Monday Morning Minute: Aug. 29, 2022

Union Work

Graphic Packaging Locals Ratify a New Multiple Agreement

USW Locals 807 & 1250 – Graphic Packaging – Phoenixville, Pa. (Valley Forge) & Solon, Ohio 

On Aug. 25, the membership of locals 807 and 1250, representing Graphic Packaging’s Phoenixville, Pa., and Solon, Ohio, converting sites, ratified a new multiple agreement that covers approximately 300 members. A precursor to the master agreement structure that is now prevalent amongst the major companies in the industry, the multiple agreement includes common expiration dates and allows the two locals to use their collective power to bargain certain economic provisions, while maintaining the opportunity to also bargain local agreements with site-specific language.

Together, the locals achieved a competitive wage pattern, improved the weekly S&A Disability benefit, 401(k) match and life insurance coverage, and also moved up vacation time eligibility requirements for new hires. Individually, the sites settled on language around overtime, scheduling and other provisions. Congratulations to the membership of Locals 807 and 1250!

From the USW’s President’s Perspective Blog – Domestic Violence Language

Domestic violence increased significantly with COVID-19 lockdowns, economic strain and other impacts of the pandemic, becoming known as the “shadow pandemic.” In all, about 20 percent of women and 14 percent of men across the United States have experienced “severe physical violence” from intimate partners, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Financial security is key to helping survivors leave abusive partners and stay away from them, and union-negotiated domestic violence leave helps to bridge this need. It provides paid or unpaid time off for court appearances, relocation, counseling and more, enabling survivors to attend to pressing obligations without expending vacation or sick days.

The USW just ratified Master Agreements with two major employers in the paper sector, Domtar and Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), that extend protections and resources to thousands more workers at dozens of mills and box plants. Under these contracts, workers may request changes in working hours, transfer to alternate worksites or vacation pay advances. Or they may request the employer’s assistance with safety planning, such as identifying a hiding place within the worksite or making an escape route. The agreements also call for training, provided with the union’s input, to familiarize workers with the scope of intimate partner violence and the resources available to combat it.

If you’re going to be a proactive union, this is the next step,” observed Bob Garrou, president of USW Local 2-248 and safety coordinator at PCA’s Tomahawk, Wis., mill. “You just never know what’s going on in people’s lives. Maybe we can save some people.”

If the union didn’t fight for all the things we have, who would?” added Garrou, noting organized labor’s successful fights over the years for decent wages, affordable health care and retirement security. “I think it’s really important that we stand together.”

To read the post in its entirety, click the following link:


USW Paper Sector Full-Time Health and Safety Representative Training to be Offered October 3rd through 7th in Pittsburgh

Local leaders in the paper sector will be receiving a call letter for the upcoming USW Paper Sector Full-Time Health and Safety Representative Training that has been scheduled in Pittsburgh, October 3rd through 7th. USW represented facilities that make and convert paper continue to have some of the highest numbers of fatalities and life altering injuries of all USW-represented sites. This course will incorporate current issues, problem-solving and strategic planning aimed at helping full-time USW safety and health representatives/ advocates address hazards and hazardous conditions in the workplace.

Whether the full-time safety representative is new or has served in such a position for many years, this course will provide valuable tools to deal with health and safety issues in their facilities, including but not limited to OSHA regulations, OSHA 300 logs, accident investigation, hazard identification and national labor relations law. The week will also provide the opportunity to learn from other full-time USW safety and health representatives to share best practices to increase member involvement in the union’s safety and health efforts.

Participants will work with labor and management representatives on safety and health committees and others in creating safer, healthier workplaces.

For a copy of the call letter, please contact Samara Rosenberg (; 412-562-2423). 

Industry Update

From Two Sides North America – Paper vs Plastic in a Circular Economy

Creating a truly circular economy is a challenge that requires intent, investment and innovation. The paper industry figured this out decades ago, and it has been at the leading edge of circularity ever since.

Paper manufacturing exemplifies the very definition of circularity – industrial processes and economic activities that are 1) restorative or regenerative by design, 2) enable resources used to maintain their highest value for as long as possible, and 3) aim to eliminate waste through the superior design of materials, products and systems.

Plastic packaging, on the other hand, is made from a variety of plastic resins. These include polyethylene terephthalate (PET) soft drink and water bottles, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk and water jugs, film products (including bags and sacks) made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and other containers and packaging (including clamshells, trays, caps, lids, egg cartons, loose fill, produce baskets, coatings and closures) made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and other resins (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Single-use plastics are incredibly energy-intensive to produce. In fact, plastic production accounts for more than 3 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, and generates large amounts of carbon pollution. They are also a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. solid waste stream and, critical to any discussion of circularity, very little of it gets recycled.

Paper or Plastic? In a Circular Economy, the Answer is Clear - Two Sides North America ( 

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