Monday Morning Minute: June 12, 2017


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

International Paper Council Meeting

On May 31st, approximately 85 local leaders and staff participated in a one-day Council meeting in Nashville. It was great to see that a large amount of Converting locals made the trip to participate in the council meeting.

A new local was welcomed into the council, New Bern, SC local 1167 (formerly Weyerhaeuser) which was acquired by IP last year. Discussions focused on a number of key issues like the State of the Paper Industry, Internal Organizing, Safety, Workload, Shift Schedules, Health Insurance and Maintenance. There was also a lot of discussion around the fact that the LTD carrier needs to improve its effectiveness on processing and paying claims on a timely fashion.        

Anticircumvention Preliminary Determination that 83 Brightness Uncoated Free Sheet Paper is Covered by Orders

The DOC has affirmed a preliminary determination on the anticircumvention inquiry that was started to see if Asia  Pulp and Paper 83 Bright paper should be covered by the orders currently set on uncoated paper.

In November 2016, the USW along with Domtar, Finch Paper, P.H. Glatfelter Company and Packaging Corporation of America, initiated the inquiry to determine whether 83 Bright Paper is considered “altered in form or appearance in minor respects” from the type of merchandise that is subject to AD and CVD orders. The USW and the Companies alleged that APP, one of Indonesia’s major producers of uncoated paper engaged in circumvention of the orders by exporting uncoated paper with a brightness level of 83 to the U.S. The orders were originally placed on uncoated paper that either is a white paper with a GE brightness level of 85 or higher, or is a colored paper.

This is a much needed help for this sector of the industry which is seeing deep demand decline so keeping any subsidized imports off the market is critical.


USW Local 10-701 – Domtar Johnsonburg – Local Earns 2017 USW Domtar Velma Marie Perkins Safety Award

After a 2015 fatality at the Domtar Ashdown, AR mill involving Woman of Steel, Local Union and Safety Activist Velma “Marie” Perkins, the USW and Domtar created in their 2015 master agreement the Velma “Marie” Perkins Safety Award that is awarded at the annual USW/Domtar Safety Conference showcases a location with an groundbreaking safety program/project.  Local Union leadership and Mill management jointly select the winner after seeing presentations at the Conference. Local 10-701 and the Domtar management at Johnsonburg experienced a near miss involving a lift truck and moved quickly to eliminate the hazards at their mill that could result in similar situations.  

Pictured below with the award from left to right are Mike Maloney, Johnsonburg, Local 10-701 Vice President, Dane Condino, Johnsonburg, Local 10-701 President and Gary Hinerman, Ashdown Production USW Local 1327 President and Keith Frazier, Ashdown Maintenance Local 1329 President.  Also pictured is the award that showcases an image of Marie.  USW Locals 1356 and 1423 and the Plymouth, North Carolina mill management took home the award in 2016.  The award travels and the Plymouth location now has a plaque commemorating their 2016 win.  Congratulations Johnsonburg and Plymouth for excellent labor management cooperation around safety!



Industry Update

USW Locals 9-925 & 9-1924 – Resolute Forest Products – Catawba, SC – Paper Mill Layoffs

The Company announced that it would idle paper machine #2 on its production line beginning on June 30th. As a result, 180 jobs will be eliminated and approximately 193,000 metric tons of coated paper capacity will be lost.

The Company cited lower customer demand for lightweight, coated paper products, such as magazines and flyer inserts, as well as the shift of communications to digital forms, as reasons for the shutdown. Production will be absorbed by Resolute’s #3 paper machine at the Catawba facility, which is larger and faster.

The Company had made significant capital investment to reduce operating costs for the paper machine that it is shutting down. Despite these efforts, “economic gains were insufficient to overcome demand decline and price erosion.”

USW Local 12-8850-01 – SCA – Flagstaff, AZ – Company Announced Closure of Tissue Mill

According to a press release from the Company, SCA closed its tissue mill in Flagstaff, AZ on June 8th. The Company says that the closure is part of its strategy to optimize the geographic production footprint to drive cost and capital efficiency and further increase value creation in the Professional Hygiene business area.

SCA operates 6 other mills in the U.S., all of which are represented by USW, and include a nearby facility located in Bellemont, AZ. The Bellemont mill, which creates finished products from paper made at the Flagstaff facility, will not be affected by the closure.

78 people will be laid off as a result of the closure. The Company is trying to connect those folks to other area manufacturers who may be able to hire them into a similar position.

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