According to Brandon Ferguson, president of United Steelworkers Smoky Mountain Local 507, it is uncertain when contract negotiations might wrap up.
“I have no idea, brother, I have no idea,” Ferguson said recently.
According to the Local 507 website, USW bargaining committees from Athens, Ga., Clinton, Iowa, Olmsted, Ohio, and Canton began meeting with Evergreen management in March and April. After a break, another round of talks was held in early June.
“It was somewhat productive,” Ferguson said, “but we still haven’t got there yet.”
Mike Culbreth, from Evergreen’s human resources department, said that the ongoing nature of the negotiations shouldn’t be read as a possibility of conflicts, but it is instead routine.
“No indications of anything happening, anything new,” Culbreth said. “Just people’s schedules are tied up.”
Evergreen employs nearly 1,200 workers at its two Haywood County paper mill facilities.
— Jeremy Morrison, News Editor