Monday Morning Minute: Dec. 3, 2018


USW Paper Sector Full-Time Health and Safety Representative Training

We are pleased to announce that the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department and Tony Mazzocchi Center will be offering a five-day course, January 28 – February 1, 2019, specifically for USW full-time health and safety representatives/advocates working in the paper sector.  This is the second consecutive year this course has been offered in the paper sector, and is part of the Making and Converting Paper Safely Action Plan unanimously endorsed at the USW Paper Conference.

Click here for more information and to download the registration form.

The course will incorporate current issues, problem-solving and strategic planning aimed at helping full-time USW safety and health representatives/ advocates in the paper sector meet current and future challenges. The highest numbers of fatalities and life-altering injuries in USW-represented facilities continue to take place in facilities which make and convert paper.

We encourage local unions to approach their employers about funding the attendance of the full-time safety representative/advocate for this training. Underscore that there is no registration fee for this course, and the costs incurred will be limited to travel, lost-time, hotel and related expenses. If the employer declines to fund attendance at this training, local unions should consider making this investment in the interest of members’ long-term health and safety.

Once a local’s attendance is determined, complete the registration form and return it to Laura Donovan at: 60 Boulevard of the Allies, 10th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA  15222; Fax: 412-562-2275; Space will be limited to forty (40) participants, and we are giving preference to those full-time safety representatives who did not participate in the last training we held in 2017. Those accepted to the course will have their hotel room reservation made for them.

Click here for more information and to download the registration form.


This year, the United Parcel Service (UPS) expects to handle more than 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This is up from 700 million last year and nearly double the peak of most normal delivery days. Of the 21 holiday season delivery days before Christmas, 17 are expected to generate volume of more than 30 million packages per day. The average daily volume for UPS is 19 million packages. Of course, the majority of these packages will be boxes, and the majority of those boxes will be made by USW paperworkers.


Near Miss Incidents Involving Rotating and Energized Fan and Blower Components (Distributed with the Permission of International Paper) -- A New Life-Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination Potential has been Published

Over the past few months, several near miss incidents have occurred in which rotating, energized components of fans and blowers were ejected from these air-moving units. In some cases, the blades of fans departed the fan hubs and slipped through the slots in the attached wire cage guards. In other instances, the impeller blades on blowers departed the impeller hubs and forcefully penetrated the external blower housing. Had anyone been present in the area at the time of these events, they could have been exposed to shrapnel and sharp object injury.

Immediate Causes Include:

  1. Fans and blowers operate with high centripetal force and energy. For example, an 8in long impeller blade weighing 1lb rotating at 10,000rpm will develop over 7,500ft-lbs of kinetic energy.
  2. High-use, high-energy rotating equipment can be prone to increased deterioration.
  3. Imbalance due to damage or deterioration can cause catastrophic failure and physical separation of the rotating parts.
  4. Rotating parts may separate and eject from the fan or blower with enough force to cause significant injury.

See the LIFE Alert from IP for more information and corrective actions.


USW Locals 1441 & 1444 – International Paper – Selma, Ala. (Riverdale mill) – International Paper Delaying Conversion of Machine to White Top Liner and Containerboard

International Paper had previously announced plans to invest about $300 million to convert machine No. 15 at its Riverdale mill in Selma, Ala., from uncoated freesheet paper to 450,000 tons/yr of white top linerboard and containerboard. On November 28, the company confirmed that it would be delaying the conversion to either the first quarter or first half of 2020. The original date was to be September 2019. The delay is being attributed to a combination of it costing more to complete the work in 2019 versus 2020.

Starbucks Pilot Program Demonstrates that Coffee Cups can be Turned back into Coffee Cups – USW Locals 801 and 825

Earlier this year, Starbucks sent 18 truckloads of old paper cups to a paper mill in Wisconsin to prove a point: Contrary to a widespread myth, paper coffee cups can be recycled cost-effectively. The cups – 25 million in total, from excess inventory that the coffee chain otherwise would have sent to landfill – were processed at the mill. Recycled paper company Sustana invested in pulping equipment to remove polyethylene liners from the cups and save the fiber, which was mixed into paperboard at WestRock’s mill in Evadale, Texas (USW Locals 801 & 825). WestRock recently began accepting cups, along with paper food packaging, at eight of its mills.


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, 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