Monday Morning Minute: Jan. 30, 2017



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

On January 17, 2017, a USW member of local 2-00144 was seriously injured while working at Appleton Coated LLC in Combined Locks WI. The complete details are unknown at this time but preliminary information is that the employee slipped while spreading ice-melt on a walking surface. He fell and hit his head on the ground as a result. The employee was transported to Theda Care Regional Medical Center in Neenah WI. 

Emergency Response Team District Coordinator Chris Harris will assist the family.  Health Safety and Environment Staff Steve Sallman will assist the local with the investigation.

USW Local 13-1480 – Orchids Paper Products – Pryor, OK

On January 21, 2017, a USW member of local 13-1480 was seriously injured while working at Orchids Paper in Pryor OK. The complete details are unknown at this time but preliminary information is that the alarm on the shuttle trolley was not working and it struck the victim in the foot as it moved. She was not facing the machine as she training a co-worker. The trainee tried to pull her out of the way, but her foot was not able to clear the machine.

Emergency Response Team District Coordinator Lee Morine will assist the family. Health Safety and Environment Staff Steve Sallman will assist the local with the investigation.

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

USW Welcomes Commerce Department Ruling Imposing Duties on Truck and Bus Tires from China

The DOC investigation was in response to a petition the USW filed a year ago alleging that truck and bus tires from China were benefitting from illegal government subsidies and were being dumped in the United States at below-market prices. The DOC said it found evidence to support both claims and imposed dumping margins on Chinese importers ranging from 9 percent to 23 percent and subsidy rates ranging from 40 percent to 65 percent.

“This ruling is a major victory for American rubber workers, their families and their communities. Every sector of the U.S. tire industry has been under siege from China’s unfair and illegal trade practices,” said USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson, who chairs the union’s national rubber and tire bargaining conference.


USW Local 646 – PCA Valdosta, GA Mill – Safety Review of 2016 and Looking Forward in 2017

At the request of PCA’s Valdosta Mill manager and USW Local Union #646 President, Eric Jarvis, the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department representative, Steve Sallman, was invited to the mill January 10-12, 2017.

On January 10th, Steve went through the mill to see the operations and talk with hourly and salary employees about safety in the industry and their workplace. On January 11-12 a series of six mandatory sessions were held for all hourly and salary employees in the workplace.

Each session included a presentation by the mill’s safety manger around the Right-To-Act, leading and lagging indicators, recognizing the mills accomplishments in 2016 and the 2017 safety plans. The USW and PCA have been working collectively to accomplish their action plans and develop the 2017 safety plan as part of the Labor-Management Safety Roundtable discussions bargained by PCA and the USW

Steve provided an update on the USW’s Paper Sector; the fatality rates, hazards in the industry that have led to fatalities and life altering events. The local union also conducted a one page survey during the sessions to get feedback on the health and safety systems in the mill and gather any concerns the hourly and salary employees have.

The sessions helped to engage all employees to; identify hazards, predict what can happen, know what corrective actions to take (including the application of the Hierarchy of Controls and Systems of Safety), and how PCA and the USW works together to take action in preventing potential injuries in the mill.

Industry Update

USW Locals 444, 1561 & 9-447 – International Paper – Cantonment, FL (Pensacola Mill) – A few More Details on the Explosion at the IP Pensacola Mill 

Second Fire at Domtar Kamloops Plant

In January 17th, Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to a small industrial fire at the Domtar pulp mill. The call came in around 9:00pm to respond to a fire at the steam plant. Domtar’s own emergency response crew was on scene quickly in response to the blaze.

The fire began when oil from a line sprayed on a hot steam pipe, causing ignition. Surrounding insulation subsequently caught fire. There was minimal damage and no injuries.

Fire Department Officials have also completed an investigation of a larger fire that occurred on January 4th at the same mill. While it was originally thought to have resulted from dust build-up, an investigator said that the fire started when welding sparks were thrown farther by an industrial heater toward a wall. Some wood fiber was present in the steel-clad walls and caught fire.

WestRock Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Multi Packaging Solutions for $2.28 Billion and will Divest Home, Health and Beauty Business to Silgan

On January 24, WestRock announced that a definitive agreement has been reached to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Multi Packaging Solutions for $18/share in cash and the assumption of $873 million in net debt for a total value of $2.28 billion.

Multi Packaging Solutions product offering includes premium folding cartons, inserts, labels and rigid packaging, and it serves a diverse blue chip customer base, primarily in the growing consumer and healthcare sectors. MPS operates globally through 59 locations across North America, Europe and Asia.

Strategically, the transaction will allow for broadened product capabilities and expanded presence in end markets as well as operational synergies and margin expansion. The deal is expected to close 3Q fiscal year 2017.

WestRock also announced that it will divest its Home, Health and Beauty business for $1.025 billion to Silgan. The business segment produces dispensing systems and closures for the global home care, lawn and garden, personal care, beauty, fragrance and healthcare markets. The transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2017.


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