USA: Report on concerns over anti-union actions, health & safety at packaging firm Huhtamäki (May 2014) - company now has contract with union

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24 November 2014

Huhtamaki North America and USW reach contract agreements

Author: Huhtamaki

Employees at Huhtamaki's facilities in Waterville, ME, Sacramento, CA, Hammond, IN and Fulton, NY have approved contracts with the company. All Huhtamaki North American facilities, represented by USW [United Steelworkers], now have a current contract with the company...

The AFL-CIO and USW campaign and Commerce, Ca. employees
The AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers recently launched a campaign in an effort to represent workers in Commerce, CA. Huhtamaki has and will continue to closely adhere to NLRB regulations. Currently, the employees of the Commerce, Ca. facility have chosen not to be represented by the USW. The USW has tried to bring additional pressure on the company by targeting customers for demonstrations. Huhtamaki is respecting the outcome of the process wherein the majority of employees have not chosen to be part of the USW. We are committed to respecting the employees' preference...

Huhtamaki's investment and growth in American jobs
Huhtamaki's investment and expansion in its North American business segment over the last six years has been substantial in both union and non-union facilities. Huhtamaki is adding jobs to local economies, spurring growth and is an important part of the communities in which it operates.

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Article
13 June 2014

Huhtamaki Workers Stand Up for Safe Working Conditions at California Paper Products Plant [USA]

Author: AFL-CIO (USA)

That Starbucks cup that held your morning skim latte or the Chinet paper plates you've got packed up for a picnic this weekend were likely made by workers at one of Huhtamaki's 21 plants in the United States...Today at Huhtamaki's Commerce, Calif., plant, workers asked management to "engage in a good faith dialogue" about working conditions in the plant where temperatures can reach 100 degrees or more and where workers are subject to a disciplinary system they say management uses "only as a tool to punish workers." The letter they presented to Huhtamaki's plant managers also urged those managers to refrain from retaliating against the workers for their actions... Said one worker: "We knew that when we tried to talk to management about these issues individually, nothing changed. When we all got together we realized that if we all asked for changes together, there was no way they could ignore us. All we want is for them to treat us the same way they treat their union employees."

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Report
15 May 2014

Huhtamaki’s U.S. Expansion Model: A Low-Wage, Low-Cost, Low-Responsibility Model of Employment,

Author: AFL-CIO & United Steelworkers (USA)

The Huhtamaki Group is a global manufacturer of consumer and specialty package products with focus and expertise in molded fiber packaging, flexible packaging, release films and paper cups...[h]eadquartered in Finland...[For] workers in the unionized facilities, the acquisition of the Batavia facility, in addition to the acquisition of other nonunion sites in recent years, presents a threat to the jobs and livelihoods of the workers who helped to build the company and its profits. Work in the nonunion plants compared to work in the unionized plants is dramatically different...[Workers] in the nonunion sites also face a threat to their livelihood. They face low wages, few or no benefits, unsafe working conditions... [Other issues:] Using a high percentage of temp workers in the general workforce... Treating workers in nonunion facilities as an expendable workforce...Cutting costs on occupational safety and health...Downward pressure on the unionized workforce...Investing in a union-busting law firm [Littler Mendelson]...

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