Monday Morning Minute: April 29, 2019

Union Work

USW Locals 1097, 1146 & 1234 – Georgia-Pacific – Wauna & Halsey, Oregon

Georgia-Pacific locals on the West Coast convened in Coos Bay, Oregon, this week as part of quarterly meetings to coordinate information amongst each other on workplace conditions, bargaining and state legislative issues. GP locals bargain their master agreement next year. The USW International’s visit included a tour of the Wauna and Halsey, Oregon facilities, which produce and convert tissue and towel, and the Cascade Pacific Pulp facility (USW Local 12-1189) in Halsey. Thanks to Locals 1097, 1146 & 1234 for their hospitality and for hosting the visits. A couple of photos from the visit are below.

USW Locals 1504, 899, 9-790, & 692 – August, Ga., Calhoun, Tenn., & Coosa Pines, Ala. – Resolute Forest Products New Master Agreement Ratified

On April 23, 2019, the Resolute Forest Products Council overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year master agreement. The locals negotiated 2.5 percent wage increases each year of the agreement. USW Local 692, IBEW Local 1629 and UAPP Local 91 represent workers at the company’s Coosa Pines fluff pulp mill. USW Local 899 and IBEW Local 175 represent workers at the Calhoun, Tenn., pulp, paper and tissue mill, and USW Local 1504 represents workers at the Augusta, Ga., newsprint mill. Approximately 775 union employees are covered by the master agreement.

Resolute Forest Products Council Chair Wesley Thompson commented on the negotiations: “This agreement was only possible because of the diligence, dedication and solidarity of each of the Resolute Council locals. The council set goals and would accept no less for our members. It is a real honor and privilege to work with each of these locals.”

Safety

Global Unions Target Safety at Work in Pulp, Paper, Graphical and Packaging in a Year of Action

Workers in the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors, represented globally by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI, used this 2019 Workers Memorial Day to kick off a yearlong campaign around the three fundamental worker rights needed to make work safe: (1) The Right to Know – workers must know the hazards and risks in their workplace; (2) The Right to Act (commonly known as the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work Without Punishment); and (3) the Right to Participate in the programs and structures that manage safety in the workplace. Each of these rights will be highlighted with action by workers across the global pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors.

“All health and safety standards exist because of trade union action, and we invite the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging industries to share information and build safety programs together with their workers who know the work and its hazards better than anyone else,” said Leeann Foster, IndustriALL Pulp and Paper Working Group co-chair and Assistant to the USW International president.

To read the entire press release, click here.

Industry Update

USW Locals 1086, 1087, 1354, 1772 & 1419 – DS Smith – Riceboro, Ga., Lowell, Mass., & Reading, Pa. – International Paper to Acquire Three Facilities in Europe from DS Smith

International Paper announced that it would acquire three facilities located in Portugal and France from DS Smith for the US equivalent of $71 million. The USW represents approximately 400 members who work for DS Smith across five locals in the United States.

DS Smith is a publicly-traded company headquartered in London, England and is one of the country’s largest corrugated box manufacturers. In 2017, DS Smith moved into the US corrugated market with its $920 million acquisition of Interstate Resources. The sale included three USW-represented facilities – a linerboard mill in Riceboro, Ga., recycled corrugating medium mill in Reading, Pa., and one full-service box plant in Lowell, Mass.

The sale of DS Smith’s European facilities to International Paper fulfils regulatory obligations in relation to the company’s recent acquisition of Europac, and could indicate a path for future growth for International Paper.

Tell Us Your Stories!

Has your local done something amazing? Have you had a great solidarity action? Done something huge to help your community? Made significant connections with other labor groups? Is your Women of Steel or Next Gen committee making waves? Have you had success in bargaining, major accomplishments? We all stay so busy working to improve our workplaces and communities that we often do not take 5 minutes to reflect, share and celebrate our accomplishments.

Tell us your story so we can all be part of it! Contact Laura Donovan at ldonovan@usw.org, or at 412-562-2504.

Click here to download this as a PDF.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222