Monday Morning Minute: Dec. 18, 2017

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays from the USW Paper Team!

The Monday Morning Minute will resume in January.

Union Work  Collective Bargaining, Organizing, Arbitration, Worker Rights, Community Work, Political Work, Labor History

USW Local 1216-01 – Caraustar – Chicago, IL – New Local Agreement Ratified

The local bargained wage adjustments for almost all job classifications on top of 2% wage increases. They also locked in a minimum contribution from the company on the HSA for the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract. The local also negotiated extra money on the first year of the contract for the HSA and a $300 gross lump sum if employees decide to go with the PPO plan.

From Two Sides N.A. – U.S. Consumers State Print on Paper is Safer, More Secure and Trusted than Digital Media

The latest consumer survey commissioned by Two Sides, “Print and Paper in a Digital World,” highlights interesting consumer feedback on print vs digital. In recent years, there has been an explosion of data breaches in the financial, business and health care sectors. This has made people everywhere sit up and take notice about where and how their important personal data is stored.

It is not surprising then, that the recent Toluna survey commissioned by Two Sides revealed that 78% of U.S. respondents keep hard copies of important documents at home as they believe this is the safest and most secure way of storing their information. A similar number (76%) are increasingly concerned that personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged.

Trusting the news found on digital media has also become increasingly difficult as hoaxes and misleading information pop up on the internet and then are shared on social media. Survey results show that 74% of respondents thought fake news was a worrying trend. In total, 56% said they trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers versus 35% trusting the news stories they read on social media. 64% said they would be very concerned if printed newspapers were to disappear.

The results clearly show that having a printed copy, whether it be a newspaper, an invoice or a health or financial record is generally perceived to be a more secure way of receiving information than its digital counterpart.

To read more on this study, click HERE.


PCA Mills Safety Conference – PCA Mills Safety Conference

PCA Mill local leaders met December 11th-13th in Tampa, FL. The USW Locals met the afternoon before the Conference to prepare for the Conference. The Conference included a review of the triple fatality explosion on February 8, 2017 at the DeRidder mill, progress on the USW Making and Converting Paper Safely Program, machine safeguarding, location safety committee presentations including a discussion of the Right to Act process put into place at each location as a result of the recent Master agreement. The next Conference will be held in conjunction with the USW Safety Conference in March.


Industry Update

USW Local 2-144 – Appleton Coated – Combined Locks, WI – Appleton Coated to Restart Machine

Appleton Coated, which idled its paper mill in Combined Locks in October, restarted a machine on December 11th. The PM #6 machine will is planned to run until spring and will be making mostly brown grades of paper. This machine restart is under Industrial Assets’ ownership.

Approximately 50 workers were recalled to join 38 employees who had been previously retained for mill maintenance, for a total of 88. All of the employees are hourly USW members.

USW Local 1201 – Plymouth Packaging – WestRock to Acquire Plymouth Packaging

WestRock announced on December 12th that it would acquire Plymouth Packaging, a corrugated packaging company that derives approximately 70% of its sales from its “Box on Demand” systems and corrugated fanfold, and 30% from traditional corrugated box packaging.

Plymouth’s “Box on Demand” systems use fanfold corrugated to produce custom, on-demand corrugated packaging that is accurately sized for any product type according to the customer’s specifications. Approximately 40% of the “Box on Demand” systems’ sales are to e-commerce customers.

The acquisition of Plymouth will further integrate the company’s containerboard system. WestRock currently provides one-third of the nearly 60,000 tons of containerboard used by Plymouth annually, and intends to fully integrate these tons after the transaction closes. WestRock expects additional containerboard integration opportunities as the Company serves this growing on-demand packaging market.

China’s Scrap Ban and its Potential Effect on U.S. Recycling Markets

By the start of next year, China is expected to ban imports of 24 types of recycled materials, including mixed paper and various plastics. Beijing notified the World Trade Organization about the ban in July, an announcement that has shaken up world recycling markets and triggered fears of leftover scrap being dumped in U.S. landfills.

A potential upside is that it could prompt U.S. consumers to be more careful about what they discard in recycling bins, reducing the “contamination”. It also could benefit some U.S. companies by providing them with a new, low-cost supply of scrap paper, which can be used domestically to make cardboard and other products.

Although few U.S. consumers may realize it, China has long been the world’s largest purchaser of materials they drop in recycling bins. The Chinese countryside is dotted with villages and businesses dedicated to separating plastics, paper, electronic waste and textiles, and then sending that material to factories for reprocessing.

While export recyclers may suffer, some U.S. paper mills will benefit from the ban, said Brent Bell, Vice President of Recycling for Waste Management, Inc. He also said, “Some of these mills lost a lot of business to China. Some of them will now regain market share and get some of that back.”

For more information, click HERE.

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