Monday Morning Minute: Nov. 16, 2020

Union Work

International Paper Mills Ratify Master Extension

International Paper mills ratified a two-year extension of the master agreement on Tuesday, November 10. The group achieved wage and pension increases that are improvements at a time of great economic uncertainty. The past year presented us with many unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including our ability to convene and bargain a full agreement, but the group achieved wage and pension increases at a time of great economic unpredictability, and achieved stability for our members as we weather the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Special thanks to the Tellers Committee – Trent Smith, Brian Arnold, Randall Child, Chad Manning, Dale Maddox and Mel Malone – for their work in counting and tallying all ballots received, and for ensuring transparency throughout the process. A photo of the tellers tallying ballots is just below.

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Preliminary Ruling in Circumvention Inquiry Regarding Uncoated Paper from China

On November 9, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued preliminary determinations on uncoated paper rolls from China that are circumventing existing antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD). Specifically, Commerce preliminarily determined that certain uncoated paper in roll form from China is being converted into paper sheets in the United States, and thereby circumventing the AD and CVD orders on uncoated paper in sheet form.

The original trade case covered uncoated paper in sheets, largely copy paper. Foreign producers shifted to flooding the United States with essentially the same product, but doing so in rolls which are then converted into sheets. This action has the same devastating impact on domestic producers and workers. The new determination is in response to an inquiry filed last year by the USW along with Domtar, Packaging Corporation of America, North Pacific Paper Company and Finch Paper.

Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect AD and/or CVD cash deposits on certain rolls of uncoated paper from China. The cash deposit rates will be equal to the rates previously established for uncoated paper from China. The USW is gratified that the Department of Commerce issued preliminary determinations on Chinese uncoated paper. Whether this paper is cut or in rolls, it is clearly being dumped. This decision recognizes China’s circumvention for what it is, and is an important step toward protecting our domestic industry and the good, family sustaining jobs it provides.

Safety

Virtual Training Opportunities Available by the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center

Virtual training opportunities through the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center are being offered over the next month, including Opioids and the Workplace: Prevention and Response for USW District 4 and OSHA Outreach 10-hour General Industry. The Opioids and the Workplace training will take place on Thursday, November 19. It will describe the relationship between work and addiction, and how you can help curve the epidemic by making changes in your workplace. The OSHA Outreach training is offered twice—November 19th & 20th and December 10th & 11th—and is being run in conjunction with the Great Lakes OSHA Education Center. This training aims to familiarize workers with OSHA standards, as well as safety and health hazards common to the workplace.

To view additional details on the trainings being offered and for registration instructions, click here: https://uswtmc.org/news/virtual-training-opportunities.

Industry Update

Gorham Paper & Tissue Bankruptcy Filing

USW Local 4-75 – Gorham Paper & Tissue – Gorham, N.H. – Gorham Paper & Tissue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and also announced that it has a buyer lined up. If the sale is approved as part of the bankruptcy process, New York-based investment company, Behrens Investment Group, would acquire most of Gorham Paper & Tissue and its subsidiary White Mountain Tissue, along with its debt, for $8.75 million.

The USW Legal Department moved quickly to request a place on the creditors’ committee, ensuring that the workers and retirees of Gorham would have representation through the reorganization process.

International Paper’s Pensacola Mill is Hiring

USW Locals 444, 1561 & 9-447 – International Paper – Cantonment, Fla. (Pensacola Mill) – International Paper’s Pensacola mill is hiring for several Journeyman positions across the facility, including: Machinist, Pipefitter, Millwright, Instrument, Electrical, E&I and non-Journeyman positions as Hourly Production and General Mechanic. Interested and qualified candidates can apply externally via www.internationalpaper.com. Select “Careers” and then enter “Pensacola” as the facility. Applications can be received by Monday, November 30, 2020.

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