Monday Morning Minute: March 19, 2018


USW Local 1192, Georgia-Pacific, Foley, Fla.

A member received a finger-tip amputation injury. The preliminary information is that the injured member’s finger was pinched between a six-inch valve and a scaffolding plank after changing out the valve. A manual chain hoist could not be used without having engineering approvals. 

Health, Safety and Environment Staff, Steve Sallman, is remotely assisting the local with their investigation.

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

Georgia-Pacific (GP), International Paper (IP), and Graphic Packaging Council Meetings

The GP, IP and Graphic Packaging Councils have scheduled meetings in Pittsburgh for early May. GP will meet on May 8, IP will meet on May 9, and Graphic Packaging will meet on May 10, but should plan to arrive in time to make a 3 p.m. meeting the day before with IP locals due to common ownership interests. 

As a reminder to those locals and staff who plan to attend, please make your hotel reservations using the following link,, OR by calling 1-877-999-3223 or 412-594-2266 for reservations and refer to the “USW Paper Council Meeting” room block. 

More council meetings will be scheduled in the sector throughout the rest of the year, so stay tuned for more information. 

IP Renewal Bargaining Summit

On March 14, USW Local Leaders and Staff with local agreements expiring between April and July 2018 convened to Company Labor and HR leadership to revisit the goals and aims of renewal bargaining. These sessions are intended to lay the foundation for success local bargaining. 

The locations represented were LU 10-286-73 in Bellmawr, NJ; LU 839 in Biglerville, PA; LUs 1362 & 13-189 in Bogalusa, LA; LU 7-1108 in Butler, IN; LUs 377, 377-02, 378 & 7898 in Georgetown, SC; LU 1-1114 in Middletown, OH; LU 1525 in Mt. Vernon, OH; and LU 2-1033 in Three Rivers, MI. 

Smoking Policy Arbitration Win

The employer unilaterally imposed a smoke/tobacco free policy. The union argued that the contract stipulated that the employer would designate areas throughout the facility where workers could smoke and that they were permitted three smoking breaks during an 8-hour shift. The union also argued that since this was in the contract the employer did not have the right to ban smoking entirely. The employer argued that they determined smoking posed a risk to the mill since smokers violate many of the rules of the smoking areas/breaks and that they had an insurance firm audit the mill which resulted in the same conclusion. The employer also argued that they warned the smokers that if they continued to abuse the rules then the policy would be changed. The arbitrator ruled that the employer was required to negotiate any changes to the smoking policy. Award: grievance sustained. 


Paper Sector Meeting at USW HSE Conference: Mon., March 26, 10-11 a.m.

As a reminder, we will hold a special meeting for all Paper Sector local leaders attending the USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference on Mon,, March 26 from 10-11 a.m. at the Westin Hotel in the Allegheny Ballroom located on the 3rd Floor. The meeting will provide updates on safety and health issues in the Paper Sector, as well as discuss the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center training grants and curriculum that is being worked on to address the Five Critical Hazard Categories where we have experienced fatalities and life altering injuries in the sector. 

USW Local 4-276, Carthage Specialty Paperboard, Carthage, N.Y.: Company Agrees to Pay $175,000 and Improve Worker Safety

OSHA cited the Carthage-based paper company for 62 safety and health violations in June 2017. The agreement requires the company to enhance efforts to prevent hazards associated with machine guarding; lack of fall protection; hazardous energy control; confined space entry; emergency response; and electrical and structural safety issues. 

In addition to paying the citations, the company will also train employees to recognize hazards; make safety and health evaluations a part of management performance appraisals; hire two full-time safety and health staff; perform weekly safety audits; submit periodic abatement progress reports to OSHA; and consent to monitoring inspections for two years.


USW Local 9-1197, Hood Container Corp, New Johnsonville, Tenn.: Hood Container Acquiring Box Plants

The company entered into an agreement this month to acquire Cardinal Container, a Columbus-based full-service box plant, in a deal expected to close March 30. In January, the company bought Ideal Container, a Chicago-based independent converter. The company has been making a string of box plant acquisitions to increase its integration. 

USW Local 654, Graphic Packaging, West Monroe, La.

Company executives say that construction on the new $154 million carton plant and logistics center in Monroe is going well and should be operational by the end of the year. In addition to the new facility, Graphic Packaging is also investing another $120 million in its existing paper mill in West Monroe. Louisiana economic officials estimate that the project will create 160 new jobs in the area. Due to hard work and ongoing efforts in bargaining by the local and international, all of the new jobs created will be secure, good paying jobs. 

Click here to download this Monday Morning Minute as a PDF.

Remember to share Monday Morning Minute in your work place. Share your stories with us by sending information to Laura Donovan at 

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

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