalization of workers' solidarity," he said.
Langham was elected by the conference to chair the newly-created ICEM Global Network of IP Unions. He will lead a network steering committee that will also include Jean-Pierre Nicolas of the FILPAC-CGT paper workers union of France; Kazimierz Nowak of the Solidarnosc paper workers union of Poland; Max Adlam of the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union of Australia; and Job Filho of the paper workers union of Para e Amapa, Brazil.
The unions pledged to share with each other information on wages and working conditions and take common action at IP in support of participating unions that need assistance. The unions additionally resolved to approach senior IP management to establish a dialogue and seek an agreement on the establishment and implementation of labor standards at the company's operations worldwide.
The unions also expressed their strong support for workers currently on strike at IP's Clifton, NJ cosmetics packaging plant. The workers are members of the Graphic Communications International Union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
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