Monday Morning Minute: July 8, 2019

Union Work

USW Local 676 – Verso – Luke, M.D.

Last month, the Verso mill in Luke, M.D., shut down after 131 years of operation due to decreased business in the coated free sheet paper market. The local recently held a USW-sponsored Luke mill appreciation day to join together with the community in solidarity around the closure. Local union president of the Luke mill, Greg Harvey, estimated that about 1,500 employees, retirees, members of the community and local politicians showed up to the event.

The community has received national attention as an example of how a closure of this size impacts a town that exists around the mill. The USW New Media Department visited the Luke mill recently to create a new video on the effects of the closure to the community. 

Safety

USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference – Schedule at a Glance

A preliminary agenda is now available for the USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference September 8 – 13. Click the link to view: https://www.usw.org/events/hse2019/HSE2019-schedule.pdf.

Remember the paper sector meeting is scheduled on Monday, September 9 at 5:30 p.m. during the portion of the schedule titled “Evening Meetings.”

Industry Update

Machine Conversion Project at IP’s Riverdale mill

USW Locals 1441 & 1444 – International Paper – Selma, Ala., (Riverdale mill) – International Paper is converting an uncoated free sheet paper machine to produce high-quality, bleached, white top linerboard and containerboard. The new products will be unique high-quality boxes that will double as a shipping container and a highly colorful print product that can sell merchandise at a retail store. Right now, the company buys white top linerboard on the open market. The conversion is expected to be completed in the first quarter next year.

The uncoated free sheet paper market has struggled to maintain price increases that were implemented in March. Shipments are down and imports have increased compared to the same time period last year. The conversion of IP’s machine could help facilitate capacity in the market once the effects are fully realized.

Cascades to Acquire Orchids Paper

USW Locals 4-902, 381, 4867, 42, 1448 – Cascades – Newtown, Conn., Maspeth, N.Y., Schenectady, N.Y., Eau Claire, Wis., Pittston, Pa., Ransom, Pa., & Locals 1480 and 13-390 – Orchids Paper – Pryor, Okla. – On July 1, Cascades Containerboard announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Orchids Paper Company for $207 million. Two integrated mills will be acquired through the sale – one in Barnwell, S.C., and another in Pryor, Okla., which is represented by the USW. The sale is expected to close in August or September of this year.

Cascades products have presence in both the containerboard and tissue markets, both of which have USW-represented facilities. The company has about 90 facilities in North America and Europe. The Orchids mills will fit into Cascades’ tissue asset portfolio and increase its geographical footprint. The Pryor mill will add about 200 members to the Cascades Containerboard Council.

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.

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