Monday Morning Minute: July 10, 2017



Domtar – Kamloops, BC

On June 29, 2017 shortly before 3:00pm, an employee of Domtar in Kamloops, BC, Canada was killed and another was injured after an accident involving heavy equipment occurred. While USW does not represent this particular facility, we do represent 9 facilities across the United States.

The complete details are unknown at this time but preliminary information is that an employee was in the process of securing a mobile crane boom when, for unknown reasons, a portion of the boom fell and struck him. He was knocked off the crane platform and fell approximately 4 feet to the pavement. He received extensive injuries from which he eventually passed away.

The second individual involved in the incident also sustained an impact to his upper body. He was treated for bruising and was under observation for some time at the hospital.

We have been in communication with Domtar and hope to be able to communicate root causes when they are known.

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

New PCA Box Master Ratified

The 24 PCA Box locations ratified a master agreement securing long-term protection of most important benefits, including medical insurance through the life of each local agreement negotiated under the master and wage increases of 2.5% each year of the agreement.  The agreement also secured a “right to act” process at each workplaces and organizing gains to allow the USW on-site in areas such as cafeterias or breakrooms campaigns to organize non-union facilities. 


USW Local 8-1013 – Georgia Pacific – Big Island, VA – Virginia OSHA Cites Company after Hazards Cost Worker’s Life

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program issued $84,000 in penalties to Georgia Pacific in Big Island for safety violations discovered after a fatal incident in November. VOSH inspectors determined that the Company had removed a nip roll guard from a floor opening, and six days later, a USW member who was servicing a paper machine fell through the unguarded hole into a pulp tank and drowned. VOSH inspectors issued citations totaling $84,000 to the company for two serious and one willful violation.

WestRock in Covington, VA Fined by Virginia Department of Labor and Industry

On October 6, 2016, a contractor was killed at WestRock in Covington, VA when a manhole cover on a pressure vessel unexpectedly blew open and struck him. It was found that bolts used to keep the cover closed had been over-tightened and stripped the threads causing the door to become unfastened. The Company was cited $7000 for what was determined to be a serious violation of occupational safety rules.

To prevent similar incidents in the future, the agency recommended that WestRock management create a program to regularly inspect the manholes and train employees on the proper way to tighten bolts to keep them securely closed.

Industry Update

WestRock to Acquire Island Container Corp. and Combined Container Industries LLC

WestRock announced on June 21, 2017 that it would acquire two independent producers of corrugated boxes, sheets and point-of-purchase displays. The assets to be acquired include a corrugator and the corrugated converting operations located in Wheatley Heights, New York, and certain related fulfillment assets located in Saddle Brook, New Jersey.    

USW Local 9-33 – Georgia Pacific – Palatka, FL – Company to Invest $400 Million in Mill

Georgia Pacific’s Mill located in Palatka, FL will receive a new paper machine, converting equipment and infrastructure expected to help grow the Company’s tissue and towel business. The $400 million investment will add 80 permanent jobs to the 850 existing workers at the mill.

Engineering on the plant will begin immediately, and construction is expected to begin at the end of 2017. The new equipment is expected to be up and running by the end of 2019.

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