Monday Morning Minute: Aug. 1, 2022

Union Work

USW Secures Domestic Violence Language in New Domtar and PCA Master Agreements

Domestic and family violence and abuse, if not addressed with support and compassion, can have serious negative impacts on survivors’ health, safety and economic security. The good news is that sound strategies and policies can alleviate these risks and help survivors get back on track. This is why domestic violence language was prioritized in the latest master agreements with Domtar and Packaging Corporation of America (PCA). 

Last summer, in 2021, sector leaders began looking at similar language already in place in Canada and recruited the help of District 1 Assistant to the Director Teresa Cassady, who is an advocate for domestic violence survivors, and is a survivor herself.

“This language is life-changing for members going through domestic violence in that they will know their job will be there if and when they need to go to a safe place or while they are going to court,” said Cassady. “It gives them one less thing to worry about.”  

The goal of the language is to provide proactive support and training for everyone within a workplace, leave language, and a process for getting that language that is supportive while maintaining a high level of confidentiality for those involved. Union leaders developed the majority of the language during the virtual National Paper Bargaining Conference later that year, through freshly appointed members of the Policy Committee, and introduced it that week during a town hall focused on women in the industry, hosted by Vice President Leeann Foster. 

“Everyone was supportive, including company leaders,” said Breahn Quigley Knackert, USW key staff for the paper sector. “We knew we were on the right path.”

The union proposed the language for the first time in October 2021 with Domtar, followed by PCA mills and then PCA converter plants. 

Click the following link to review key components of the language:; and here to view Teresa Cassady’s testimony of surviving domestic abuse. 


New USW-Developed “Bargaining for Stop Work Authority to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives” Publication Now Available

Stop Work Authority, known as the right to act in the paper sector, is the right of workers to stop unsafe work and processes until the potential hazard is thoroughly investigated and abated to the satisfaction of workers. The USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department developed the new guide on Stop Work Authority that is now available. The groundbreaking publication, entitled, “Bargaining for Stop Work Authority to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives” is the first and most comprehensive guide of its kind designed to help workers, union representatives and safety professionals develop programs that empower workers to help direct the cessation of unsafe operations and processes until hazards are resolved.

Included in the guide is a USW template of model language for Stop Work Authority and the Right to Act, with which the USW paper sector should be familiar. Both processes involve stopping a job/task/process that is believed to be unsafe/unhealthy and identifying, preventing and controlling the hazards – short- and long-term. If you see something that is unsafe and/or unhealthy, you should say and do something without fear of consequences.

To access and download the publication, click the following link:

International Paper Mill Joint Health and Safety Conference in Houston

Last week, Local leaders and staff of International Paper mills met in Houston, Texas, for the company’s 12th Annual Joint Labor/Management Health and Safety Conference. Postponed for the past two years due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, the conference took place over three days—a union session on day one, followed by two days of labor/management sessions.

The union meeting began with site reports of hazards on the job that could cause a fatality or life-altering injury, and then moved into discussion around developing safety proposals and building an action plan. Todd Conklin—who many across the sector may recall for his renowned work around Human Organizational Performance (HOP) and the New View of Safety and as a speaker at the 2018 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference—also addressed the group. Photos from the union-only session are below.

Days two and three of the conference were comprised of joint sessions and workshops around Right to Act, hazard mapping and learning events. The conference concluded with an award given to Chris Smith from USW Local 1444, representing the Riverdale mill located in Selma, Ala., for his candid presentation around mental health. More photos from the joint labor/management sessions are included below.

Industry Update

Georgia-Pacific Announced a $34 Million Investment to Upgrade its Bradford, Pa., Box Plant

USW Local 10-583 – Georgia-Pacific – Bradford, Pa. – Georgia-Pacific announced that it will be making a $34 million expansion project at its Bradford, Pa., box plant. The investment includes a new corrugator, two new converting lines, and upgrades to the shipping department to modernize the site’s operations and help the plant operate more efficiently.

The new corrugator is anticipated to start as soon as first quarter 2023. Local 10-583 represents approximately 100 USW members at the Bradford plant. The project will help to ensure the site’s longevity and keep good-paying union jobs in the area as part of the rapidly growing containerboard market. 

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

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Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

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

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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