A pair of international union allies helped Paperworkers at the Huhtamaki Packaging Plant in Fulton, N.Y., defeat a terrible company health insurance scheme. And then their parent union, the Steelworkers, helped its local find a replacement that kept the insurance - but that saved the employer $500,000 a year.
All that led to a new three-year contract between Huhtamaki and USW Local 4-54 this fall, according to Pulp Truth, a publication of the USW's paperworkers sector.
"Our solidarity was what got us the contract," Smith said. "We bargained hard and we bargained smart with assistance from the International. We just kept at them. They eventually saw that if they did not move, there would be a work stoppage." The contract keeps the HMO and the workers' pensions and has raises in its last two years.