Monday Morning Minute: Jan. 11, 2021

FATALITY ALERT

USW Local 1488 – International Paper – Franklin, Va.

On December 16, a member of USW Local 1488 was fatally injured while operating a woodyard crane at the International Paper mill in Franklin, Va. At this time, it is unclear exactly what caused a catastrophic failure of the crane’s structure that caused it to fall approximately 100 feet to the ground during normal operations. We will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

INCIDENT ALERTS

USW Local 2-20 – Ahlstrom-Munksjo – Kaukauna, Wis.

On December 29, a member of USW Local 2-20 was seriously injured while changing filters in the dust collector for the mill’s lime kiln. The complete details are unknown at this time, but preliminary information is that the member was exposed to lime through inhalation. Corrective actions include reorganizing the work to reduce the exposure and implementing a respiratory program which implements the use of powered air purifying respirators (PAPR).

USW Local 895 – WestRock – Mesquite, Texas

On December 30, a member of USW Local 895 suffered an amputation at the WestRock box shop in Mesquite, Texas, while working on a flexo machine at the operator position. 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

United Paperworkers International Union President Wayne Glenn Passed Away

We are saddened to announce that, on Sunday, January 3, United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU) President Wayne Glenn passed away at 97 years old. Glenn served as UPIU president for 18 years, beginning on July 31, 1978, when he was elected as acting president; In October of the same year, the ‘acting’ designation was dropped and he was elected international president.

Glenn began his extensive career in the paper sector and labor movement while working at the International Paper mill in Camden, Ark., after returning home from U.S. Naval service in WWII. His first union office was recording and corresponding secretary of Local 355. His union activity led to an appointment as international representative for the [predecessor union] International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers on May 1, 1957; in September of 1965 at the union’s convention in New York City, he was elected as a vice president.

He also held nearly every office within the Arkansas State AFL-CIO, including secretary-treasurer, executive secretary and president. In 1978, he was notably appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations.

USW International President Tom Conway said that Glenn served as a mentor to many in the labor movement by devoting his life to the service of others and to his country. “In the labor movement in particular, we recognize that everything we achieve is possible because of the hard work, dedication and sacrifices made by those who came before us,” Conway said. “We are proud to honor Wayne Glenn's legacy by continuing to fight for all workers.”

Glenn’s Executive Assistant Gordon Brehm said, “Wayne Glenn was the finest person I ever worked for. He truly loved people and devoted his life to helping working families.”

If you would like to share your memories of Wayne and/or leave messages for the family, please do so through the funeral home website at the following link: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/brentwood-tn/wayne-glenn-9983048.

USW Applauds Biden’s Picks for Labor and Commerce Secretaries

On January 7, President-elect Joe Biden announced two nominees to his cabinet – Marty Walsh for Labor Secretary and Gina Raimondo as Secretary of the Department of Commerce. USW International President Tom Conway issued the following statement about Biden’s picks:

“The Departments of Labor and Commerce are both important for protecting workers and their jobs. Joe Biden’s choices of Marty Walsh and Gina Raimondo to lead these departments continue to demonstrate his commitment to advancing the interests of working people.

“As a longtime union member and former leader of the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council, Walsh understands the value of a hard day’s work and a collectively bargained contract. Given Walsh’s commitment to workers’ rights, including the right to organize, he will undoubtedly use the office of Labor Secretary to continue fighting on behalf of all working people.

“Governor Raimondo will also be an important ally to President-elect Biden in ensuring the effectiveness and impact of his Build Back Better program…. She focused on jobs and business development, which will be important to economic recovery and, with the underlying emphasis on fair trade and good jobs of the President-elect, her stewardship over the Department of Commerce’s trade responsibilities should help promote economic recovery in key trade-impacted industries.”

To read the full press release, click here: https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2021/usw-applauds-biden-picks-for-labor-commerce-secretaries

Safety

Report a Workplace Health and Safety Issue Related to COVID-19

For those whose workplaces are low on personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies, how is your facility handling the shortage?

Click here to log any issues at your facility with the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department: https://www.usw.org/members/coronavirus-resources/take-action/report-a-workplace-health-and-safety-issue-related-to-covid-19.

Industry Update

Nekoosa has Acquired Appvion’s Carbonless Sheet Business

USW Local 2-469 – Appvion – Appleton, Wis. – Earlier this month, Nekoosa acquired Appvion’s carbonless sheet business, including USW-represented operations located in Appleton, Wis. Carbonless paper is used to make end-products like medical reports, parking tickets, purchase orders, etc.

Owned by New York City private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners, Nekoosa originally began as a division of 3M. Appvion will continue to focus more heavily on its existing businesses producing thermal and specialty coated paper at its remaining fully integrated pulp and paper mill in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania. The transaction is expected to take a few months to complete, and will impact nearly 300 USW members who work at the Appleton facility.

Domtar Personal Care Business to be Sold to Private Equity Company, American Industrial Partners

On January 8, Domtar announced that it agreed to sell its personal care business to American Industrial Partners – a private equity company based in New York City. The sale does not involve any USW-represented locations, but focuses the company on the products that our membership does make, like containerboard, paper and fluff pulp.

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