USW Local 21 responds to Billerud idle

Billerud Paper Mill
Billerud Paper Mill(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 4:01 PM EDT
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - The largest union representing Escanaba Billerud mill workers says it supports Billerud’s decision to idle the mill.

Billerud said yesterday that the idle would begin early next week and continue for up to three weeks as the investigation into blastomycosis among its workers continues. The company has said that the mill’s workers will continue to be paid during the idle and USW Local 21 says it will continue to have discussions with Billerud about worker compensation during that time.

The union says this decision on Billerud’s part is an important step in ensuring the health and safety of its employees.

“The union is encouraged that the mill has decided to take this step. It shows that they truly do care about the health and safety of their workers, which is very important to us,” said Jamie Dier, USW Local 21 first vice president. “Our mill workforce is a very resilient group of people. We’ve been through things like this before and we’re going to make it through this. We are working hand in hand with the company to make sure that this goes as smoothly as possible. We are really hopeful that cases continue to decline, and that people get better. Health and safety, as always, is our number one priority.”

Billerud began the process of idling the mill Friday.