Monday Morning Minute: March 12, 2018

INCIDENT ALERT 

USW Local 2-482-01, Clearwater Paper, Neenah, Wis. 

On February 7, 2018, a member of Local 2-482-01 was injured by the in-going nip (front side) of the perforated knife bed roll of the bath winder. Preliminary information is that the injured employee was threading the Bath Winder when his left hand was caught in the in-going nip point. 

The member received lacerations and crushed fingertips on his left hand and needed many stitches to close his wounds. He has two months on the job and at the mill. 

USW Health, Safety and Environment Staff, Steve Sallman, is remotely assisting the local with their investigation. 

SAFETY

USW Local 12943, Domtar Paper Mill, Kingsport, Tenn.

Local Union Committee Completes Two-Day Workshop under USW Tony Mazzocchi Center Project and Master Agreement “Preventing Fatalities and Life Altering Injuries While Improving Safety and Health in the Paper Sector” 

On February 26, USW Local 12943 leadership, safety committee members and those who support the safety committee participated in the first day of training. On February 27, they were joined by management counterparts for the program titled, “Increasing the Effectiveness of Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees.”

This workshop was negotiated under the USW-Domtar Master Agreement. Steve Sallman of the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department presented the workshop.

Participants discussed the strengths of their labor-management safety and health committee, such as: their common interests in having the major departments represented with equal leadership from the USW and the company, the union selects their members, they hold regular meetings with jointly developed agendas, and the committee conducts audits of the workplace.

They also discussed challenges facing the committee, such as not being formally organized with independent labor and management committees, the committee is not as empowered as it could be, increasing communications, tracking items to completion, establishing labor-management safety sub-committees, and members having prep time before the labor-management meetings or time to attend the meetings. 

The group worked on a process for committees to regularly engage in research, reviews of toxic and hazardous substances, inspections and investigate incidents, handle workplace changes, keep records, track progress and evaluate success.

Small groups identified projects that need long-term plans such as: educating the safety committee on the incident review process, line-breaking, short staffing and green-on-green (new-training-new). They used charts to develop action plans, increase communications and track these items to completion.

The workshop received a positive response. Some of the remarks afterwards included the following: “Good interactions with different groups,” “Very good engagement – well designed,” “Shared information between management and hourly,” “Good job of focusing on ‘future state’ instead of dwelling on the past,” and “Will help develop strategy for our safety committee process – Visual aid to track progress.” 

INDUSTRY UPDATE

International Paper Submitted Unsolicited Bid to Acquire Smurfit Kappa

In late February, International Paper approached Smurfit Kappa and put forward a specific proposal to acquire the packaging-focused Company. The acquisition of Smurfit would give IP market-leading positions in Europe and Latin America. IP is already #1 in North America.

On March 6, the proposal was rejected by the Smurfit Kappa Board. Nonetheless, analysts believe that International Paper remains ready to engage with Smurfit Kappa's Board and shareholders to discuss both the merits of its proposal. 

Analysts suggest that that a deal may be reached and, if so, it would make IP a dominant force in the European packaging industry. 

Dunkin Donuts Changing to Paper Cups

According to a press release from Dunkin Donuts, the company says that it will eliminate polystyrene cups worldwide by 2020. The foam cups will be replaced with double-walled paper cups beginning in Spring 2018. The double-walled paper cup is made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard 

According to Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, “With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry. We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests. Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S., and with the double-walled cup, we will be able to offer a replacement that meets the needs and expectations of both our customers and the communities we serve.” 

This is good news for the paper industry and workers making cups out of sustainable, renewable fiber.

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Remember to share Monday Morning Minute in your work place. Share your stories with us by sending information to Laura Donovan at ldonovan@usw.org. 

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