Workers at Printpack Inc.'s Greensburg, Ind., facility recently signed a three-year labor contract that company officials hope is the final chapter in rebuilding its relationship with members of Local 761-S of the Graphic Communications International Union.
The Greensburg plant was part of a $365 million purchase of James River Corp.'s flexible packaging business in April 1996. Atlanta-based Printpack added the former Fort James Corp. plant to its film products division.
Strife between the new owners and GCIU began when the union's contract under James River management expired, about a year after Printpack bought the plant, and culminated in a six-month work stoppage in 1997, said senior marketing manager Dan Erkkila.
The problems were ``partly growing pains'' that come from becoming a part of a new company with different policies, he said. ``There was a lot of rebuilding to do between the company and the union. The contract is a bellwether of how that [process] has gone.''
The contract, which Erkkila said was ratified by the union on the first vote, is effective through Dec. 31, 2002. He said the contract addresses issues such as work rules, pay scales and benefits packages, but declined to give specific details.
GCIU Local 761-S President Chris Hancock could not be reached for comment.
Erkkila said Printpack's primary goal for the plant is to add capacity through additional training of employees and the purchase of another press and bag-making machines.
The plant produces polyethylene film and converts it into premade bags for bakery goods as well as for personal-care items, including diapers and feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products for nearby Procter & Gamble Co. and others. The plant also prints consumer towel and tissue overwrap.
Printpack's corporate sales for 1998 will exceed the $1 billion mark internationally, and the $900 million mark in the United States, Erkkila said.