Monday Morning Minute: April 5, 2021

INCIDENT ALERT

USW Local 1097 – Georgia-Pacific – Wauna, Ore.

On Tuesday, March 30, a USW member of Local 1097 was seriously injured at the Georgia-Pacific mill in Wauna, Ore., working on the tissue baler in the converting area. The member was degloved and sustained hand injuries. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up with more information as it becomes available.

Union Work

Huhtamaki Locals Participate in Coordinated Council Actions in Support of Bargaining at Fulton, N.Y. and Hammond, Ind.

USW Locals 449, 645, 819 & 4-54 – Huhtamaki – Waterville, Maine; Hammond, Ind.; Sacramento, Calif., & Fulton, N.Y. – In late March, the four USW-represented locations within the Huhtamaki Council carried out solidarity actions to show support for members bargaining locally in Fulton, N.Y., and Hammond, Ind. 

On March 22, locals distributed leaflets detailing the challenging bargaining for USW Local 4-54 members in Fulton, N.Y., and the following week, on March 29, sites distributed stickers and leaflets.

For more than a year, members at the Fulton plant have been fighting to get a fair contract with Huhtamaki. The company has demanded changes in health benefits that could dramatically increase what our members pay to care for their families, and offered a substandard contract that falls below what our union has achieved in prior contracts at the other sites. 

The Hammond, Ind., site is next up in the bargaining cycle, so it’s important for the sites to be prepared and stand in solidarity together.

Members from USW Local 819 in Sacramento can be seen in the photo at left and below wearing stickers, and a car sign in Fulton is also featured.

From Two Sides North America – The Lifecycle of Paper Products is Already Circular

In so many fundamental ways, environmental sustainability is baked into the nature of the paper and paper-based packaging industry – from the ability and financial incentive to regrow its primary raw material to the biodegradability of its products. 

As the call for the circularity of product lifecycles is growing louder, paper has always had a head start. Approximately 80 percent of all U.S. paper mills use some recovered fiber to make everything from paper-based packaging and printing papers to newspaper and tissue. The continuing investment in recycling technology allows paper manufacturers to reach further into the wastepaper stream to use fiber that was previously unrecoverable.

While the recycling rate of other materials is as low as the single digits—for example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports the recycling rate for plastics is just 8.7 percent—66 percent of all paper products in the United States and 70 percent in Canada are being recycled.

This is near the theoretical maximum recycling rate when items like hygiene products and long-held items such as archived records and books are excluded. For those grades that can be almost entirely recovered and reused, such as corrugated cardboard boxes, the recycling rates are higher than 90 percent.

Safety

USW COVID-19 Vaccine Information One-Pager

The USW developed an educational, one-page document on COVID-19 vaccinations, addressing their critical role in controlling the spread of the virus and ultimately defeating it.

According to the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, M.D., vaccinating 70 percent to 90 percent of the population can halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus by establishing immunity within our communities. This is sometimes called herd immunity. It is estimated that it will be mid- to late-2021 before we reach the desired level of vaccination for herd immunity.

Vaccines are an important part of effective control against spread in your workplace and community.

Testing, quarantine or isolation, physical distancing, avoiding gatherings, sanitation, hand washing, mask wearing (which mostly protects the wearer from infecting others), the use of N95 or better respirators with proper fit to reduce aerosol transmission, and use of other safety measures, such as ventilation at your worksite, must continue, even after you have been vaccinated to mitigate risks. These control measures are important to protect yourself and others.

While a copy of the one-pager is linked here for your reference, a few points about the vaccines are as follows:

Industry Update

American Eagle Paper Mills to Hire Some Former Employees from Appvion’s Recently Shut Roaring Spring Mill

American Eagle Paper Mills announced that the company is looking to hire former employees of Appvion’s Roaring Spring, Pa., mill, which announced in February that it would be closing just six weeks later. American Eagle Paper aims to hire 10 people at its recycled paper mill in Tyrone, Pa., about 30 miles away from the former Appvion site in Roaring Spring, Pa. Jobs in the paper industry are unique, and the company is looking for employees with prior experience. Those who are interested can apply at the following link: https://aepm.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a2l7fdhgxana.

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 ldonovan@usw.org, 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