Local 21 prepares for $1 billion paper recycling mill project

A large amount of work is headed Local 21 Dallas' way after an Atlanta-based company announced plans to invest $1 billion in a state-of-the-art paperboard recycling mill in Waco, Texas. 

The megaproject will be completed under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) Graphic Packaging International announced. 

Leo Damaris, Southwest States Conference International Vice President, said he is cautiously optimistic the PLA will work out for Local 21.

In an interview with the Waco Tribune-Herald, Local officials confirmed the development represents a historical milestone in the city's economic progress. The proposed 640,000-square-foot facility has already broken ground at Texas Central Park, which signifies a significant leap forward in sustainable recycling practices.

When completed, the new facility will allow Graphic Packaging to increase production of its coated recycled paperboard (CRB).

Graphic Packaging is provided with ideal customer and supplier access due to Waco's strategic location within 200 miles of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. This location provides the company with a competitive edge to efficiently serve the three major Texas markets, as well as others internationally and domestically.

CR Meyer, a Wisconsin-based general contractor, will serve as the general contractor on the project as they have recently built a similar paper mill in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Michigan project will serve as a model for the Texas work that will be done. Local 21

This project will require 50 and 60 Insulator Brothers and Sisters to complete.

"This project will clear our benches for years to come," said Local 21 Business Manager Monroe Norrid.

He also added that this project could take three to four years to complete and there is a possibility for a future maintenance contract when the project is completed. 

"Local 21 has not seen an opportunity like this in as long as I can remember," Norrid said. "A job this large being done 100 percent Union is a win for not only our members but all the Local Building Trades Unions."

Local 21 plans to increase the size of their upcoming apprenticeship classes and increase their organizing efforts to complete this project. 

Traveling members from regional Locals may also be needed. 

"I have been organizing members nonstop but have not had the opportunity to put them to work on a job like this," said Business Manager Norrid. "This megaproject is going to make a positive impact on Local 21."


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