Monday Morning Minute: Feb. 5, 2018


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

USW Local 1947 – International Paper – Newton, NC – New Local Agreement Reached

IP Local 1947 overwhelmingly ratified a new 3 year local agreement on Friday, January 26th. Changes to the agreement include a reduction in the number of days required in deciding whether to take a job bid- from 20 days to 10 days. Additionally, the time that the Company holds workers once a job is accepted was reduced from 60 days to 30 days. Another win, for employees with 3 weeks of vacation, can no take 2 weeks (10 days) day at a time.

In addition to the language wins, the local successfully signed up 16 new members. Congratulations!

USW Local 1148 – International Paper (now Graphic Packaging) – Texarkana, TX – Overtime Arbitration Win

The employer improperly denied the grievant overtime compensation. The issue in this contract interpretation case was if the grievant was denied one and one half times compensation for hours worked on the third day of a quick turnaround. The grievant worked a twelve hour shift (Monday-7am-7pm) on the first day and was compensated the correct four hours overtime for this shift. On the second day, (Tuesday – 3pm-11pm) the grievant was compensated the correct eight hours overtime. On the third day, (Wednesday-7am-7pm) the grievant was compensated eight hours regular rate and four hours overtime. The union protested the grievant being compensated eight hours regular rate on the third day. It was argued by the union that all Wednesday hours should have overtime as ‘’inconvenience premium pay’’ for ‘’insufficient rest’’ per contract language since the first eight hours occurred under a prior twenty-four hour period commencing at 3pm. The employer maintained that the union’s methodology would negate contractual prohibitions on counting the same hours twice to calculate overtime, and that the preceding 24-hour period was reset at 7am on Wednesday. The arbitrator opined that the union’s interpretation was the only interpretation that was consistently applied to the 24-hour provision between second and third day shifts. Award: grievance sustained – grievant and any similar situated employees denied overtime on a similar quick turnaround shall be compensated retroactive overtime earnings.



HSE Conference Check Payment Reminder

If you have or are planning to pay with a check for the USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference registration, please be sure to include a copy of registration confirmation(s) or a list of names of the conference attendees. This will ensure a smooth on-site registration process.

Safety Notice – Stop Use – MSA Gravity Welder Harness

MSA is advising all MSA Gravity Welder Harness customers to immediately stop use of affected MSA Gravity Welder Harnesses produced from July 2015 through and including January 2018. The harnesses are to be removed from service, marked “UNUSABLE” and destroyed."

Affected MSA Gravity Welder Harnesses are those marked with one of the following part numbers and a manufacturing date from July 2015 through and including January 2018: 10151154; 10158954; 10158956; 10158957.

Note that MSA Gravity Welder Harnesses could also have been ordered as part of kit numbers 10026061, 10026064, 10105480 and 10103470.  Harnesses that were provided within these kits are also labeled with the individual harness part number and can be identified as detailed above.

If you are in possession of affected harnesses per the criteria above, MSA will replace them free of charge.

To read the entire safety notice, and for customer service contact information, click here.


Industry Update

Kimberly-Clark Trade Unions around the World Angry with Mass Job Cuts Announcement

Last week, we announced that Kimberly-Clark would be instituting a massive cut of 5,000 to 5,500 jobs. Amounting to 12% of the global workforce, the cuts will mostly come through closing 10 of Kimberly-Clark’s 91 factories.  The chief financial officer of Kimberly-Clark said in a recent conference call that the company planned to use proceeds from the recent tax cuts to help to pay for planned restructuring costs tied to the plant closings.

We have since learned that USW Local 2-482 that represents the Cold Springs facility in Neenah, WI is one of the facilities identified to shut down. This will impact 500+ workers. The unrepresented non-woven facility will also be shut, affecting 100+ job. The Company announced it intends to close of the Neenah Nonwoven facility will take place within the next 18 months.  However, no timing has been set for the Neenah Cold Spring facility, according to Kimberly-Clark.

Despite the high union density of Kimberly-Clark’s global workforce, and an official relationship with the international union movement, there was no prior consultation with worker representatives before the decision was made and announced.  The USW is not convinced that the announced closures are in the best interests of the workers, the communities Kimberly Clark operates, let alone the Company itself and intends to make our voice heard on these issues.

Kimberly-Clark products such as Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues are used by nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Profits are down slightly, however Kimberly-Clark’s operating profit for 2017 was around US$3.3 billion.

The USW joined with IndustriALL and UNI to issue a joint statement.

WestRock Signs Agreement to Acquire KapStone

On January 26th, WestRock announced that it would acquire KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation, a leading producer and distributor of containerboard, corrugated products and specialty paper. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the September.

The addition of the specialty paper products (multiwall bag, specialty kraft papers, lightweight kraft paper and saturating kraft) to WestRock’s portfolio will further expand the company’s comprehensive range of differentiated kraft products.

KapStone also owns Victory Packaging, a packaging solutions distribution company with facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The acquisition will enable WestRock to supply additional corrugated packaging to Victory Packaging.

The KapStone locals impacted by the sale are USW Local 895-07 in Mesquite, TX; USW Locals 1435 & 9-508 in North Charleston, SC; USW Local 11-436 in Cedar Rapids, IA; and USW Local 9-425 in Roanoke Rapids, NC.


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Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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