Monday Morning Meeting: Sept. 11, 2017


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

USW Local and American Roots Wear Show Solidarity with Texas – American Roots and the proud members of USW 366 teamed up with American Roots’ embroidery partner, Threadz, to donate 1,000 blankets/throws/ and garments to the recovery effort in Texas. Threadz is represented by IUPAT DC35. The products are being coordinated with the Texas AFL-CIO relief effort for Union families. 

The Company spent half the week last week shutting down regular production for hurricane production. Shipping of the products began on Friday, September 8th.

American Roots said that, “As a company we are more than happy to help in moments like this with the fellow members of the Labor movement. We mean it. Thanks for all the support.”

USW Local 13-1053 – WestRock – Rogers – AR – Tentative Agreement Reached – On September 8, 2017, the local voted on a new agreement that will improve a number of local items. Relief periods were increased, safety glasses and shoe allowances were increased by $15 and $20, respectively, and shift differential was also increased. Wages on a few job classifications were increased in addition to the wages increases set by the master.


USW Local 175 – Port Townsend Paper Corporation – Port Townsend, WA – Local Union Committee Completes Two-Day Workshop under USW’s Tony Mazzocchi Center project “Preventing Fatalities and Life Altering Injuries While Improving Safety and Health in the Paper Sector.” On August 8th USW LU 175’s leadership and safety committee members participated in the first day of training. On August 9th they were joined by management counterparts for the program titled “Increasing the Effectiveness of Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees.”

Participants discussed strengths of their labor-management safety and health committee, such as members’ mutual interest in the success of the committee, and equal representation between labor and management; as well as challenges the committee faces such as a lack of time for the committee’s workload and a large number of priority items in search of solutions.

The group worked on a process for the committee to be regularly involved in investigating accidents, incidents, near misses and other adverse events, and well as a committee process for regular workplace walk-around inspections and audits. Small groups tackled projects of their choosing, making detailed work plans for getting specific health and safety problems addressed, such as fixing the condition of the haul roads.

Participants’ comments following the sessions included: “Well planned and thought-out program,” “Laid the foundation for our work,” “These tools will be used as a good base for health and safety,” “Good exercises using real examples,” and “We were successful in finding common ground.”

USW LU 175 President, Phil Dupuy describing the plan developed by a small group of Company and Union representatives to give safety representatives time to review report and document in preparation for the monthly labor management safety and health committee meeting.

Small group including mill manager Mike Craft, USW LU 175 President Phil Dupuy and USW LU 175 safety committee member Kelley Guffey formulating plans to improve safety and health at Port Townsend Paper Company.

Industry Update

Graphic Packaging to Close Boxboard Mill in California – Graphic Packaging announced that it would close its coated recycled board mill in Santa Clara, CA by the end of 2017. While this is not a USW-represented facility, 10 facilities comprise the council in the union’s Graphic Packaging council. Additionally, the mill accounts for 6% of coated recycled board capacity and might impact pricing across the industry.

Paper Excellence to Buy Brazil’s Eldorado for $4.7 Billion – The Brazilian holding company, J&F Investimentos SA, accepted a proposal from Netherlands-based Paper Excellence to buy Eldorado Brasil Celulose SA. The sale is for $15 billion including 8 billion Brazilian reais worth of debt (approximately $2.58 billion usd). The transaction will take 12 months to complete.

Consumption of Paper Varies Across US Industries – According to an annual survey conducted by the American Forest & Paper Association, paper and paperboard capacity has been declining 1.3 percent per year since 2001, due in part to displacement from digital communications; however, paper use seems to vary widely across industries.

In banking, consumer behavior shifts have been a driving force in reducing the amount of paper used. Online and mobile banking eliminate the need for paper statements, receipts and deposit/withdrawal slips. In health care, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act required health care providers to adopt and demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic medical records by 2014 in order to maintain their existing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement levels.

Even when people digitize a document, they’re often scared to get rid of the hard copy. In industries where confidentiality is a concern, like businesses that deal with consumer information, there is still a large amount of paper being used.

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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