Over 50 United Steelworkers protesters and allies marched on Minnesota-based Wayzata Investment Partners (WIP) September 5 over contract issues in a newly purchased pulp mill dispute. The Pope & Talbot pulp mill in Halsey, Oregon, was purchased in a bankruptcy auction by WIP and renamed Cascade Pacific Pulp. In the change of ownership, longtime workers were fired and then made to reapply for their jobs. There were no security measures in the union contract to protect the jobs in the event of a sale or closure. Local 1189 has been working to secure a successorship provision in order to protect the mill and its workforce in the event Wayzata acts on its intentions and resells the mill in the future.
Workers came from Halsey Oregon Local 1189 to meet with Wayzata Investment Partners boss Patrick Halloran to demand a halt to the company's unfair demands on workers and their community. As suspected, WIP boss Halloran would not meet with the workers. After militant chanting and shouting the local police sergeant hand-delivered a letter to WIP inside. The USW District 11, Minneapolis Central Labor Council, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition, Minneapolis Labor Review and the Workers Interfaith Network joined forces to highlight the insecurity of private equity ownership with firms like WIP and the struggles workers will face in the future. Check out this video: