Monday Morning Minute: June 14, 2021

UNION WORK

Virtual Paper Conference – Call Letter Distribution and Event Website

The call letter for the upcoming Virtual Paper Bargaining Conference is making its way to local leaders’ mailboxes and email inboxes. Included in each letter is the USW conference website (http://usw.to/2021paper), which details logistics on the conference, as well as a voucher code. These voucher codes are unique to each local and are required to register all participants. Note that USW staff and executive board members have a separate voucher code, which will be emailed separately.

The agenda, information on speakers, and workshop and registration information are contained at the conference hub website (also linked to the USW conference website) at the following link: http://usw.to/2021paper. Upon registration, you will be prompted to pre-select the workshops in which you are interested. Once the registration is submitted through the event website, you will receive a confirmation email to the submitted email address. The confirmation email will contain a link to the individual registration that can then be used to make workshop selections (or edit workshop selections later if the selections are not made at the time of registration).

You are encouraged to select workshops upon registration or as soon as possible afterward due to potential capacity limitations.

If you have any questions about the registration process or use of voucher codes, please contact Laura Donovan (ldonovan@usw.org; 412-562-2504), or anyone else from the paper sector staff.

Real Talk about Infrastructure Investment

Over the next few weeks, USW International officers will be addressing, in a series of Facebook events, the importance of infrastructure investment, the ways we are pushing elected officials to act, and how you can help. Each Facebook event features members from across all sectors asking questions about the infrastructure issues most important to them, and facilitates the exchange of ideas from those who are on the ground to our leadership.

In the first session with USW International President Tom Conway and Vice President at Large Roxanne Brown, a health care worker asks about the focus on infrastructure rather than the pandemic. President Conway answers that health care is where the discussion on infrastructure surfaced— we, as a country, realized that we didn’t make the stuff here that we needed in order to get through this (masks, gloves, ventilators, etc). Future pandemic preparedness begins with building out manufacturing supply chains.

Watch the entire session at the following link: Real Talk About Infrastructure Investment; and remember to fill out the USW Voices survey because, as paperworkers, we also produce critical pieces of infrastructure—be it the corrugated boxes in which industrial  components are shipped, paper invoices, labels, industrial tape, and so on. We touch all industries, and we want to hear your stories and ideas around your site’s impact on critical infrastructure projects: www.uswvoices.usw.org.

June Stewards Corner Newsletter Featuring Paper Sector Local Grievance Committee Member Eddie Sharpe

USW Local 1441 – International Paper – Selma, Ala. (Riverdale Mill) – The June issue of the USW’s Stewards Corner newsletter is broken into two parts—1. Stewards as an Organizer: Making sure non-members join; and 2. What is a Grievance, Part Two: Following Timelines (a continuation from part one released in May). 

This month’s issue discusses how to get non-members to join the union. One highlight includes the importance of union visibility through t-shirts, hats, stickers and other swag. Also, simply asking someone to join the union and following up if they are showing hesitation helps build the local’s membership.

To The second part of the newsletter details the timely steps of filing a grievance, including deadlines for the employer to respond and the union to appeal, if necessary. Regarding the importance of following timelines when handling a grievance, Eddie Sharpe, local grievance committee member of Local 1441 said: “Whether it's five working days or 15 calendar days, stewards should always keep procedural timelines in mind when they are handling grievances. The grievance procedure is an effective tool for solving problems, but we've got to follow through on our responsibilities to make it work."

View the entire newsletter, which contains valuable information on the role of stewards, click here: https://www.usw.org/act/activism/education/resources/stewards-corner-newsletter.

SAFETY

OSHA Released New Emergency Temporary Standard for Health care Workers and Updated Guidance for All Industries

On June 10, federal OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect health care workers who face elevated exposure risks, and announced new general industry COVID-19 guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in all workplaces. The guidance provides a special emphasis on industries noted for prolonged close contacts, like meat processing, manufacturing, seafood, and grocery and high-volume retail.

The guidance is intended to help employers and workers not covered by OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard to identify COVID-19 exposure risks to workers who are unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk, and to help them take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection.

The USW’s news release can be found at the following link: https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2021/usw-oshas-new-emergency-temporary-standard-a-huge-step-for-worker-safety

INDUSTRY UPDATE

International Paper Received $500,000 from Port of Virginia’s Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Fund

USW Local 1488 – International Paper – Franklin, Va. – International Paper’s Franklin, Va., mill received a $500,000 award courtesy of the Port of Virginia's Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Fund. Since reopening two years ago after having been shut in response to the 2008 economic crisis, the Franklin mill has hired 240 employees and shifted production to fluff pulp.

International Paper exports much of the products made in Franklin through Virginia's port. In order to qualify for the port’s economic and development grant, a company must meet certain standards, including creating at least 25 new jobs through facility expansion or new construction and moving its cargo through the Port of Virginia. International Paper not only met, but surpassed, the criteria needed to qualify for the grant, which is designed to incentivize future investment in maritime-related employment centers in the commonwealth of Virginia that encourage and facilitate growth at the state’s port.

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 ldonovan@usw.org, 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