International Paper Fatality, Bratsk Mill, Russia – An employee of the IP Bratsk mill in Russia died from injuries sustained in an incident that occurred on Sunday, February 17 at 9 p.m. The employee was a shift supervisor in the Tall oil department of the old pulp mill area with 11 years of experience on the job. She had a husband and two adult children. She was attending to a process upset in a sulphate soap breakdown reactor. A lot of steam started coming out of the reactor. She fainted close to the reactor, and was discovered without the required respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE). It is suspected that the steam contained hydrogen sulfide. An investigation is ongoing to understand the causes of the incident.
Union Work – Collective Bargaining, Organizing, Arbitration, Community Work, Labor History
RockTenn, Denver, CO, Local 12-710 – PAC Check-Off Language - Congratulations to the bargaining committee at the Denver RockTenn location for successfully obtaining PAC check-off language in their latest negotiations with the company. Not only did the committee obtain the language, but the company also agreed there would be no charge for the check-off. Other locals wishing to achieve such language should contact Leeann Foster through their Staff Representative.
Wausau Paper, Brainerd, MN, Local 11-22 - Trade Adjustment Assistance – Wausau filed a petition on December 28, 2012 for Trade Adjustment Assistance for the Brainerd, MN converting operation including on-site leased workers from the Employment Resource Center. On February 7, 2013 the Department of Labor notified the company that Brainerd employees are eligible to apply for Worker Adjustment Assistance.
Domtar, Ashdown, AR, Local 13-1327 – Safety Violation Arbitration - The employer discharged the grievant for safety and misrepresenting the facts when his clamp truck struck an angle iron and caused a 3,000-pound paper roll to go airborne. There were two incidents of bad driving. He was charged with lying in the investigation. Insufficient progressivity in the discipline Award: split – termination converted into a suspension. Reason for discharge: safety. FMCS # 10-0007-3
MeadWestvaco, Evadale, TX, Local 801 - Safety Violation Arbitration - The employer suspended two grievants for 15 days for a safety violation – failing to close a valve that the employer argued caused an explosion in the dryer. The dryer flung shrapnel through the mill and the dryer fell through the floor. No one was hurt or killed. The union noted that the evidence was purely circumstantial. The union had an alternative theory, based on the employer‘s own report on the incident, that it was the order to put the steam in the automatic mode that led to the explosion. The grievants gave uncontested testimony that they did not leave the valve out. Award: grievance sustained. Reason for discipline: safety. FMCS # 09-55977.
NewPage Cutting 300 U.S. Jobs – NewPage announced Tuesday, February 19 that they will be cutting about 300 jobs nationwide due to declining sales, or about 5% of the work force. Cliff Bowers at the Wisconsin Rapids, WI mill said there will be jobs cut at every mill. The USW represents workers at 6 (7 locals) NewPage locations: Wickliffe, KY; Escanaba, WI; Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Luke, MD; Rumford, ME; and Stevens Point, WI.
Boise, Wallula, WA, Local 12-990 – New Machine - Boise’s converter operation in Wallula recently had a new high-speed flexo machine brought in to replace two older converting machines. The company says the installation of the new machine should improve efficiency through reduced set-up time and lower operating costs. The company also rebuilt a corrugator at its Salt Lake City, UT plant and plans to start up a new corrugator at its Waco, TX facility in the third quarter. According to Alexander Toeldte, President and CEO, they plan to continue making investments in their packaging system to meet customer needs, grow with their customers, and ensure that their facilities are safe, efficient, and cost competitive.
KapStone: Deutsche Bank Analysis February 15, 2013 - KapStone reported a weaker-than-expected Q4. With increased exports, price realizations were lower than Duetsche Bank expected. Financially, they remain quite strong with Net Debt/EBITDA at 1.9x and 2013 benefits from autumn 2012 containerboard hike & US Corrugated acquisition synergies. KapStone has made 3 mill acquisitions and has the balance sheet & bank availability to pursue further growth.
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