Monday Morning Minute: April 2, 2018


USW Local 395 – Rayonier Advanced Materials – Fernandina, Fla.

A contractor received an electrical shock and burns. The preliminary information is the contractor was attempting to retrieve a wire-tie strap in a 4160-volt cabinet. The mill was in an outage at the time of the incident and the system was believed to have been de-energized.

Fatigue is believed to have been a contributing factor in this incident as the crew had been working long hours. The contractor sent the crew home to get some rest. A review of the lockout and verification would take place upon their return.

Health, Safety and Environment staffer Steve Sallman is remotely assisting the local with its investigation.

USW Local 395 – Rayonier Advanced Materials – Fernandina, Fla.

A contractor received a broken leg. The preliminary information is one contract employee was cutting a 90-degree elbow of a pipe on a platform with another contract employee. When the cut was finished, the pipe was heavier than they expected and it fell onto one of the contract employee’s legs.

Health, Safety and Environment staffer Steve Sallman is remotely assisting the local with its investigation.

USW Local 9-0738 – International Paper – Riegelwood, N.C.

An employee received fatal injuries in a motor vehicular incident. The preliminary information is Mr. David Stephens, age 50, died after his motor vehicle struck the rear of a log truck with protruding logs leaving the job at the IP paper mill in Riegelwood, N.C.

His shift ended at 5:30 a.m. on Feb., 21, 2018. The conditions were dark with heavy fog. The incident occurred at approximately 5:55 a.m. on the mill’s access road on company property. Mr. Stephens was apparently leaving the mill when his vehicle struck the rear of a log truck that was making a left turn into a staging area.

A log penetrated through the windshield and hit Mr. Stephens, inflicting mortal injuries. After being struck by the protruding log, he apparently hit the accelerator, causing the log to break off and remain in his vehicle until it left the road and hit a tree at speed. No brake marks were evident.

The log truck did not stop and the driver was not aware of the incident, but has since been in contact with the N.C. State Police. The log truck was one of several that were turned around for rejected logs.

Mr. Stephens was a 30-year employee and had three children.

Alexis Clemmons is assisting the local union with the investigation on behalf of the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department.

UNION WORK – Collective Bargaining, Organizing, Arbitration, Worker Rights, Community Work, Political Work, Labor History

Tips for Local Union Elections

Local union elections are under way. As members, we must be aware of the law and the rules detailed in the International and Local Union Elections manuals, which are available, upon request, by calling the Local Union Service Department at 412-562-2380.

Labor law and the International and Local Union Elections manuals prevent anyone running for office from being promoted in local, district or International union newsletters, leaflets, websites, social media and other material produced by or for the union.

The rules also prohibit the use of union equipment, such as computers, copy or fax machines, telephones; the use of union space (including local union halls and events); or union staff during official work hours to promote or discredit any candidate.

Use of the union’s logo is prohibited on any candidate material, website, or social networks.

Local union communications should not be used to promote or prejudice the candidacy of a member running for a local union or international union office, or to influence in any way a member’s vote.

For more information, click here.


Paper Industry in Wisconsin – From the Wisconsin Historical Society

The paper industry achieved great success in Wisconsin and was the state's third largest industry by the 1940s. Paper made from primarily rags, straw, and waste paper was first manufactured in Milwaukee in 1848 to supply newsprint to publishers around the state and in Chicago.

Appleton was the first community to begin manufacturing paper in the Fox Valley. The success of the early mills in the area enticed skilled laborers from the East to move to Wisconsin, which assured a supply of trained craftsmen.

The Neenah Paper Mill opened in Neenah in 1865 and became the most successful and profitable of the early mills. It was eventually purchased by Kimberly, Clark and Company, which became one of Wisconsin's largest producers.

To read more about the beginnings of the paper industry in Wisconsin, click here.


Paper Sector Meeting at HSE Conference

Over 250 local union leaders from the paper sector attended a special meeting on Monday, March 26. Steve Sallman from the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department presented “Safety and Health in the USW’s Paper Sector.” He discussed issues with "green-on-green" training, the Making and Converting Paper Safely (MCPS) curriculum, and the upcoming National Paper Bargaining Conference in July.

The meeting ended with a Q&A session, which gave local union leaders a chance to give feedback about the MCPS and pose questions to health and safety staff. One question posed was whether the modules will include any information on confined spaces, how to work with companies on safety initiatives, and investigating accidents when faced with pushback from management.

Photos from the meeting are below.

2018 AFL-CIO Workers’ Memorial Day – April 28, 2018

On April 28, 2018, the labor movement will once again observe Workers' Memorial Day to remember workers killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections.

The theme of this year’s Workers' Memorial Day is “Safe Jobs. Every Worker’s Right.”

We urge you to get involved and organize actions, activities, or observances in your workplaces and communities to highlight the toll of job injuries and deaths.

Demand that elected officials put workers’ well-being above corporate interests. And demand jobs that are safe, healthy and pay fair wages. Make it clear that the labor movement will defend the right of every worker to a safe job and fight until that promise is fulfilled.

Materials are available for downloading and ordering at the AFL-CIO website.


USW Local 2-144 – Appleton Coated – Combined Locks, Wis.

Paper Machine Restarts Post-Bankruptcy: Appleton Coated restarted a third paper machine on March 16, bringing the number of recalled workers to 230 out of about 600.

In December, the Company re-started its first machine under new ownership, Industrial Assets, after previously filing for bankruptcy. The mill still makes printing and writing paper, but will gradually shift over to corrugated medium and container board grades.

The USW International has been working with the new owner on keeping the business operational since last October, and a new two-year contract was signed.

Click here to download this as a PDF.

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