Monday Morning Minute: June 3, 2019

Union Work 

USW International Leadership Changes

Leadership changes were announced last week as a result of a series of retirements, including USW International President Leo W. Gerard, Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson and Vice Presidents Jon Geenen and Carol Landry.  President Gerard will be replaced by International Vice President Tom Conway. District 1 Director Dave McCall will fill Vice President Conway’s position.  District 4 Director John Shinn will become secretary-treasurer.  Assistant to the International President Leeann Foster will take over from Vice President Geenen.  Roxanne Brown, the current USW legislative director, will serve as international vice president and replace Carol Landry. The following is a link to the press release issued by the union with more information: https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-announces-changes-in-leadership

Domtar Master Extension Ratification

The USW paper team and Domtar tellers committee are pleased to announce that the 2019 master extension has ratified. In the end, as a council, we improved the industry-standard wage pattern and maintained stability in healthcare and other master-level provisions for the next two years.

Thank you to the local leadership for your hard work in communicating the importance of voting on the master, and special thanks to the tellers committee – Teddy White, Darrell Wall and Gary Hinerman – for their work in counting and tallying all ballots received, and for ensuring transparency throughout the process.

Congratulations, Domtar locals!

Safety

USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference – Hotel Update

The room block at the Westin Hotel is now sold out, but there are still rooms available at three nearby overflow hotels. Copy and paste the following link into your browser for more information on the conference, registration instructions and remaining hotel availability: https://www.usw.org/events/uswcwa-health-safety-and-environment-conference

OSHA Resources to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

Every year, many workers become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some are fatally injured. The papermaking process exposes workers to many forms of heat-related incidents both inside mills in areas like the boiler room and outdoors in places like the wood yard. These illnesses and fatalities are preventable. Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources (e.g., sunlight, hot exhaust), high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing heat-related illness.

Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention. Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, dizziness, and burns from hot surfaces or steam.

For more resources on heat stress and ways to prevent heat-related illnesses, click here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html

Industry Update

USW Locals 304, 1069, 11-63, & 4-9 – Sappi – Allentown, Pa.; Westbrook, Maine; Cloquet, Minn.; & Skowhegan, Maine – 2nd Quarter Financial Results Released

Profit for 2Q2019 totaled $72 million, compared to $102 million during the same time period last year. The company has been working to diversify its product portfolio by increasing sales in packaging and specialties and dissolving wood pulp; however, graphic paper markets were weaker than expected. US coated paper market conditions weakened considerably during the quarter as a result of lower demand. The Somerset mill in Skowhegan and Cloquet mill, both represented by the USW, produce coated paper. The Somerset mill also produces paperboard, and ramped up production on its PM1 machine, resulting in a 68 percent increase in sales volumes.

Moving forward this year, the company plans to invest about $370 million on capital projects through the rest of the year. Some of that will be allocated to the Cloquet mill, as its de-bottlenecking project has recently been completed.

Georgia-Pacific to Invest $120 Million in Locating New Tissue Machine at Naheola Mill

USW Locals 966, 9-950, & 9-952 – Georgia-Pacific – Naheola, Ala.

In late April, Georgia-Pacific announced that the Naheola mill in Alabama was selected as the location for a new tissue machine and roll storage building to support the company’s consumer bath tissue business. The investment will total more than $120 million. The machine will support new bath tissue converting lines that are currently being started up at the mill and will increase capacity. Startup of the new machine is expected next 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.

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