Monday Morning Minute: Nov. 19, 2018

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

USW Locals 676, 2-21, 2-94, 2-116, & 2-187 – Verso – Luke, Md.; Escanaba, Mich.; Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.; & Stevens Point, Wis. – Verso Master Tentative Agreement Reached

The Verso Council has been at the bargaining table on and off since December of 2016 to attempt to negotiate new labor agreements in Luke, Escanaba and Central Wisconsin. We are pleased that our efforts and the solidarity of the council led to a tentative new master agreement for the members’ consideration. In the upcoming weeks the locals will be presenting this tentative master agreement to their memberships. Stay tuned for more information in the next couple of weeks about the package. Congratulations to the Verso Council!


USW Locals 1237, 1560, 1676, & 1-220 – PCA – Newark, Ohio; Ashland, Ohio; Middletown, Ohio; Akron, Ohio – PCA Ohio Regional Box Safety Conference

The USW PCA Ohio box locals convened November 15 at the Ashland facility for the first geographical labor/management safety meeting of its kind for box plants within PCA and the paper sector as a whole. Represented at the meetings as well were Ashland, Ohio USW Local 1560; Middletown, Ohio USW Local 1676; Akron, Ohio Local 1-220; and Newark, Ohio Local 1237.

On the agenda were labor/management safety committees and how to make them more effective. These committees are foundational to addressing safety issues in our plants. The parties jointly tackled committee structure, agendas, using the hierarchy of controls to address workplace hazards, workplace changes and inspections, and audits. Pictured below are displays for various products the Ashland Local 1560 members manufacture.



3M received reports about its fall protection. The aluminum reinforcement plate used in the seat sling on certain DBI-SALA ExoFit™, ExoFit XP™ (inc. Arc Flash), and ExoFit NEX™ (inc. Arc Flash) harnesses can become dislodged from the webbing.

In a few instances, the aluminum seat plate separated from the harness and fell to the ground, creating a potential dropped object hazard. There have been no reports of injuries or accidents associated with this condition. The performance of the harnesses is unaffected by this issue—they will perform properly in all respects, including as body support for a personal fall arrest system in the event of a fall, even without the added comfort offered by the seat sling.

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WestRock to Make $345 Million Investment in Kraftliner Capacity

The company plans to add 210,000 tonnes/year of kraftliner capacity in Brazil by March 2021. The $345 million investment will include additional virgin pulping capacity, a new biomass power boiler, a new turbine generator, and the debottlenecking of two paper machines. After the capacity additions, the mill will have a volume of 750,000 tons/year. Construction is expected to begin in February 2019. In August of this year, the WestRock Council met with international delegates from IndustriALL and UNI affiliated unions all over the world, including Brazil, and formed the WestRock Global Union Network. 


Has your local done something amazing? Have you had a great solidarity action? Has your local done something huge to help your community? Has your local made significant connections with other labor groups? Is your Women of Steel or Next Gen committee making waves? Have you had success in bargaining, and done 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 or at 412-562-2504.

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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