Monday Morning Minute: May 24, 2021

Union Work

2021 Virtual National Paper Bargaining Conference Update

Please be advised that the call letter for the 2021 National Paper Bargaining Conference will be sent out electronically and by mail the first week of June.

It will be sent via email to the same list of local leaders who receive the Monday Morning Minute, and mailed by hard copy to all local presidents and recording secretaries that have had their information updated by the respective district before the first week of June.

If you have had a changeover in officers, please let Laura Donovan know: ldonovan@usw.org, 412-562-2504, so that we can ensure that your new leadership receives a copy.

Georgia-Pacific Mills and Converters Ratify Master Extension

The Georgia-Pacific mills and converters ratified, late last week, two-year Master Extension Agreements that cover each respective group. Due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic travel limitations, the groups were unable to convene together and with management, but both adapted by shifting to virtual meetings and communications leading up to the ratification.

Work on the Master Agreements began last year just before the pandemic hit. While the mills were able to meet in-person in Nashville, the converters shifted to meeting virtually in a series of Zoom meetings. Locals and staff did a great job maintaining solidarity throughout the past year and a half and especially with the assistance from USW Strategic Campaigns staff.

Special thanks to the Tellers Committee – Julius Boston, Daniel Evans, Jesse Larry and Estus Bryant from the Naheola, Ala., Brewton, Ala., and Monticello, Miss., mills, and Jodi Zuppe, George Osborn and Kennette Ruth from the Akron, Ohio, Bradford, Pa., and Mount Wolf, Pa., box shops. Both sets of tellers pooled and counted all ballots received and ensured transparency throughout the process. Photos of both groups of tellers tallying ballots are just below.

Mills Participate in First International Paper Virtual Renewal Bargaining Summit

USW Locals 13-189, 377, 378, 1398 & 13-391 – International Paper – Bogalusa, La., Georgetown, S.C., & Orange, Texas – On May 20, staff and local leaders from International Paper mills with local collective bargaining agreements expiring within the first half of 2021 met virtually with USW paper sector leadership, general managers, senior labor relations and local human resources leadership. Bargaining summits have proven to be helpful in improving the success of local renewal negotiations under the Master Agreement framework.

Safety

Updated Summary of Available COVID-19 Resources on Workplace Safety and Health and Related Topics

The Alliance Program is a voluntary cooperative relationship between OSHA and businesses, trade and professional organizations, unions, educational institutions, government agencies and others who have a commitment to health and safety in the workplace. Worker representatives are included so that employers and employees work together under a formal agreement with OSHA to solve workplace safety and health issues, which brings many benefits.

The Alliance OSHA cooperative program recently released an updated summary of resources from various federal agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. The comprehensive summary also includes resources around vaccines, face coverings and additional resources by industry sector.

The summary is a good document to keep on hand as a quick reference to the multitude of website links to various COVID-19 resources that exist.

Click here to download the document as a PDF.

Industry Update

Natural Gas Boiler Groundbreaking

USW Local 1-112 – Essity – Middletown, Ohio – On May 6, Essity’s Middletown, Ohio, tissue mill held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new 80,000 pound/hour high efficiency natural gas boiler. John Wells, site manager for Harrodsburg, Ky., and Middletown, Ohio, Jason Hollister, USW Local 1-112 president, and Jerry Boggs, a 45-year Powerhouse employee, led the groundbreaking event. This $6.86 million capital investment in Middletown will result in a 50 percent reduction in CO2 Scope 1 emissions for the site.

Just three years ago, the mill was expected to shut down; but, due to hard work by the membership and commitment by the company, a settlement was reached that kept the facility open and those good jobs maintained at the mill. The project clearly demonstrates the confidence Essity has in the Middletown employees, and it will keep good union jobs in the area for many years to come. The new boiler is expected to be in service this October.

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