Monday Morning Minute: March 16, 2020

Union Work

USW Events that have been Canceled or Postponed

Several USW events have been canceled or postponed out of an abundance of caution around the Coronavirus pandemic, including a number of paper sector council meetings. The Georgia-Pacific regional box shop meetings in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Michigan City, Ind., have been postponed, as is the Georgia-Pacific mills meeting on April 7 in Nashville. We may need to rely on telecommunications and conference calls for the time being, but we will do our best to reschedule in-person meetings as soon as it is safe to do so.

For a full list of USW events that have been canceled or postponed, click here: https://usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2020/list-of-usw-events-canceled-due-to-coronavirus-pandemic.

Keep checking this webpage as it is being continuously updated.

Did You Know?

You can change your packaging preferences on Amazon from plastic to a more sustainable option like paper. Amazon allows customers to change their shipping preferences to “plastic-free” and “minimal” packaging. To do so, follow these instructions: Open your Amazon account, Go to ‘help/customer service’, Go to ‘contact us’, Use the ‘chat’ option. On chat, request to make all future orders plastic-free and to use degradable packaging materials like paper. The information will be saved to your account for all future orders.

Safety

Workers’ Memorial Day 2020

Every year on April 28, the United Steelworkers Union observes Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew our fight for safe workplaces. This year we pledge to: 

Visit the following link for event ideas that you can plan around Workers’ Memorial Day: https://www.usw.org/get-involved/hsande/resources/workers-memorial-day/ideas.pdf.

If you do hold an event, please share with us any photos and details so we can report out on the work that our sector is doing.

Industry Update

Fire Erupted at International Paper Mill in Rome, Ga.

USW Local 804 – International Paper – Rome, Ga. – A fire broke out at the International Paper mill in Rome, Ga., on the night of Saturday, March 14. The mill faced significant damage, particularly in the area that the paper machines reside, but the fire has been extinguished. Fortunately, there were no major injuries; one employee was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Coronavirus Impact on Paper Markets

According to industry analysts, the global coronavirus outbreak carries consequences for all pulp and paper markets in 2020, and possibly beyond. While much of the impact is not known at this time, as demand figures are limited, the timing of the outbreak is poor for printing and writing grades and coated paper, which had already been facing low demand. The specific consequences of a worst-case, Covid-19 scenario could be harsh: Office workers who telecommute due to quarantine or a wish to avoid public spaces may not have access to printers at home, and there will be fewer meetings with printed handouts. Business conferences and the printing associated with them will likely be paused for several months. Widespread school closures would have a major impact on uncoated freesheet printing and paper consumption.

In containerboard, the outbreak has decreased the supply of Chinese recovered paper, leaving Chinese containerboard producers with recycled fiber shortages. And, while consumer demand for fluff pulp-based tissue products has seemingly gone up because of the uncertainty of the virus, companies like Georgia-Pacific expect away-from-home demand to shrink as more people stay home and curtail social outside activities.

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