KAUKAUNA, WI (WTAQ) - Union employees at three Wisconsin paper mills have ratified a new contract which paves the way for a private equity firm to buy those plants and keep them running.
KPS Capital Partners of New York had agreed earlier this year to buy the Mosinee and Rhinelander plants owned by Wausau Paper – plus the Kaukauna and De Pere mills from Thilmany Papers.
The deal was contingent on new union contracts.
On Friday, the United Steelworkers said its members approved a four-year deal which includes higher wages, better health benefits, and what the union called “retirement security.”
De Pere is a non-union plant, so it was not involved in the contract decision.
The new firm will become the state’s largest paper-maker with a total of 1,800 employees in Wisconsin. All four mills make specialty papers for things like food wrappers.
KPS is still looking for a name for its new acquisitions.