Monday Morning Minute: June 19, 2017



USW Local 810 – International Paper – Anaheim, CA

On Wednesday May 10, 2017, a local union member was seriously injured while working at the International Paper box plant located in Anaheim, CA. The complete details are unknown at this time, but preliminary information is the 5176 Prime flexo folder gluer jammed where the boxes exit of the folding rails, before the counter ejector. As a standard practice. the machine operator and the assistant operator each turned a machine safeguard key (MSK) to the safe position and removed it (Intermediate Energy State IES/Controlled Energy State CES). The assistant operator entered the folding rail section and ducked under the operator side folding rail. He stood up between the folding rail belts to clear the jam. As the assistant operator began clearing the boxes, the machine operator used the folding rail belt controls outside the perimeter fence to open the gap between the upper and lower belts. As the belt gap opened, the jackscrew drive shaft running across the machine began to rotate directly in front of the assistant operator. This unguarded shaft had a modified coupling that was connected by a ¼ inch bolt that protruded 7/8 inch from the shaft coupling. The assistant operator’s glove caught on the rotating protruding bolt which pulled his left hand and forearm around the shaft. His injuries resulted in the amputation of his left hand and forearm.

We further understand the switch that activates the rotation of the shaft is located approximately 20-feet away towards the front of the machine. At the time of the incident, the view of the area was partially blocked by a poster size note pad used to post machine and maintenance issues. Because of the position of the switch and indicator gauge, in most situations, the operator will tend to focus on the gauge and not the area where the incident occurred.

We want to take this opportunity to recognize our brothers and sisters that responded: Bridget Guerrero, Robin LeMuer, Jesse Orozco, Johnny Rodriguez Sr., Gary Russel, Teo Silva, and Mike Whitehurst.  In all actuality these folks saved our brother’s life. This very easily could have been much worse, if not a fatality.

Corrective Actions:

The machine will be rewired to disable the motor drives for folding rail movement with the MSK activated to ensure exclusive control. Replaced bolt with original equipment manufacturer’s rolled pin and flush bolt fastener per OEM specifications and training for maintenance employees on OEM specs. Additional training for employees on safe machine operations. 

Emergency Response Team District Coordinator Martin Nuno is assisting the families. Health Safety and Environment Staff Steve Sallman will assist the local with the investigation.


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

From Two Sides North America Blog – Most People Highly Value Paper and Print

The recent issue of Paper360 (May/June) features consumer survey results on global attitudes towards paper and print, as well as toward corporate environmental claims promoting digital over paper-based communications.

The article concludes that there is a clear preference for print on paper across all countries and regions analyzed (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States), likely indicating a more fundamental and human way that people react to the physicality of print on paper. Many prefer paper-based communications to digital options for a variety of reasons, including ease of reading, tactile experience, and a lack of internet access.

Here are a few highlights mentioned in the article:


To read the full study that this article highlights, click here.



CSB Releases Investigative Update Into Loy Lange Box Company Catastrophic Pressure Vessel Failure (Non-Union Site But Instructive)

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a “Factual Investigative Update” on the April 3, 2017, catastrophic rupture of a pressure vessel at the Loy Lange Box Company that killed four people and left another in critical condition.

The CSB’s ongoing examination of the incident has identified a history of leaks in the pressure vessel, which was part of a steam generation system. In 2012, the vessel was repaired when it was discovered that water was leaking from the bottom of its tank. In what was termed an “emergency repair,” a portion of the bottom of the tank was replaced with a custom made center section.

On Friday, March 31, 2017, employees again noticed a leak from the bottom of the vessel. Photos taken by the employees revealed leaks coming from at least two distinct sections of a 6-inch ring of original tank material that had been left surrounding the replacement center section of the vessel in 2012. Three days later, on April 3, Loy-Lange started up the steam generation system and the vessel ruptured in the area of that ring.

In examining the vessel post-incident, investigators found the metal in the rupture area extremely thinned from its original state. While the thickness of the metal should have been a quarter of an inch (0.25”) thick, this specific area had been worn down to eight hundredths of an inch (0.08”).

The immediate cause of this incident is the sudden mechanical integrity failure of the entire ring of the original bottom of the pressure vessel. This rupture separated the bottom of the tank from the rest of the pressure vessel. This created the unique conditions for a steam explosion, launching the vessel through the building about 520 feet before landing at the Fautless Healthcare Linen’s site.  This was a massive explosion – releasing energy equivalent to about 350 pounds of TNT.

To read the entire update by the CSB, click here.


Industry Update

USW Local 1261 – Domtar – Hawesville, KY – Company to Invest $59 Million into Uncoated Freesheet Mill – Company is Well Positioned for Growth

Domtar is planning to make $59 million of investments over the next three years at its uncoated freesheet mill in Hawesville. The investments will be used for 24 different projects ranging from process, efficiency and productivity improvements to other investments, according to Risi’s Pulp and Paper Week. The projects are designed to help the plant remain competitive and streamline processes at the plant.

Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America. According to industry analysts, the Company is positioned well to grow through investment opportunities, streamlining the cost-structure, improving revenue quality and maintaining a healthy cash flow with a disciplined approach to cash utilization.

USW Local 2-144 – Appleton Coated – Combnied Locks, WI – Appleton Coated to Acquire Spectra Jet

Appleton Coated has entered into an agreement to acquire Spectra Jet – a developer and distributor of sublimation transfer papers. Sublimation paper is used to produce images on textiles or other treated materials. Appleton Coated has been the exclusive producer for Spectra Jet of Silverback3 paper at its Combined Locks, WI facility.

Sublimation transfer paper, such as Silverback3, is used to produce images on textiles or other treated materials. In this process, an image is printed onto the paper, and then a heat press is used to sublimate the image to the fabric or other material. “The combination of our technology and experience in this business with Appleton Coated’s manufacturing expertise is working well, and we agreed it was time to take our partnership to the next level,” commented Guy Spinelli, Spectra Jet’s president.

While the deal is expected to close in the second half of this year, a coordinated sales and marketing program for Silverback3 paper will begin immediately. USW represents

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