Monday Morning Minute: June 26, 2017


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

USW Local 10-701 – Domtar – Johnsonburg, PA

On June 9th, the local membership overwhelmingly ratified a new local agreement.  Major economic and security issues are guaranteed at the master and involved a pension issue by granting previously unrecognized service before the age of 21.  In the renewal bargaining, Local 10-701 negotiated an increase in shift differential, added a mill-wide bidding step in the lines of progression, and all vacation can now be taken a day-at-a-time. The Company committed to meet annually to review duty crew and both sides committed to the eventual elimination of duty crew. The local was also able to keep short notice call-in language with some minor changes. They can now call in (employees with 2 or fewer ACP points) four times per contract term for short notice sick day, and can also call in with 24 hours’ notice to take an unused vacation day up to four times per contract term. Congratulations!!



USW Locals 444, 1561 & 9-447 – International Paper – Cantonment, FL (Pensacola Mill) – OSHA Issues Recommendations, but no Citations, around Digester Explosion in January

An OSHA inspection conducted after the explosion of the continuous pulp digester on January 22nd found that the digester vessel ruptured due to a gaseous explosion that occurred once NCG (non-condensable gases) entered into the explosive range. While the Company will not be cited or penalized, OSHA has made some recommendations for abating future incidents.

Recommendations include the preclusion of air injection into the digester for startup pressurization and to disperse this information about the potential for explosive gas build-up and ignition source controls to other pulp mill managers and manufacturers of digesters in the industry. The letter also recommends that the digester manufacturer, Andritz, be intimately involved in diagnosing and abating further potential for explosion in this and all other digesters.

Domtar Receives $50,000 Fine after Worker Injury in Espanola, Ontario (Not USW Represented)

Domtar Inc. was fined $50,000 in court after a worker suffered a permanent injury caused by a machine. The facility is not represented by the USW.

The incident took place at Domtar's paper mill in Espanola, Ontario on July 18, 2015. A worker had been cutting a section of dryer felt on a paper machine in the course of performing a repair. The paper machine was mechanically and electrically locked out, as required by Domtar's policies. Upon cutting the dryer felt, elastic stretch in the paper machine was released. As a result, a chain and sprocket mechanism moved, and the worker received injuries that included loss of dexterity.

The Court was told that employees failed to block the chain to prevent movement in the course of repair work. This was an offense contrary to section 75(b) of Ontario's Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851), which states that "a part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when... any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement." This was also an offense under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.


 Industry Update

International Paper Incorporating Peanuts Cartoon Characters on New Bulk Bin Packaging for Produce

The Company has started to use Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other Peanuts characters on bulk bins made out of corrugated packaging which can be found in grocery stores. Two product displays with the characters are available. One features Snoopy and watermelons and the other with Snoopy, Linus and Charlie Brown under the words “it’s the great pumpkin.”

Click here for a preview of one of these new packaging concepts.

Graphic Packaging to Acquire Carton Craft Container

According to a press release from the Company, Graphic Packaging will acquire substantially all of the assets of Carton Craft Container and its affiliate Lithocraft, Inc. Carton Craft is an independent converter focused on the production of paperboard-based air filter frames and folding cartons. The Company operates two converting facilities in New Albany, IN. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017.The combined businesses generated revenues of approximately $70 million.

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