Monday Morning Minute: July 5, 2021


USW Local 13-162 – International Paper – Valliant, Okla.

A member was injured on June 20, 2021, while working at the International Paper Valliant mill. According to preliminary information, the worker uncoupled a caustic rail car and was sprayed in the face and neck area, receiving third degree burns.

The local and district are working together with the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department to determine the root cause of the incident as well as corrective actions, which may be shared as a hazard alert in the future.

Union Work

Virtual Paper Conference

On the afternoon of Day 2 of the conference, USW Director of Regulatory and State Policy Ann Fendley and Director of Rapid Response Amber Miller will lead a panel discussion on important legislative issues impacting the paper sector. Just a couple of the big legislative pieces that will be discussed are the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act and the PRO Act.

Due to the passage of Butch Lewis, the pensions at over 200 sites in the USW paper sector, covering over 120,000 current and retired members across the union, will be maintained with no cuts to the earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries. This was a huge win for the paper sector because it means that the Pace Industry-Union Management Pension Fund, also known as PIUMPF, will remain solvent and funded for, at least, the next 30 years.

The PRO (Protecting the Right to Organize) Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives early last year and now sits in the hands of the U.S. Senate. This legislation would reverse right-to-work [for less], regardless of state laws; ensure that an employer reaches a first contract in a timely manner with a newly organized group of workers, and much more.

Registration for the conference is live and locals should have received, or will be receiving soon, their call letters inclusive of assigned local union voucher codes. If you do not receive yours within the week, please contact Laura Donovan (; 412-562-2504), or anyone else from the paper sector staff. As a reminder, the conference registration can be found at the following link:

USW Paper Sector Welcomes 72 New Members at Essity’s Greenwich, N.Y., Site

The USW paper sector welcomed 72 new members at Essity’s Greenwich, N.Y., facility after workers overwhelmingly voted to join the union. The group will join the six other sites within the Essity Council and be integrated into the existing master agreement.

The adjacent photo includes some of our new USW members at Essity in Greenwich, N.Y., taken after the National Labor Relations Board election on June 25. Congratulations and welcome to our new members of the USW paper sector!


OSHA Resources for Preventing Heat Illnesses

Paper machines are inherently hot and humid – rollers and dryers run continuously – and with parts of the country experiencing a heat wave and many USW-represented mills in areas that are naturally hot, it is important to keep in mind the hazards of heat illness. Symptoms of heat illness include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating and a body temperature greater than 100.4 degrees. These symptoms can affect anyone, no matter their physical condition. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration published infographics and videos that include recommendations for preventing heat illness while on the job.

Heat illness can be prevented with three steps: rest, water and shade. According to one infographic, workers should ease into work when in hot conditions. Nearly three out of four fatalities from heat illness happen during the first week of work; but, a tolerance to heat can be built up by increasing intensity by 20 percent each day. Cool water should also be consumed, even if you are not thirsty; rest breaks long enough to recover from the heat should be taken in shady or cool areas, and everyone on shift should be watching out for each other.

Click here for more information and recommendations:  Heat Illness Prevention Campaign - Videos and Graphics | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (

Industry Update

Neenah Inc. Announced Operational Changes

USW Locals 2-1170 & 2-16 – Neenah Inc – Neenah, Wis., & Appleton, Wis. – On Friday, Neenah Paper announced operational changes to its business that will impact two USW-represented sites. The company will close its Appleton, Wis., specialty and industrial papers mill and restart the idled fine paper and packaging machine at its Neenah, Wis., mill. The decisions represent the company’s intent to focus on larger, growing markets in packaging and specialty coating.

The packaging machine at the Neenah, Wis., mill is expected to be restarted in the fourth quarter of this year; all former jobs are anticipated to be recalled. Approximately 100 members are represented at the Appleton mill, and effects bargaining is expected to begin soon.

Graphic Packaging’s Acquisition of Americraft Carton is Complete

USW Locals 2360 & 264 – Americraft Carton – Memphis, Tenn., & St. Paul, Minn. – Graphic Packaging announced on July 1 that its acquisition of Americraft Carton was completed. The acquisition involved two USW-represented facilities located in Memphis, Tenn. (Local 2360 unit 14) and St. Paul, Minn. (Local 264 unit 3). A little under 100 members between the two sites will now join the Graphic Packaging Council.

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