Monday Morning Minute: July 17, 2017


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

From USW Rapid Response – 60,000+ USW Members Sign Petitions to Protect Overtime

Thank you to every local, member and retiree who took the time to carry out this action. Meetings with Senate Offices are ongoing and will continue into the summer. Our goal is to ensure that the bill doesn’t get any traction in the Senate.

Petitions are being delivered as part of meetings with Senators right now. While there are no signs of the Comp Time bill moving in the Senate yet, that could change quickly with this year’s unpredictable legislative environment. We hope our efforts ensure this bill doesn’t see ANY action.

We know that this has been a busy year. It seems like every week we’re asking for people to sign a petition, make a phone call, go to a meeting and more. If our efforts didn’t make a difference, we wouldn’t ask. As they say, we know that “if we’re not at the table, we’ll be on the menu.” Many times USW members are the only voices weighing in on an issue. If your local didn’t participate in this action, we need you moving forward and are asking for your involvement. Please reach out to your Rapid Response Coordinator for assistance in building your program today. Click HERE to find your Rapid Response Coordinator.


USW Local 675 Units 105 & 68 – New-Indy Oxnard in Oxnard, CA & International Paper in Santa Fe Springs, CA – Two Paper Units Participate in First Safety Training Under the USW’s Harwood Grant

The two Paper Sector units completed “Increasing the Effectiveness of Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees” training programs at the local 675 Union Hall.  Both groups developed specific plans for improving safety and health and their facilities.

During the labor-management day of the class, the IP Unit noted that there was a lack of time set aside to prepare for the monthly labor-management safety and health committee meetings. Such preparation, including time to discuss and identify priority items and develop proposed solutions, would help greatly with the effectiveness of the monthly meeting.

A resolution came in the form of a decision endorsed by all to allot one hour for the union members of the committee to meet and prepare before the labor-management safety committee meeting; management would also have that time set aside prior to the meeting to prepare. The group also came up with detailed plans to address several serious safety and health problems currently present in the facility.

Pictures from the recent training:


OSHA and NIOSH Offering Updated Heat Safety App

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and OSHA have collaborated to update OSHA’s original Heat Safety Tool. The updated app, available for both Android and iPhone, provides a clearer user interface, while still providing the same information to help keep workers safe when working outdoors in hot weather.

Employers should encourage workers exposed to hot and humid conditions to use the app to check the heat index and relevant protective measures. The app displays the heat index in the user’s location and shows the current risk level. The app also forecasts the hourly heat index throughout the entire workday, giving employers information they can use to adjust the work environment as needed to protect workers.

The original OSHA app will no longer function after September 30. To download the updated app and get more information on OSHA’s efforts to help protect workers from the heat, copy and paste the following link into your browser, click HERE.

 Industry Update

USW Local 1488 – International Paper – Franklin, VA – IP Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of Restarting Franklin Mill

In 2012, International Paper restarted the facility in Franklin, VA, which had closed in 2010. Recognizing an opportunity to restart a mill in good proximity to shipping ports, the Company converted systems and equipment from producing uncoated freesheet paper to instead produce fluff pulp.

The past five years have proven successful for the mill.Repurposing the site’s existing F4 paper machine asset, which previously produced uncoated free sheet, allowed International Paper to invest in a facility with good assets and great people. The strong business case for this uniquely American product made from Southern Yellow Pine has helped meet a global market demand and further strengthened the company’s presence in the worldwide fluff pulp market.

USW Local 11-63 – Sappi – Cloquet, MN – Sappi and Farmers Work Together on Green Initiatives

The Sappi mill in Cloquet, MN began environmentally efforts years ago to prolong the use of an on-site landfill used as a means of getting rid of waste produced at the site.

In 2004, officials calculated that they had eight years to go until the landfill became full. As new landfill permits in the state of Minnesota are difficult to get, the mill began efforts to reduce waste. Within a year, they went from 126,000 cubic yards of material down to 95,000 the following year.

The program that has made the biggest difference is the mill’s “beneficial use” program, which began around 2005. Local Sappi officials work with the Carlton County Extension Agency and local farmers to take the mill’s byproducts — lime mud and boiler ash — and put these materials on the farmers’ fields to increase the soil pH to levels best suited for growing the kinds of crops they’re trying to grow.

To read more about the Sappi Cloquet mill’s efforts to save money and become more environmentally friendly, click HERE.

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