Regulatory Affairs Committee (RAC) Newsletter – Workforce and Labor Update

TLMI Urged Swift Resolution to UPM Paper Mill Strikes in Finland

At the direction of the Board of Directors, the association weighed in on industry-connected labor work stoppages that have impact on the tag and label industry, supply chain and customer outlets.

On April 6th, the association issued a statement urging 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 impacted globally significant paper that produce and supply a variety of label-making materials.

In the statement, TLMI highlighted the vital commercial importance labels play across industries; buying decisions, advice on medication use, food ingredients, allergy warnings, storage requirements and a host of other important on-package instructions.

The prolonged strike has significantly impacted the availability of appropriate and required paper grades, the basis for many important labels and the information they carry to brands and consumers.

Breaking News: The nearly four month long strike ended earlier this morning, as UPM and the Paperworkers’ Union parties have agreed to a 4 year contract across the impacted business units. Reuters reports that employees will immediately return to work, with customer deliveries also scheduled to resume.

West Coast Port & Dock Workforce – Upcoming Labor Negotiations

TLMI is also closely following labor negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which covers 22,000 organized workers at nearly 30 ports along the West Coast. Collectively, these contracts are renewed every six years. While labor disruptions have occurred in previously (most recently in 2015), current labor shortages, alongside backlogs of cargo scheduled for movement place a particular importance that an expedient agreement be reached.

In anticipation of difficult negotiations against the backdrop of existing supply chain backlogs, initial discussions are set to begin on May 12th between ILWU leadership and the Pacific Maritime Association. The current contracts expire in July. TLMI will continue to follow the progress and discussions.

As always, the information provided in TLMI’s RAC Newsletter should not be construed as legal guidance. If you have questions on the legislation or initiatives highlighted, please contact Bryan Vickers,, 703-403-2882 for more information.