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Evergreen negotiations ‘worked out fine’

fr papermillEvergreen Packaging has been in talks with its employees since the spring, trying to hammer out a new contract. This month, the company reached a deal with members of the union.


“It worked out fine,” said Brandon Ferguson, president of the United Steelworkers Smoky Mountain Local 507. “We were able to make some changes, and in the end the vote passed.”

According to Dane Griswold, general manager for Evergreen’s Canton-Waynesville operations, the deal went through on Oct. 15. The new contract covers not only the Canton and Waynesville facilities, but also workers employed at facilities in Athens, Ga., and Olmsted, Ohio. 

Approximately 1,300 employees are affected by the contract agreement, including 900 workers in Haywood County. Evergreen employs 1,200 workers at its two Haywood facilities, but not all of those are part of the union. The contract agreement runs through May 2018.

“Evergreen Packaging is pleased to confirm the ratification of the master economic collective bargaining agreement and local supplemental agreements,” Griswold said in a statement.

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According to Ferguson, the contract includes a 9 percent wage increase over four years. Workers also held onto their healthcare cost-share for the life of the agreement.

“I am very proud of our negotiating committee and most of all our union members for supporting us during the negotiations,” Ferguson said in his own statement. “Neither the company or the union got everything they wanted, but having an agreement allows us to move forward. This is good for the future of our company, our members and the community.”

— Jeremy Morrison, News Editor

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