A.W.P.P.W, Local #5 came into the quiet mill town of Camas, Wa. To take over from the big International Union in 1964. Subsequent to this the Crown Zellerbach Mill in Camas was represented by two International Locals: Local #130 - Paper Makers & Local #100 - Pulp Sulfite. The A.W.P.P.W. Bargained the first contract for Local #5 in 1964 and, when negotiations broke down, the membership went out on Strike.
The A.W.P.P.W. wasn't given a closed shop when they defeated the International Unions; so, at Camas some of our employees were still loyal to the International and some employees had no loyalty to either. This situation gave the company a chance at trying to break the newly formed A.W.P.P.W. Union and perhaps get the old International union back into power.
Crown Zellerbach chose to keep the Camas Mill running and allowed employees who wished to cross the Local #5 picket lines to attempt to run the mill. This strike lasted two weeks and left a lot of scars that would take a long time to heal. The 1964 Strike was the first at Camas since 1917. This strike split family members, relatives and friends. Even the City of Camas, local businesses and police were divided in their feelings of the strike.
After the strike was over, most of the Camas Mill employees felt the A.W.P.P.W. had won its right to represent them by bargaining a fair contract. Now came the big challenge for the employees of the Camas Mill to become active members in the new Union. The A.W.P.P.W. democratic structure made it apparent that this union was only going to be as strong as its members support.
The old International Union Officers had the power to do what they thought was best for their membership, but the A.W.P.P.W. was a union controlled by the membership, so to make the new Union function as spelled out in its Constitution, the "Rank & File" had to get involved. It was a first time experience for many -- and the lack of experienced local leaders gave the opportunity for a lot of NEW NAMES to jump in and serve Local #5 as Officers, Delegates, Committeemen, Shop Stewards and active members This "ON THE JOB TRAINING" was very successful and in 1967 Local #5 was again challenged in an NLRB election, which Local #5 won 1461 to 566.
Our Local #5 Officers and Membership were doing a great job protecting the contractual rights of its members. The Strike of 1969 can probably be considered the starting point to mending the hard feelings between all of our members involved in the 1964 strike.
In 1969 we presented a united force to deal with the Company. We shut the mill down cold and showed a united membership on the picket lines. Local #5 was having problems getting the same contract items as our two sister mills in Port Angeles and Port Townsend were already offered. Local #5 sent pickets to our two sister mills in Port Angeles (Local 69 & Local 155) and Port Townsend (Local 175) .
Both these mills had acceptable offers on the table, but due to the fact that our offer was far short, our Brothers & Sisters in these mills allowed us to put pickets on their mills and shut them down. Shutting down these two mills gave us the credibility and clout to bargain a good contract.
Once and for all, the Camas Local #5, Locals #269 & #155 and Local #175 (all Crown Zellerbach Mills) proved to all that we were a united membership that had to be dealt with fairly. In 1969 each Crown Zellerbach Local bargained a separate contract. Local #5 combined both of the old International Locals into one Local, but some mills kept the two separate locals in 1964).
1971 was the first attempt to bargain a contract that would be for all the Crown Locals Then Bargaining came to a standstill, The Union gave 10 day notice of termination of the contract. The current contract remains in force until terminated by either party. The Union bargaining unit cannot take strike action until 10 days after this notice of termination is given. Giving this notice does not mean the Union will automatically go on Strike, but gives them the ability to if and when the Union Membership so decides. This is a normal bargaining strategy, and had been done in many bargains without the end result of a Strike.
The Crown Zellerbach Bargaining Spokesman said he would not live under the conditions of the Union going on Strike at any time and if the Union gave its 10 day notice, Crown Zellerbach at the end of that 10 Bay notice would "LOCK OUT" all the Mills. The Union felt they needed the threat of a Strike to move this bargain on to a conclusion, so they gave the 10 day notice of termination and in 10 days all the Crown Wills were shut down by a Company ·LOCK OUT".
The Union had all its affected employees file for unemployment benefits because they were locked out, but only California paid these benefits. .Washington and Oregon denied these claims.
The union decided after a couple of weeks to declare a strike and pickets were placed at all mills. This "LOCK OUT" / "STRIKE" lasted 40 days. From 1971 to 1978 the Unions were very successful with individual Company Bargains. What one Company settled for was where the next contract to be bargainee started. This "Leap - Frogging· Contract Negotiations was the reason why in 1978 a number of the companies got together in a unofficial group and locked hands with a "United Game Plan" and decided to put a stop to the "One-upmanship" style of bargaining they were facing.
The Companies wanted a 3 year contract, and the Unions wanted a two year contract. It was very clear that the style of the 1978 bargaining was more of a "Union Busting concept" than both sides trying to reach middle ground as in the bargaining of the past.
This 1978 Strike was 7 months long, and we wound up losing some of the benefits we had bargained over the years.
The 1978 Strike showed us that the companies didn't have any more concern for the welfare of our Union "Brothers & Sisters" than they did their "Employees" It's true that Crown Zellerbach / James River haven't had any strikes since 1978, but it is also true that this "Union Bashing" didn't return to the work force a large number of 'HAPPY SATISIFIED W0RKERS.