Monday Morning Minute: April 25, 2022


USW Local 1421 – Kimberly-Clark – Mobile, Ala.

On April 16, a USW member of Local 1421, representing Kimberly-Clark’s Mobile, Ala., pulp and tissue mill was seriously injured while operating a forklift on a steep ramp that descends into the basement. Preliminary information is that neither the footbrake nor emergency handbrake could slow the truck as it picked up speed and the truck stopped after hitting a concrete wall at the end of the ramp.

Emergency Response Team District Coordinator Winston Waite will assist the family. Director of Health Safety and Environment Steve Sallman will assist the local with the investigation.

Union Work

International Paper Mill Master Education and Discussion Sessions Continue

USW Locals 804, 462, 1458, 1978, 1441, 1444, 336, 339, 444, 1561, & 9-447 – International Paper – Rome, Ga.; Prattville, Ala.; Selma, Ala. (Riverdale Mill); Pine Hill, Ala.; & Cantonment, Fla. (Pensacola Mill) – The third of four weeks of education and discussion sessions with International Paper took place last week at the Rome, Ga., Prattville, Ala., Riverdale, Ala., Pine Hill, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., mills. USW paper sector, District 9 and International Paper leadership visited each mill to review the council’s history and context around master bargaining, which dates back to 2007, along with the company’s wage system and benefits issues.

Common themes are emerging across the 11 mill sites visited so far, especially around attraction and retention issues. The group is making progress toward finding solutions to address them with input from local union leaders at each mill.


United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities is Hosting a Free Conference on Workers Memorial Day

In honor of Workers Memorial Day this year, United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities is hosting a free conference on Striving for Workplace Safety. The conference runs between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; subjects covered include: fire safety, aerial lift safety, lead safety and protection, what to expect in OSHA inspections, lessons learned from COVID-19 and protecting workers’ health and rights, and more.

Register now at the following link to submit questions about how to help ensure that every worker returns home safely from their jobs: Striving for Workplace Safety - United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities (

Industry Update

Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka, Fla., and Brewton, Ala., Mills have Earned Prestigious Awards from the United States Environmental Protection Agency

USW Locals 9-33, 941 & 888 – Georgia-Pacific – Palatka, Fla., & Brewton, Ala. – Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka, Florida, consumer products mill and the kraft papermaking department team was awarded the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR Top Project for 2020 for achieving a 40% water reduction in a 10-week period through investments in improved equipment and monitoring.

Additionally, the company’s Brewton, Ala., containerboard mill has been named a 2020 Energy Star Challenge Achiever for Industry by the EPA, a program developed by the agency to recognize individual facilities for volunteering to reduce energy intensity by 10% within 5 years. To earn this recognition, the Brewton mill improved energy intensity by 11.2% in four years, resulting in an annual savings of approximately $2.6 million. Brewton is the fourth paper mill in the U.S. to achieve this designation.

Much of the Brewton mill’s success in energy reduction can be attributed to the 2016 installation of the mill’s recovery boiler and evaporator, which burns residual material from the paper-making process to generate steam to power the mil. The project included a 75-megawatt turbine that can generate enough electricity to serve 60,000 homes.

Graphic Packaging would become more Involved in Community if Agreement is Passed

USW Local 2-1005 – Graphic Packaging – Kalamazoo, Mich. – As part of a proposed Community Benefits Agreement with the city of Kalamazoo, Mich., related to the expansion of its USW-represented mill located in the town, Graphic Packaging would take part in several community initiatives and provide $60,000 in grants. If the agreement is approved, Graphic Packaging would select a community relations liaison who will connect with residents, neighborhood associations, faith-based and other organizations to enhance the facility’s relationship with the community. The agreement would also require that Graphic Packaging hold two job fairs within the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the mill.

The USW worked with Graphic Packaging in 2019 to help to secure the major investment at the Kalamazoo mill. Its $600 million expansion makes the site the largest producer of coated recycled paperboard in North America. For more information on the USW’s involvement with keeping the site operating, watch the following video, aired at last year’s USW National Paper Bargaining Conference:

Tell Us Your Stories!

Has your local done something amazing? Have you had a great solidarity action? Done something huge to help your community? Made significant connections with other labor groups? Is your Women of Steel or Next Gen committee making waves? Have you had success in bargaining, 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

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

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