North American Tag and Label Trade Association Urges Swift Resolution of Finnish Paper Mill Strike

The recently extended Finland-based strike at UPM mills compounds global supply chain challenges

The Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI), on behalf of tag and label converters, their connected suppliers and end users, urge all parties to come to an immediate resolution of the ongoing strikes at numerous UPM paper mills in Finland. The strikes (now over 3 months long) have crippled a fragile global supply chain which supports the North American tag, label, supply chain and other material input companies in placing accurate information on a range of products in stores and commercial operations. Those mills are globally significant suppliers of label-making materials.

Labels are of vital commercial importance. Not only are labels informative from a consumer and business standpoint, they frequently provide critical safety information. Consumers across North America and the world depend on labels for buying decisions and for advice on medication use, food ingredients, allergy warnings, storage requirements and a host of other important on-package instructions.

The prolonged strike has impacted the availability of appropriate and required paper grades, the basis for many important labels and the information they carry to brands and consumers. Delays in production are worsening the supply chain problems related to COVID-connected port congestion, unloading of containers, and staffing challenges across railroad and trucking channels. The result is an unacceptable delay in ultimate product delivery, detrimental to the paper industry and businesses which rely on it.

TLMI member companies serve a range of important end markets, well beyond healthcare fields. The strike is now impacting the ability of the tag and label industry to secure sufficient paper and labels for those brands and their customers. It also threatens the stable employment, economic continuity and contributions that the industry provides to local economies across the country. As such, TLMI requests that regulatory authorities intervene so production at the impacted UPM locations may swiftly resume.

TLMI members take pride in the fact that our products are critical for the sale and use of almost every product sold in North America today – whether purchased from a store shelf, an e-commerce warehouse, a pharmacy/hospital dispensary or a car/machinery sales lot. The continued disruption of supply of papers used in labels has and will continue to contribute to outages for North American consumers until the strikes are resolved.