It was a productive Labor Day weekend for Teamsters Local 284.
The union ratified a new collective bargaining agreement Sunday morning with Memphis-based International Paper Corp., ending a nearly 17-week-long strike at the Delaware plant, 865 Pittsburgh Drive.
“The membership stuck together during one of the longest strikes in our Local’s history,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Local 284, on the union’s Facebook page. “By committing to the collective bargaining process as the best way to work out differences over issues affect working families and the business, the Union and the Company were able to reach a fair agreement that will allow production to resume at the Delaware plant. The membership has a lot to be proud of and a good contract to protect them.”
Union members went on strike after it did not come to a new agreement with the company to replace the one that expired on June 26, 2015.
According to the union, the company wanted its members to work up to 84 hours per week — seven days per week, 12 hours per day — under threat of termination.
International Paper has said the allegations are false and had no intention of working union members by those hours.
“The Delaware facility currently works a five-day, three-shift operation. On occasion, it is necessary to schedule overtime or weekend work to meet customer demands,” Laura Clark, company spokeswoman, told The Gazette in July. “We have proposed eliminating some limits on scheduling so that we have the flexibility to meet customer commitments should we be required to do so.”
Clark and Mann informed The Gazette Tuesday afternoon that the company and the union will release a joint statement with more information about the new agreement.
“Both parties are working on a transition plan to return this team to work as soon as possible,” Clark said in an email.
The plant employs more than 130 workers.
“We are pleased to hear of a strike resolution; this is good news for International Paper, its associates, and the City of Delaware,” said Lee Yoakum, city spokesman.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.