IAM members who work in the pulp and paper industry in the southeastern U.S. are joining together to strengthen their bargaining power and grow the IAM’s presence in the region. Delegates from 11 IAM-represented locations across the South recently met in North Charleston, SC for the 2019 IAM Southern Pulp and Paper Conference.

The meeting, which dates back to 1954, was hosted by IAM Local 183, which represents workers at North Charleston’s WestRock paper mill. Delegates compared contract language and shared best practices for grievances and arbitrations.

Local 183 stepped up to host the conference after Hurricane Michael struck the panhandle of Florida, where Panama City Local 1106 had planned on hosting the meeting.

WATCH: IAM Leaders Tour Hurricane Ravaged Florida Panhandle

Pulp and paper workers in the South are getting a boost from the Southern Territory, which assigned two Grand Lodge Representatives, Bobby Barnwell, and Craig Martin, to assist the territory’s pulp and paper workers in collective bargaining and other issues.

“Our members in the pulp and paper industry are extremely important to the IAM,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “In addition to the support we will provide from our territory, Woodworkers’ Chief of Staff Mike Rose has committed to me that the Woodworkers Department will continue to make all resources available to bargain the contracts our membership deserves and grow the IAM’s footprint in the industry.”

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