The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) issued the following news release on Aug. 27, 2015. Note that this strike is sanctioned by the Cowlitz Wahkiakum Central Labor Council:
LONGVIEW, Wash. — AWPPW Local 153 members have gone on strike early this morning (Thursday, Aug. 27) over Unfair Labor Practices at KapStone Paper & Packaging in Longview, Washington. Local 153 members have overwhelmingly authorized a strike in response to the company’s pattern of violating federal labor laws.
“The company has shown a callous disregard for the law by failing to provide to the union information which is critical to the bargaining process,” said AWPPW bargaining spokesperson John Minor.
The company continued its pattern of violating the law by illegally outsourcing bargaining unit work to outside contractors. In addition, the company has refused to negotiate 194 different rules and policies that apply to Local 153’s members. Furthermore, the company unlawfully imposed its “last offer” by declaring impasse before the parties had concluded negotiations.
The union has filed numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges against KapStone in response to this unlawful activity. The National Labor Relations Board regional office already found merit in several charges and has issued a complaint against the company. Other charges remain under investigation. This pattern of unlawful conduct has also impacted issues of worker safety. The Local 153 safety committee has repeatedly raised several serious safety issues, which KapStone has refused to address and continues to ignore.
“AWPPW Local 153 members have spoken out, loud and clear” said AWPPW President Kurt Gallow. “KapStone’s continued illegal activity is unacceptable, the company cannot continue to break the law. The union membership is striking over the company’s unlawful conduct.”
KapStone workers on strike (Aug. 28)
Why this isn’t the same strike as 1978 (Aug. 30)
Striking union member struck by car (Aug. 31) — A union picketer was struck and injured by a contractor vehicle that was leaving the KapStone mill, angering hundreds of striking union members who were picketing at the main gate Sunday evening, union officials and police reported.
EDITOR’S NOTE — AWPPW Vice President Gregory Pallesen contests this article’s accuracy. He says a video of the incident shows that “a small group of picketers were already walking across the exit gate, where they are legally allowed to do so. The scab pulled up, lunged his vehicle into one of the strikers and then gunned it, hitting the striker for a second time. The only option for the striker was to jump up, landing on the hood of the SUV. The striker was on the hood for approximately 60 feet before being flung off the hood and onto the road. Two company security guards standing 20 feet away witnessed the incident and took no action.”