Monday Morning Minute: June 5, 2017


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

Former Verso Paper Mill in Sartell, MN Memorial Dedication

In 2012, the Verso Mill in Sartell, MN, formerly USW local 274, experienced an explosion on Memorial Day which caused a large fire to break out. One person died in the explosion and four people were injured.  The mill ultimately closed.

On Memorial Day this year, on the fifth anniversary of the blast, a monument was dedicated to honor the mill. Former mill employee and local union member, Dennis Molitor, unveiled the monument featuring a silhouette of the mill. The monument also features five dryer gears salvaged from the mill after the explosion and shares information about the paper mill’s departments and history.

To view more information on the dedication, click here.

IndustriALL Affiliate Union, Lastik-Is, Ends Strike with Coveris Packaging Over Wages and Working Conditions

IndustriALL’s Turkish affiliate, Lastik-Is, held a strike against Coveris Packaging – the sixth largest plastic packaging company in the world. Strike issues included wage and seniority premium increases, and working conditions.

Coveris operates under the following company names: Exopack, Britton Group, Kobusch and Paragon Print & Packaging. USW represents approximately 200 members at the company’s sites in Menasha, WI and Tomah, WI.

US Department of Commerce to Review Duties on Cutsize Paper Imports from Brazil, Indonesia and Portugal

A review on uncoated freesheet, office/copy paper imports from Brazil, Indonesia and Portugal will be completed by the US Department of Commerce. The USW, along with Domtar, Packaging Corporation of America, Glatfelter and Finch Paper, filed the trade case after imports surged in 2013 and 2014. The administrative review will be on imports during the period of August 2015 through February 2017.


USW Domtar Safety Conference

The USW and Domtar held their 5th Annual Safety Conference last week.  A Union workday held in advance of the Labor/Management day included an update on fatalities and life altering injuries in the sector, enhancing communication between labor/management safety committees and conducting Local Union Safety Surveys of the membership.  The Joint Day focused on revisiting the Right to Act since the Company’s reissuing of its policy after the last Conference and jointly developing Right to Act processes and education efforts locally along with Outage safety. The USW Domtar Safety Working Committee identified Green on Green training as a project to focus on between now and the 2018 Conference.

Extech Recalls Multiple Models of Digital Clamp Meters Due to Electrocution Hazard

Extech has issued a recall of the following models of Digital Clamp Meters Due to an Electrocution Hazard. The meters can fail to give an accurate voltage reading, resulting in the operator falsely believing the electrical power is low or off, posing an electrocution hazard. No injuries have been reported but Extech received two reports of clamp meters displaying an incorrect voltage reading. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled digital clamp meters and contact Extech for a free replacement meter.

This recall involves Extech digital clamp meters with model numbers EX650, EX655, MA160, MA61, and MA63. These models are all AC/DC clamp meters, which are electrical testing devices that measure AC/DC voltage, resistance, capacitance, frequency, temperature, continuity, and diode. Serial numbers in the following format are included in the recall:  R15XXXXXXX to R17XXXXXXX. Only serial numbers in this range are included in the recall. The “EXTECH” logo and the model number are printed on the front of the unit and the serial number on the back. The digital clamp meters are green and orange.

For more information, click here.

Industry Update

USW Locals 888 & 941 – Georgia-Pacific – Brewton, AL – Company Completed $388 Million Energy Improvement Project

After two years of construction, the $388 million energy improvement project was completed at Georgia Pacific’s Brewton Mill. The project modernized and streamlined the mix of equipment in the mill’s recovery boiler system and now provides the mill with the ability to generate its own energy using natural gas and biofuel residuals from the paper-making process.

After the completion, Brewton also kicked off another $50 million investment for upgrades to the mill’s paperboard machine. Slated to begin in late summer, this project will rebuild part of the machine and will improve the quality of the mill’s white-top linerboard product and increase the mill’s competitiveness.

Catalyst CEO Resigns

On May 24, 2017, Joe Nemeth, CEO of Catalyst for three and a half years, resigned suddenly. He was replaced in the interim period by Chairman of the Board, Leslie Lederer. Nemeth has served as CEO since 2013, and saw the company through its acquisition of two NewPage mills.

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