Monday Morning Minute: Jan. 14, 2019

UNION WORK

USW Locals 266, 10-422, & 2-469 – Appvion – West Carrollton, Ohio; Roaring Spring, Pa.; Appleton, Wis.

A bill introduced in the California Assembly would be the first in the U.S. to mandate retailers offer digital receipts as a default – An extremely shortsighted campaign titled “Skip the Slip” is being introduced in the California Legislature to mandate that stores offer digital receipts as the default option instead of paper beginning on January 1, 2022. If the bill passes, customers would have to specifically request a paper copy instead of a digital version.

This is problematic and ignores several important consumer issues. For example, the bill has personal privacy implications. Forfeiting your email address to retailers, by default, permits the retailer or service provider to track your spending and buying habits, to later be exploited or sold to anyone from health care companies to political campaigns and more. Equally troubling is that it reinforces the myths about sustainability attached to forest products that are independently certified as “sustainable.”

Nearly every piece of paper used for those slips has its origin in USW shops.    Appvion is the largest producer of thermal receipt paper in the U.S., and the USW represents approximately 1,000 members across facilities located in West Carrollton, Ohio, Roaring Spring, Pa., and Appleton, Wis. When you take a receipt in the checkout line, it was most likely made by a fellow Steelworker.

DID YOU KNOW?

The cardboard boxes you received on your doorstep from shopping online are designed to be recycled. In 2017, 88.8 percent of all cardboard boxes consumed in the U.S. were recovered for recycling. Remove any non-paper packing materials (like air pillows or foam peanuts), break boxes down flat, keep them dry and clean and place them in the recycling bin. You do not need to remove the shipping labels or tape. If your box is dented, beat up, ripped or even a little dirty from the shipping process, it can still be recycled. Just make sure it’s dry and free of any non-paper packaging materials.

SAFETY

USW Local 4-521 – Seaman Paper Company of Massachusetts – Baldwinville, Mass. – Eliminate the Hazard

Seaman Paper improved the safety culture at its Otter River, Massachusetts mill with a simple, foolproof solution. Older paper machines like the ones at the company’s mill were designed with lower reel heights, which exposed machine operators to a safety hazard. Seaman Paper opted to retrofit its machines by adding stands to the reels, elevating the centerline of the hazard and literally moving it out of employees’ reach.

Global Estimates of Occupational Accidents and Work-Related Illnesses 2017

An updated report of global estimates of occupational accidents and work-related diseases was given during the 21st World Congress of Safety and Health at Work. Estimates were provided by a team comprising experts from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in Finland and Workplace Safety and Health Institute of the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.

The group estimated that 2.78 million deaths occurring annually across the countries were attributed to work, higher than the previous estimate of 2.33 million deaths estimated in 2014. Work-related mortality accounted for 5 percent of total deaths globally. The biggest share of work-related mortality came from work-related diseases, which accounted for 2.4 million (86.3%) of the total estimated deaths. Fatal accidents accounted for the remaining 13.7 percent.

Asia had the highest number of fatalities among the five regions reviewed, with more than 70 percent, while Europe had the lowest. The U.S. came in third, with approximately 6.5 percent.

To read the full report, click here.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

USW Local 1862 – Neenah Paper – Brattleboro, Vermont – Neenah Paper Mill in Brattleboro Purchased by Long Falls Paperboard and to Remain Open Thanks to Help from the USW

Late last year, Neenah Paper announced that it planned to shut its specialty papers mill located in Brattleboro, Vermont, unless a buyer agreed to purchase the facility by December 31, 2018. With the help of USW leadership and District 4 Staff Representative Jack VanderBaan, we can now report that Long Falls Paperboard Company has agreed to purchase the building and property site through a partnership with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation.

Long Falls Paperboard had been interested in purchasing Carthage Specialty Paperboard in West Carthage, N.Y.– another USW-represented company – but the deal fell through and the company was still looking for opportunities in the Northeast. In an interview with the local newspaper, The Brattleboro Reformer, Ben Rankin from Long Falls Paperboard said, “We had worked hard with the union on the Carthage mill. We had built some trust and good relations and they didn't hesitate to send us this way.”

The deal will help to secure approximately 100 union jobs at the facility.

USW Locals 335 & 1334 – Georgia-Pacific – Zachary, La. (Port Hudson Mill) – Georgia-Pacific to Shut Uncoated Paper Operations

The company will completely leave the white paper market by shutting down its uncoated paper machine and, subsequently, its converting, pulp, utility and wood operations at the Port Hudson Mill. Two tissue machines will remain, but approximately 650 jobs will be cut in the process. The operations are expected to close by mid-March of this year.

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