Twin Rivers Paper's mill sits in the middle of downtown Madawaska and is located at one end of the international bridge connecting the community with Edmundston, New Brunswick, seen here in the background. Credit: Linda Pelletier | BDN

MADAWASKA, Maine — The three United Steelworkers locals at Twin Rivers Paper Mill ratified a four-year contract with the mill ending weeks of negotiations.

Staff representative Michael Higgins said in a statement that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement “guarantees wages, benefits, and working conditions which are superior to most of the paper industry across the United States.”

“The mill in Madawaska has seen many years of uncertainty, changes of ownership and concessions,” Higgins said. “For this reason, many of our members were willing to put their livelihoods on the line, by forcing a strike vote, in order to provide a better life for their families.”

On Aug. 21, the USW who represents more than 325 members in Madawaska, voted to reject Twin Rivers’ proposal, one that was called the “last & best” contract offer. That final rejection, as outlined in a flyer hung on a bulletin board near one of the time clocks, meant that the union workers could terminate their contract and strike.

“Though negotiations were lengthy, arduous, and not appealing to some members, we avoided a strike today with an overwhelming majority vote on the latest company proposal,” Higgins said in his statement Thursday night. “Our members sacrifice their nights, weekends, days off and holidays to provide a first-class workforce for Twin Rivers Paper.”

Twin Rivers representatives were not available for immediate comment.