About 500 delegates from United Steelworkers (USW) local unions around the country attended the National Paper Sector Policy conference July 10-12 in Pittsburgh to set bargaining and policy goals, objectives and action plans for the next two years. They also elected members to the national paper policy committee.
During the conference, delegates met in their respective company councils to determine their key objectives and actions. This information, which included mandatory and primary goals to confront challenges and trends in the industry, is the foundation of the Paper Sector Policy that was unanimously adopted at the conference as its blue print for action for the next two years.
“We are proud of the work of our members in the paper sector. They have made a generation of progress in the seven short years since the merger, despite a very difficult economy,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The unity, activism and hard work of our members have led to stability in the industry, and equally important has ensured that our members’ jobs remain some of the best manufacturing jobs in America!”
Health and safety initiatives, driven by ongoing fatalities and life-altering incidents in the industry, were a central focus of the conference. All members attended a workshop on safety, and they heard Local 274 leaders tell what happened on Memorial Day this year when an explosion killed one worker and severely injured four others.
“Despite the fact that the industry has invested millions in programs that seem to reduce the number of injuries reported, the overall rate of fatalities and life-altering injuries appears to remain unchanged over decades,” said USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, who heads the union’s paper sector. “That is why we must focus on strengthening these efforts by engagement and innovation at all levels in every company ... more