Monday Morning Minute: May 2, 2022

Union Work

USW Membership at Duro Hilex Poly Ratifies New Agreement

USW Local 3937-13 – Duro Hilex Poly – Tolleson, Ariz. – On Friday, the membership of USW Local 3937 unit 13 ratified a new agreement that includes provisions to address attraction and retention issues in addition to good economic and language gains.

A few highlights from the agreement include moving up the eligibility timeline for earning 3rd and 4th weeks of vacation. The membership also achieved better union leave language. And, the local gained justice and dignity language, which allows employees who are discharged, suspended or have lost seniority to remain at or return to work until the grievance is resolved.

As we have recognized in employers across and outside of the sector, attraction and retention of new hires and existing employees is about more than just monetary incentives – it’s also about factors like time off and workplace culture.

In relation to the ratified agreement at Duro Hilex, Staff Representative Miguel Garcia said: ”We feel that we reached a fair and equitable tentative agreement that is key to not only retaining but also attracting good talent. The facility constantly experiences high turnover and our members look forward to securing the much-needed help."

New Executive Order Will Strengthen the Nation’s Forests, Communities and Local Economies

Signed on Earth Day, April 22, a new executive order will help strengthen American forests, boost wildfire resilience and combat global deforestation.  Forests are critical to the health, prosperity and resilience of our communities, and play an irreplaceable role in reaching new-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the Executive Order, the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Commerce and the Interior (DOI) will work with state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as the private sector, nonprofit organizations, labor unions and the scientific community to develop recommendations to advance forest-related economic opportunities at the local and regional levels. These community-led opportunities will create and sustain jobs in outdoor recreation and in sustainable wood, paper and other forest products, while supporting healthy, sustainably managed forests in timber communities.

To combat the global deforestation attributed to producing commodities like beef, soy and palm oil, under the Order, the Department of State will lead development of a report on whole-of-government approaches to reduce or eliminate U.S. purchases of agricultural commodities grown on illegally or recently deforested lands, and will include public-private partnerships to incentivize sustainable sourcing.

Trees provide clean resources like air and water, building materials, wildlife habitats and paper products that are a part of our everyday lives. Sustainable forest practices are critical to the USW and paper industry for providing jobs and a healthy environment for future generations.  

Safety

International Paper’s Prattville Mill Membership Participate in Effective Safety Committee Workshop

USW Locals 462, 1458 & 1978 – International Paper – Prattville, Ala.– On April 12and 13, the membership at International Paper’s Prattville, Ala., mill, participated in the USW’s Effective Safety Committees Workshop. The two-part workshops are conducted by staff through the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center along with worker-trainers that are trained on paper sector-specific curriculum. Dan Umnus from USW Local 2-469, Appvion in Appleton, Wis., facilitated this session along with Trish Creech from the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department.


The workshop kicked off with a union-only session on the first day, followed by a joint-session with local management on the second day. Topics covered included goals for workplace safety and health programs, union roles in promoting effective safety and health committees, involvement of members in safety and health/communications mapping, and more. Photos from the sessions at Prattville are included below.

Industry Update

Green Bay Packaging Mill Reaches Net Zero Water Use

USW Local 597 – Green Bay Packaging – Green Bay, Wis. – Green Bay Packaging’s linerboard mill in Green Bay, Wis., has achieved a Net-Zero Water certification by UL - a global safety leader, which established the first industrial global standard of its kind, based on its Environmental Claim Validation Procedure. The certification is the first-ever UL with validation of this environmental claim, and sets a new standard for net-zero water use.

Last year, production began at the mill with a first-of-its-kind circular reclaim water system that reduces the amount of water use per ton of paper production and fosters a net-zero water system. The mill partners with NEW Water, the Green Bay area wastewater utility, that allows it to recycle waste water and supplement it with partially treated wastewater from the utility.

Water is an essential part of the pulp and papermaking process, comprising about 99 percent of the fibrous material that is subsequently dried and pressed. The Green Bay mill’s closed-process water system is another example of the paper sector’s commitment to sustainability, which helps ensure the industry’s longevity.

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