Monday Morning Minute: Jan. 22, 2018


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

3,000 White-Collar Paper Workers in Finland Reached Agreement before Striking

On Monday January 15th, Finnish Paper Union, Pro, scored a victory after steadfast resistance from its members. Both trade union Pro and employers’ association, Finnish Forest Industries, approved the mediation proposal of the National Conciliator for the paper sector’s white-collar employees to increase salaries, and all strike actions were immediately cancelled. Pro succeeded in securing a pay raise for workers and resisted employers' demands to weaken the industry-wide collective agreement.

From Two Sides North America – Here is a Quick Recap of the Top 5 Favorite Items of 2017:

  1. The latest infographic “Going Paperless May Not be Greener”:
  2. Print and Paper in a Digital World - An International Survey of Consumer Preferences, Attitudes and Trust:
  3. Paper grows trees…quite fast:
  4. Global Study: Most people highly value paper and print:
  5. Two Sides Global Anti-greenwash Campaign: 278 leading companies remove misleading “go green” claims:

The most visited website sections were by far:



CSB Releases Final Report into Chemical Release at MGPI Industries; Report Emphasizes Key Safety Lessons to Prevent Future Inadvertent Mixing Incidents

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released its case study titled “Key Lessons for Preventing Inadvertent Mixing During Chemical Unloading Operations,” which examines a mixture of incompatible materials at the MGPI Processing Plant in Atchison, Kansas on October 21, 2016. The mixture resulted in a chemical release containing chlorine and other compounds that traveled into the community. The CSB’s investigation examines several key issues including the design of chemical transfer equipment, automated and remote shut off systems, and chemical unloading procedures.

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “High risk operations, like the delivery and handling of hazardous chemicals, require strict adherence to safety protocols. An inadvertent mixture can result in a chemical reaction with extremely dangerous consequences. Our findings reaffirm the need for facilities to pay careful attention to the design and operation of chemical transfer equipment to prevent similar events.”

For more information go here.

CSB’s safety video detailing the events leading to the release and featuring interviews by the CSB’s lead investigator and Chairperson 


Industry Update

USW Local 445 – Flambeau River Papers – Park Falls, WI – Company to Shut Down UCFS Paper Machine and Layoffs to Occur

On January 5, 2018, the Company shut down its no. 3 uncoated free sheet paper machine at the mill. The machine made office/copy, offset, and laser bond paper. The machine was the largest of three machines at the mill with a capacity of 78,000 tons/yr, according to Risi.

The Company will lay off 82 of their 300 employees due to the shut. CEO William (Butch) Johnson said that "Paper prices in the commodity grades have really gone down while pulp prices have gone up. And it just became a financial drain on the mill to be able to continue much longer."

McDonald’s to Stop Using Plastic Foam Cups

Quoting McDonald's website, the Chicago Tribune reported that the company is planning to stop using plastic foam cups and eliminate foam packaging from its global system by the end of 2018. The website also indicates that fast food chain will opt to use recycled and certified sources for all of its fiber-based packaging by 2020.

It’s the first time that McDonald’s has openly committed to a deadline to completely stop using polystyrene drink containers, which are eco-unfriendly and nearly impossible to recycle. The containers for its large cold drinks represent a mere 2 percent of its packaging, which still comes out to millions of dollars and cups annually.


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