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Employees rally outside Fernandina Beach, Florida WestRock mill, demand 'fair contract,' better benefits

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. (From news reports) - Fernandina Beach employees at the Westrock Paper Mill protested Monday morning as contract negotiations continued.

Employees were spotted holding signs around 6 a.m. WestRock is a multinational company, and at the mill near downtown Fernandina Beach, they make containerboard, which is used in graphic printing and packaging.

Dennis Teston with United Steelworkers Local 415 was among the protestors Monday.

"We're showing a group of people that's really serious about getting a fair contract, a fair wage and the benefit package to be increased and that's what all this is about," Teston said.

A spokesperson with WestRock says about 70% of the mill's hourly employees are with United Steelworkers.

Teston said they've been engaged in contract negations since since May.

'You're only powerful in numbers," Teston said. "That's how we got here."

"We've worked religiously through the pandemic and...this is all for a showing to show the company we're serious about wage and benefits," Teston added.

The Nassau County location isn't the only location that has employees protesting. Media in Alabama reported talks between WestRock and its three unions have stalled.

Robby Johnson, APR, Manager of Corporate Communications at WestRock released this statement:

These individuals are showing their support for the USW contract negotiations that are underway at this location. We hope that we will be able to come to an agreement on the contract soon.

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