Monday Morning Minute: August 24, 2020

FATALITY & INCIDENT ALERTS

USW Local 731 – Pixelle Specialty Solutions – Chillicothe, Ohio – On August 17, 2020, a member was fatally injured at the Pixelle Specialty Solutions fine paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

USW Local 318-16 – Ron Pak – South Plainfield, N.J. – On August 20, 2020, a member was seriously injured at the Ron Pak paper bag converting facility in South Plainfield, N.J. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

Union Work

Action for the USW Paper Sector

IndustriALL Global Unions Call to Support the Campaign of 38 Indonesian FSP2KI Members Fired at PT. Tanjungenim Lestari Pulp and Paper in Indonesia – IndustriALL and The Federation of Indonesian Pulp and Paper Workers Union (FSP2KI) is looking for support of the 38 workers who are still on strike after a mass dismissal at Indonesian paper company PT. Tanjungenim Lestari Pulp and Paper

This is a union busting attack on workers and all 38 should be immediately rehired.

The workers have been taking action around the clock through difficult weather conditions and even a violent police intervention. Union members were assaulted, beat, and several women union members were sexually harassed. 

We urge you to visit the following website for more information on how to help and show solidarity with these workers: http://www.industriall-union.org/support-picketing-indonesian-paper-workers

From the page you can write to the company, download a support poster, do an overlay on your Facebook profile picture and sign a petition. Please show your support and circulate in your networks.

Is Paperless Communication Really Better for the Environment?

Many bank, utilities and other service providers continue to encourage (and sometimes force) their customers to switch from paper to electronic communications, using claims that electronic communication is “greener,” “saves trees” or “protects the planet” as justification. The explosion of smart phone and electronic devices over the last decade has brought increasing environmental, health and economic consequences

According to the recently released Global E-Waste Monitor 2020, a record 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated in 2019, up 21 percent in five years.

E-waste is described as discarded products with a battery or plug. Small electronic equipment, screens and monitors, small IT and telecommunication equipment comprised more than half of global e-waste last year, and only 17.4 percent of e-waste was collected and recycled.

In addition to the physical threat that e-waste contributes, the infrastructures that support digital technology create an invisible threat, as entities like the ‘cloud’ or the internet use about 1.8 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

The energy consumption required for digital technologies is increasing 9 percent each year, and the share of digital technology in greenhouse gas emissions could double by 2025.

Paper is made from a renewable resource—trees grown in sustainably-managed forests—with a recovery rate of 66 percent in the U.S.

For more information about how paper and electronic communications compare in an environmental sense, cclick here: https://twosidesna.org/US/is-going-paperless-really-better-for-the-environment/.

Safety

USW Hazard Alert – Failed Grating Results in Burns to Foot and Ankle

A USW member prepared to de-isolate a feed from a weak liquor storage tank to a pre-evaporator feed tank. As he stepped on grating installed over a U-drain, a section of grating dislodged and his left foot fell into the U-drain about 18" or mid-way up his calf.

The east edge of the U-drain grating had previous chemical exposure and its integrity was compromised. This caused the grating to shift when it was stepped on. In the U-drain there was a diluted solution of black liquor and hot water flowing from a boil-out process.

The worker suffered first, second- and third-degree thermal burns to the top of his foot and ankle. After receiving immediate first aid from first responders and coworkers, he was quickly transported by ambulance to a medical burn center for further treatment and skin grafting.

Unfortunately, the USW has experienced many incidents regarding U-drain covers and other grating mechanical integrity issues with employers across numerous industries. Too often this hazard, and others, gets normalized.

Click here to see the posted hazard alert: https://www.usw.org/get-involved/hsande/resources/hazard-alerts/HazardAlert_Failed-Grating-Results-in-Burns-to-Foot-and-Ankle.pdf

FM Global Wind (and other) Storm Checklist

FM Global is a property insurance company that provides coverage to large corporations around the world that own valuable property, like paper machines. While the company issues guidance to prevent commercial property damage from occurring across varying situations, the advice can also be extrapolated for those workers manning such machines.

The company recently issued a checklist for facilities that are located in hurricane-prone areas and in the path of hurricane-force winds or heavy rain.

In addition to following any emergency plans set in place, it is also recommended that you do things like map the storm as it forms and stay up-to date on its progress; identify critical areas of your facility and make sure someone on all shifts knows the proper shutdown procedures and is authorized to implement them; arrange backup communications, such as two-way radios or cell phones, and have spare batteries and a diesel-driven emergency generator on-site; and, fill fuel tanks of generators, fire pumps, company-owned vehicles and other liquid storage tanks.

These suggestions are not exhaustive and every facility is unique in its location and processes/procedures. Consider generating your own site-specific checklist; consult FM Global’s list for suggestions: https://fmglobalpublic.hartehanks.com/AssetDisplay?acc=11FM&itemCode=P9308

Industry Update

Green Bay Packaging Beginning Construction of New Corrugator Plant in Tulsa, Okla.

USW Local 9227 – Green Bay Packaging – Tulsa, Okla. – Green Bay Packaging announced that it will begin construction of a new large, 550,000-square-foot corrugator facility in Tulsa, Okla. The new plant will replace the current 180,000-square-foot corrugator facility in Tulsa, which the USW represents. According to the company, the new plant will be equipped with a new corrugator and all new state-of-the-art high speed flexo folder gluers and rotary die cutters. Construction is expected to begin on September 1, 2020, and start up is scheduled for October 1, 2021.

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