Monday Morning Minute: Feb. 15, 2021

Union Work

PACE International Union Vice President Glenn Goss has Passed Away

We are saddened to learn that former Vice President of PACE International Union Region 9 Director Glenn Goss passed away on January 28 at 88 years old. Glenn was known for being a kind and thoughtful union leader with a memorable sense of humor and unfettered consideration for the membership.

USW International Vice President Leeann Foster said: “Glenn Goss was a wonderful and natural leader with the ability to see to the heart of an issue and communicate around it with grace, ease and even with a bit of humor thrown in. I will never forget him and all the contributions he made to our Union.”

Memories of Glenn and condolences for the family can be submitted at the following link: https://www.legacy.com/funeral-homes/obituaries/name/glenn-goss-obituary?pid=197621994&v=batesville&view=guestbook.

COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Butch Lewis Provision for Direct Aid to Troubled Multi-Employer Pension Plans

The House Ways & Means and Finance committees are busy marking up a package of COVID-19 pandemic relief measures, which would include a provision to bring aid to troubled multi-employer pension funds like the PACE Industry Union Management Pension Fund (PIUMPF). Named the “Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021” and developed from the original Butch Lewis Act proposed in 2019 (also known as the “Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pension Act), the current iteration considers additional economic hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused ailing pension funds. The package generally includes those plans in critical and declining status and plans with significant underfunding with more retirees than active workers in any plan year beginning in 2020 through 2022.

Multiemployer pension plans have been hit hard by past financial crises, structural problems from plant closures, unfair trade and technological advances in industries. We’ve seen this in the paper sector with increased use of email and other electronic communications and its impact on the uncoated free sheet (UCFS) paper market, for example. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept people away from offices and schools, both of which are the major consumers of UCFS. Since multiemployer pension plans are inherently funded by active employers, those that go out of business and close still have pensioners in the fund who rely on their retirement checks to survive, but no longer pay into the fund, which increases the burden on the employers that are still active.

Stay tuned for a USW Rapid Response Action Call to be released in the next day or two including ways for local leaders to direct action to the Senate on passage of the COVID relief bill.

We Supply America – Investing in American Infrastructure

Last Wednesday, February 10, the USW kicked off a union-wide campaign aimed at rebuilding crumbling domestic infrastructure using unionized labor and American-made materials. Rebuilding not only our physical infrastructure – like crumbling roads, bridges, ports and waterways – but also the social infrastructure of our schools, communications networks and public health services, which will both make us safer and put people back to work.

Done right, this will also create long-term economic resiliency as we use American-made materials, invest in our domestic supply chains, build on American ingenuity and provide a secure economic base for generations to come. The project is especially important for members of the paper sector who produce containerboard and other forms of packaging because the industrial components procured for the various infrastructure improvements will be shipped around the country in boxes. It is also important for paper producing mills for invoices, advertising and other products associated with purchasing and shipping.

Look for an email to the sector later this week detailing how you can become involved in this union-wide campaign and make sure that packaging and other paper segments are included in infrastructure projects.

Safety

Updated CDC Guidance Around Quarantining for Vaccine Recipients

Last week, the CDC updated quarantine guidance for people who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are exposed to someone with the virus.

Those who have received two shots of the vaccine and are symptom-free, do not have to quarantine if they have an exposure – if that exposure occurs in the time period of two weeks after they received the last shot up to three months.

Because the vaccines prevent symptomatic COVID-19 infections and symptomatic people are thought to be more contagious, the CDC said the risk of unnecessary quarantine outweighs the potential unknown risk of transmission among vaccinated people.

For full CDC guidance around COVID-19 vaccines, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html.

Industry Update

Twin Rivers’ has Developed New PFAS-Free Food Service Paper Product

Twin Rivers Paper has developed a new product that is free of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS, which are a group of man-made chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s, and are (or have been) found in many consumer products like cookware, food packaging and stain repellants.

The EcoBarrier Plus and EcoBarrier Choice products created by Twin Rivers are an FDA compliant, non-fluorinated line of packaging papers known for stain resistance and printability. EcoBarrier Plus is ideal for greasy food applications such as French fry bags, hamburger and taco wraps, hash brown pouches and microwave food bags. EcoBarrier Choice delivers medium to light grease-resistance for packaging, including cookie bags, sandwich wraps and carryout bags.

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