Monday Morning Minute: Feb. 27, 2017


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

USW Local 2-21 – Verso – Escanaba, MI – Insubordination Arbitration

The employer discharged the grievant for insubordination – he left the mill rather than work mandatory overtime. The grievant had been working a large amount of overtime. He had also been shoved by a much larger coworker earlier that shift. This case is distinguishable from an earlier case where the other grievant worked part of the shift and walked off. Award: split – one week suspension reduced to a one-day suspension.

Digital Media has Environmental Impacts; May not be as “Green”

A recent article in the Washington Post highlights the environmental implications of electronic communications, noting “there’s a whole infrastructure behind every  message, which includes not only the electricity you use but also the energy it takes to store and transmit information through data centers”.

For the entire Washington Post article, click here.

Two Sides Ad in Time Magazine – U.S. Forests Grew by 5,800 NFL Football Fields/Day

Two Sides’ most recent ad appeared as a full page in the recent issue of TIME Magazine – it promotes the great environmental story of print and paper!

Click to view the ad via Twitter.


USW Local 27 – Woodland Pulp LLC – Baileyville, ME – Workers Exposed to Poisonous Gas

On February 16, 2017, a leak of poisonous gas was reported at the mill and resulted in several people being taken to an area hospital as a precaution. 18 people were exposed to chlorine gas at around 10:00 a.m. during a planned maintenance outage at the mill. Of the 18 people affected, 16 were contractors, and 2 were employees of the mill.    All 18 people were in stable condition by 12:30 p.m.

Preliminary information is that the pulper had been bypassed and the crew opened a line that contained chlorine dioxide that they thought had been bled off. Concentrated chlorine dioxide vapor is potentially explosive.  The USW Paper Sector, District 4 and the Health, Safety and Environment Department continue to monitor this situation.

Industry Update

KapStone Acquires South Carolina-based Associated Packaging and Fast Pak

KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation announced that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Associated Packaging, Inc. and Fast Pak, LLC (together, API). API is headquartered in Greer, South Carolina and has 77 employees.

API provides corrugated packaging and digital production needs serving a diverse customer base including an emphasis on fulfillment and kitting for the Automotive and Consumer Products Industries.

U.S. Box Shipments Jumped 2.1% to 376.4 Billion and Showed the Largest Increase in Six Years (Since Great Recession)

Box shipments experienced the largest increase in since 2010, the recovery year from the Great Recession in 2008-2009. Box shipments began to pick up strength in August despite weakness in US consumer nondurable goods production, which declined 0.5% for the year. Box shipments on an average-week basis started out last year flat in the first quarter, rose 0.5% in the second quarter, 1.7% in the third quarter, and jumped 4.8% in the fourth quarter, from the same periods in 2015.

Analysts pointed to growing importance of e-commerce shipments for what seemed to be a shift in the normal seasonal pattern of shipments. The recovery of agriculture on the West Coast, which had the strongest shipment growth for any region, also seemed to be a contributing factor. But even after six years of improvement, box shipments in 2016 were still 28.7 billion ft2 or 7.1% below their all-time peak of 405.1 billion ft2 reached in 1999 – reflecting the loss of manufacturing in the USA.

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Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

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