Monday Morning Minute: July 19, 2021

Union Work

Virtual Paper Conference Begins Tomorrow

This year’s virtual Paper Bargaining Conference kicks off tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. eastern. All registrants should have received an email containing a link to the conference event hub. The event hub is where you can find all of the information you need for attending the conference, including your personalized agenda for the week, start times for each session, notifications about the event, meeting links and more.

If you have questions about the event hub or Conference registration, you may contact the attendee support desk July 20 through July 22 from 9:00 a.m. eastern to 9:00 p.m. eastern:


Phone: +1 833 520 2103

There is still time to register if you have not done so already. Registration is open through the start of the conference. Click here to register: Summary - USW Paper Bargaining Conference - "Nothing Can Stop Us" (; and, if you need your local’s voucher code, please contact Laura Donovan (; 412-562-2504).

Paperworker Attendance at 4th of July Celebration at White House

USW Local 1237 – Packaging Corporation of America – Newark, Ohio – On July 4th, the White House held its first in-person event – a picnic, honoring essential workers and military service members. The USW received two invites, one of which was extended to Mike Noll, president of Local Union 1237 representing Packaging Corporation of America’s Newark, Ohio, box shop, and the other to a USW member from the health care sector.

Mike was a standout political casual from August through November last year. Regarding his political work, Mike said, ”We made a lot of phone calls, dropped a ton of literature at union homes, built signs, and filled out postcards till my hand didn’t work anymore.” And, even after contracting COVID towards the end of the campaign, his activism continued. “[I] couldn’t really catch my breath, but I did a ton of postcards. I got my son to help with a lot of it. If the union asks me to help, I pretty much do everything I can to be there.

“It was an amazing experience and a huge honor to be chosen,” he added.


Paper Sector Arbitration Award Win

USW Local 654 – Graphic Packaging – West Monroe, La. – The employer stopped picking up half of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation (FMCS) fee for producing a panel. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and past practice dictated that the employer pays half the panel fee, but the new labor relations manager denied paying the fee when the union appealed to arbitration. The language said that “the fee and expenses of the impartial arbitrator shall be shared and paid equally by the Company and the Union.” The arbitrator ruled that the panel fee is included. Award date: 5/13/21; hearing date: 1/28/21 via Zoom.

If you would like to see a full copy of this award, please contact Laura Donovan (; 412-562-2504).


News on OSHA Inspection Guidelines under Emergency Temporary Health Care Standard

New inspection procedures for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for health care, which took effect June 21, were detailed in an agency compliance directive released at the end of June. Enforcement of the standard began July 6.

The emergency rule requires many health care employers to implement a written COVID-19 infection prevention program, report COVID-19 cases to OSHA, and pay workers when a confirmed or suspected diagnosis makes them unable to work. The plans must cover areas of concern such as controls for aerosol-generating medical procedures, physical distancing, physical barriers, personal protective equipment, cleaning, disinfection, ventilation, health screening, training, recordkeeping and reporting.

Once the agency commences an inspection, the opening conference should include inspectors talking with the facility’s safety director, infection control director and the Covid-19 safety coordinator—a position mandated by the standard—the directive said. The inspector can also talk with employee representatives. The directive showed that employers have latitude in satisfying OSHA requirements for screening patients for COVID-19 and determining if employees are fully vaccinated.

Industry Update

Domtar to Restart Idled Paper Machine at Ashdown Mill

USW Locals 1329 & 13-1327 – Domtar – Ashdown, Ark. – Domtar announced on Friday that it will restart an uncoated freesheet paper machine due to increasing demand as the economy starts to recover from the pandemic. The machine is expected to resume full operation in January 2022 and will cost approximately $10 million. The company said that a portion of the increased paper capacity may be utilized to increase thermal coated paper capacity at Domtar’s recently acquired West Carrollton, Ohio, mill.

The restart is good news for this USW site and a grade of paper that has been in a state of long-term decline due to digitization of printed materials and compounded by the pandemic’s impact on school and office closures.

From Two Sides North America – How Do We End the Myths about Paper Use and Forests

North American consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the products they buy and use; but, when it comes to paper products, the right things are often buried in misinformation and outright falsehoods that are made to sound plausible. Most people think sustainable forestry simply means planting trees to replace those that are harvested. While that’s certainly a critical element, sustainable forestry is about so much more than that.

The U.S. Forest Service defines it as meeting the forest resource needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations. Going far beyond just the physical act of reforestation, sustainable forestry is a land stewardship ethic that integrates the growing, harvesting and regeneration of trees for useful products with the protection and conservation of soil, air and water quality, and wildlife habitat and biodiversity. This ethic also includes forest contributions to global carbon cycles, aesthetics, and long-term social and economic benefits that meet the needs of society.

For key facts to help make the case that paper is not “destroying forests” and to read the full article, click here:

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, 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