Monday Morning Minute: June 28, 2021

Union Work

Virtual Paper Conference

Day 2 of the virtual Paper Bargaining Conference will kick off with a bargaining panel discussion led by USW Paper Sector Bargaining Chair Luis Mendoza.

The panel will feature knowledgeable staff representatives in the sector and local leaders who have made significant progress in local bargaining and have negotiated contract wins. We will also view stories from locals that adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic in unique ways.

Once again, the link to the conference registration system is live. Register and view details on the conference here: http://usw.to/2021paper.

ExxonMobil Unfair Labor Practice Lockout

Fellow USW members of Local 13-243 in Beaumont, Texas, have been locked out by their employer, ExxonMobil, since May 1.

The site is an oil refinery and blending and packaging plant that employs more than 650 USW members. Members of the local held a rally during Exxon’s shareholder meeting in late May, which had a two-fold effect – it not only brought attention to the unfair labor practice lockout, but also served as an opportunity to introduce a resolution to the company around the disclosure of which organizations it supports for lobbying efforts.

Company shareholders approved the resolution brought by the USW – meaning that lobbying efforts going forward will be more transparent. The resolution was a necessary step in providing greater work safety and corporate accountability. Footage of the rally can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/4YvpegwgYGE.

We also ask that you pledge your solidarity with the locked-out brothers and sisters at ExxonMobil by signing the pledge at the following link: Pledge your solidarity with locked-out ExxonMobil workers! 

From Keep Me Posted North America – Consumers Ask: Have Even More Important Financial Notices Been Pushed Online?

Important notices about investments had been mailed to stakeholders by default for generations, the purpose being to keep consumers informed with readily accessible documentation for their records. But in recent years, as more people voluntarily opted in to digital communications, both government and industry decided that all consumers should receive important correspondence about their investments electronically – whether they made that choice for themselves or not.

Due to a new rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulating body that oversees activities related to individual investors, the investment-related paper documents that consumers are accustomed to receiving will soon stop arriving in the mail. Consumers still retain the right to receive paper documents, however, they must request it. For the time being, the categories of important notices that will default to electronic delivery are limited to fund or plan information like assets held, overall performance and fiduciary disclosures about the investment vehicle, not individual account details. Consumers who haven’t seen any warnings about the shift from paper to internet availability should take a closer look at their most recent individual account documentation.

Many USW paperworkers make the type of paper – uncoated freesheet – that is used for these types of financial statements. Even if you do not personally hold investments that are subject to the new SEC statement disclosure ruling, it is important to stay knowledgeable of the issues that impact our sector so we can educate others and support the livelihoods of our fellow brothers and sisters.

Safety

New York Heroes Act Directs the State’s Departments of Labor and Health to Create Enforceable Health and Safety Model Plan to Prevent Airborne Infectious Diseases in the Workplace, and Allows Workplace Health and Safety Committees Composed of Employees and Employers

The first-in-the-nation New York Health and Essential Rights Act, or NY HERO Act, added two new sections to New York State’s labor law directing state agencies to create clear, enforceable health and safety standards that private employers have to follow to keep their employees safe. It also gives workers a voice in the process so employers aren't the sole arbiters of workplace safety from disease.

The NY HEROES Act, signed into law in May, requires the New York State commissioner of labor, in consultation with the state department of health, to create and publish a model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standard. All private employers are required to implement the model or similar plans at their worksites.

Additionally, effective November 1, 2021, the Act requires all private employers with at least 10 employees to allow employees to establish a joint employer-employee workplace health and safety committee authorized to raise health and safety issues and evaluate workplace health and safety policies.

Industry Update

Greif Announces Leadership and Board Transition

USW Locals 279, 318, 675, 743, 796, 1149, 1216, 1327, 1852, 3610, 9036, 1-243, 1-346, 1-609, 1-716, 13029 & 4-513 – Greif, Inc – Tacoma, Wash.; Newark, N.J.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Tama, Iowa; Crossett, Ark.; Atlanta, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; Oshkosh, Wis.; York, Pa.; Massillon, Ohio; Saginaw, Mich.; Minerva, Ohio; Oregon, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Ohio; Van Wert, Ohio; Chicopee, Mass.

Greif announced that its CEO and President Pete Watson will be retiring on February 1, 2022. He will be succeeded by Ole Rosgaard, current head of Greif’s global industrial packaging unit. Watson will become executive chairman of the board, replacing long-time chairman and former CEO, Michael Gasser.

The USW represents approximately 700 members across 19 sites. The council grew significantly after Greif’s acquisition of Caraustar Industries in 2019, including 15 USW-represented sites.

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