Monday Morning Minute: May, 15, 2017


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

Tell Congress NO on Comp Time

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to pass the misleadingly-named “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1180/S. 801). This bill would replace our guaranteed overtime pay system with a new “comp time” alternative. Click here to see how your Representative voted.

This legislation is a real problem. It changes our nearly 80-year system of overtime that discourages employers from overworking us by making it more expensive to do so. From your stories you’ve been sharing, we know that many employers are already attempting to squeeze every dollar of profit from us in every way they can. Comp time gives them even more opportunities. That’s why business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are backing it. There are ways to make our workplaces more flexible and family-friendly. This is not one of them.

This “comp time” bill now moves to the Senate where we have a greater chance of stopping it. Click here for more information and to learn what you can do to help stop the bill from passing.


FM Data Sheet on Storage of Wood Chips

 Factory Mutual Insurance Company released data sheets on the hazards associated with the storage of wood chips, sawdust and other wood waste material. While the data sheet was written in the interest of minimizing property loss due to wood chip combustion, the recommendations for storage could be beneficial to safety in the paper industry especially in light of the recent fatality at Verso’s Luke, MD mill woodyard. Identifying hazards could also help to prevent future incidents.

Most pulp and paper mills throughout the world receive all or part of their wood supply as chips which are stored outdoors. The volume of single large piles may range from 15,000 to 100,000 or more units. Pile heights of 35ft are common but have reached upwards of 160ft. Multiple piles frequently range from 3,000 to 15,000 units each.

Recommendations include controlling the rate of pile buildup, preferably handling wood chips on a “first in – first out” basis, and basing storage piles on a maximum turnover time of one year. Also, limiting outdoor storage piled of good quality to 50 ft in height, 300 ft in width and 800 ft in length, with no pile exceeding 50,000 units capacity, is recommended.

Please contact Laura Donovan if you are interested in more information contained in the data sheet.

Industry Update

USW Local 4-276 – Carthage Specialty Paperboard

On April 27th, The Board of Directors voted to move current CEO, Patrick Purdy, into the position of Executive Chair of the Board. The new role is effective immediately and leaves the position of CEO open. Carthage Specialty is currently looking for a new CEO to fill the vacancy.

Tranlin Mill Construction in Virginia is Delayed

The project by Chinese-owned paper company, Tranlin, also known as Vastly, has been delayed by approximately 2 years. Originally set to be complete by the year 2020, the opening has been pushed back to 2022 due to new technologies in which the Company has had unexpected success.

The new technologies include “significant efficiencies that will impact all aspects of Tranlin’s U.S. business plans” according to Lisa Randall, associate director of corporate communications for Tranlin. Local newspaper, the Chesterfield Observer, reported that the company will be redeploying resources as it incorporates the new technology. The current technology that had been planned for the plant in Chesterfield, VA was called Generation 2.5 Technology. The newer plant being developed in China is using Generation Three Technology which includes improvements in pulping, paper making and biostimulant fertilizer manufacturing.

The project was set to bring 2,000 jobs to the area and legislators are now concerned that the new facility will not open. $20 million in economic incentives for the facility came from a Pulp, Paper and Fertilizer Advanced Manufacturing Grant overseen by the Major Employment and Investment Commission based on the addition of jobs and investment.

For more information, click here.

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Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

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