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Meriturn Papers and Union Reach Tentative Agreement 

After a meeting Thursday Meriturn Partners and the unions at the Katahdin Paper Mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket have reached a tentative agreement.But it still needs to be ratified by the union members.The United Steel Workers union says they continue to work on details of the health insurance plan, which has not been finalized yet.This comes on the heels of a meeting held in East Millinocket, Thursday morning.The San Francisco based investment group told officials in both towns they would present new information at that meeting.Initially they were looking for a 48 million dollar tax break from both communities, and wanted the unions to take a two dollar an hour wage cut.Those cuts would reduce some starting positions to eleven dollars an hour.Neither side is discussing the terms.Both communities will now meet separately to talk about the new proposal.”I think they’re making an effort. It’s very hard. Economically it’s going to impact the communities greatly and I just think that we don’t want to jump into anything. Both the company and the communities want to take a little of time here,” said Millinocket Town Councilor Michael Madore. “There is a deadline.””They’re working for a solution,” said East Millinocket Selectma Mark Scally. “They realize that the towns are under the gun as far as the loss tax revenue and they’re trying to look for ways to help us make up that difference. What we’re going to do is our attorney is going to check into the legality and logistics of their proposal and should it fly we’ll probably go for it.”The company that currently owns the mills says if a sale doesn’t go through, it’s planning to shut down the East Millinocket plant April 22nd, the Millinocket mill closed in 2008. Both communities will meet as a joint committee Monday evening.