Monday Morning Minute: Feb. 12, 2018


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

Hold the Date – United Steelworkers National Paper Bargaining Conference – July 17-20, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the USW will be holding its biennial National Paper Bargaining Policy Conference in Pittsburgh, PA at the Westin Convention Center Hotel on July 17-20, 2018. 

On Monday, July 16th, we will hold a meeting for Box Shop locals/units ONLY with arrival on Sunday, July 15th. The Conference will then begin for all Locals/Units on Tuesday July 17th. It is important to have as many box shop locals as possible attend this special meeting; if your local finances are tight, you can plan to leave after the meeting and not stay for the entire week.

For planning purposes we wanted to advise you of the date and location as soon as arrangements were made with the hotel. Details on arrival and departure times and reservation information will be forthcoming in an official call letter. This is the Conference where we set Bargaining Policy for the entire sector so Locals should make every effort to be represented.

Senator Tammy Baldwin Letter to the President Encouraging the Administration to Take Action on Chinese Paper Policies

In a letter written in late January, US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), urged President Trump to address China’s latest unfair trade practices and balancing the trade deficit. Chinese paper policy has driven up the global price of pulp – causing problems for Wisconsin paper producers like Appleton Coated.

Senator Baldwin writes, “In July 2017, the Chinese government announced that it would limit or ban imports of certain recoverable wastes, such as paper, into China. Recovered paper is a substitute for pulp used as an input for paper manufacturing. The policy went into effect January 1, 2018. Importantly, the Chinese policy only applies to imports. The same restrictions do not apply to paper that is recovered for use within China.”

“The United States exported $470 million in recovered wastes or recovered materials to China in 2016. With China’s new trade restriction eliminating this significant supply of recovered paper to Chinese paper manufacturers, Chinese firms have resorted to buying more pulp to meet demand. This trade distortion has driven up the price of pulp by 20-30 percent globally just since the policy was announced. This price spike has forced several Wisconsin mills to idle or close.”

The letter closes with the warning that the state of Wisconsin will lose more jobs in the paper industry if these trade issues are not addressed.


USW Local 810 – International Paper Box Shop – Anaheim CA – Local Union Committee Completes Two-Day Workshop under USW’s Tony Mazzocchi Center project “Preventing Fatalities and Life Altering Injuries While Improving Safety and Health in the Paper Sector”

On January 23rd, USW LU 810’s leadership, safety committee members and those who support the safety committee participated in the first day of training. On January 24th they were joined by management counterparts for the program titled “Increasing the Effectiveness of Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees.”

Participants discussed strengths of their labor-management safety and health committee, such as their common interests in further developing their committee structure, leadership on the committee and equal representation between labor and management. They also discussed challenges the committee faces such as consistent labor-management participation, meetings of the committee members as well as its structure.

The group worked on a process for the committee to be regularly involved in investigating accidents, incidents, near misses and other adverse events, and well as a committee process for regular workplace walk-around inspections and audits. Small groups tackled projects of their choosing, making detailed work plans for getting specific health and safety problems addressed, such as: Exposed wheels (Sun Lead Edge Feeder), Powered industrial trucks and pedestrian traffic (facility wide and the wet end), as well as the broken springs on the 3rd and 4th down ink chambers of #2424 rotary die cutter.

Participants’ comments following the sessions included: “A eye opener,” “Great tools and knowledge transfer today,” “Good joint meeting with the USW,” and “Lots of good conversations and action steps moving forward.”

A photo from the training is below:

Employers Must Post Injury/Illness Summary Beginning February 1

OSHA reminds employers of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA’s Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2017. Each year, between Feb. 1 and April 30, the summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements.

For more information click here.


Industry Update

Wisconsin Lawmakers Call for $60M in Aid Plus Tax Credits to Shore-Up Ailing Paper Industry

According to local newspaper, the Post Crescent, three Democratic state lawmakers from Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, on February 5th, called for the state to help stabilize the paper industry with an investment of $60 million.

Following the loss or announced loss of more than 1,400 paper jobs over the last five months in the Fox Cities alone, the legislators said in a Monday morning press conference that they’ll submit a bill that will help stop the bleeding of paper industry jobs.

A few hours later, Gov. Scott Walker's office reacted with a release detailing tax credits for Kimberly-Clark, the latest employer to announce a closure, but no structural plan to address the systemic problem. The Democratic lawmakers responded that there are better ways to assist the industry than a tax break focused on one employer and instead a strategy is needed to create a papermaker fund to assist with loans and other assistance to convert and upgrade mills.

For more information, click here.


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Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

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