Monday Morning Minute: Nov. 30, 2020

Union Work

Georgia-Pacific Mills and Converters Extend Master Agreement

Georgia-Pacific mill and converter locals extended their respective Master Agreements due to limitations on gathering and bargaining brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mill and converter master extensions will continue the master agreements and extend local contracts expiring in 2021 until we are able to bring the council together and safely bargain again in the same room.

Union Plus Holiday Giveback campaign

Union Plus – a non-profit founded by the AFL-CIO to provide additional benefits, savings and discounts to union members, as well as scholarships and exclusive grants during difficult times, such as layoffs, furloughs and natural disasters – has launched a holiday giveback campaign for eligible union members. Union Plus will be giving away a total of $100,000 in $1,000 “thank-you” awards to 100 union members – many of whom are on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic as first responders, health care workers, food workers and others, or are essential workers producing necessities like tissue and packaging.

Nominations can be made by visiting unionplus.org/holidaygiveback or by simply posting a video to Instagram stating what makes your nominee extraordinary, using the hashtags #UnionPlusGiveAGrand and #Contest. Members can nominate themselves or a friend or colleague. Nominations will be accepted until December 4, and winners will be announced by throughout December.

Safety

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance Alerting Employers to Frequently
Cited Standards Related to COVID-19 Inspections

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance and an accompanying one-pager to help employers understand which standards are most frequently cited during coronavirus-related inspections. OSHA based these documents on data from citations issued, many of which were the result of complaints, referrals and fatalities in industries such as hospitals and healthcare, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and meat/poultry processing plants.

The one-pager and guidance document provide available resources that address the most frequently cited standards, including Respiratory Protection, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the General Duty Clause. The one-pager provides examples of requirements employers must follow, such as:

OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses to identify workplace hazards, provides advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assists in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.

Click here to view or download the one-pager document: https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/national/11062020-0.

Industry Update

PCA Plans to Alternate between White and Brown Paper on J3 Paper Machine at Jackson Mill

USW Locals 361 & 1083 – Packaging Corporation of America – Jackson, Ala. – PCA began linerboard production on the J3 paper machine at Jackson, Ala., earlier this month – a significant development considering the mill had taken extended market-related downtime over the first half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on uncoated free sheet consumption.

The company stated that it is working through a strategy moving into 2021, but the idea is to balance inventories with demand by running J3 with each product for weeks at a time. By alternating products, the Jackson mill will be able to satisfy its existing customers’ white paper demands while improving its ability to add to its linerboard inventories.

The COVID-19 pandemic shifts many of the economic dynamics around paper consumption, generally, as fewer people physically go to offices, schools and events, and more stay home and order necessities online. The decision to alternate production between brown and white paper on the machine is representative of efforts to mitigate these changing forces, especially while the permanency of the effects is still unknown.

Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka Mill Receives Award for Water Use Reduction Project

USW Local 9-33 – Georgia-Pacific – Palatka, Fla. – Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka mill in Florida recently received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s EnergyStar Top Project for 2020 for reducing unnecessary water usage. The mill's kraft papermaking department team achieved a 40 percent water reduction in a 10-week period through investments in improved equipment and water usage monitoring.

The Palatka mill has a history of striving for environmental excellence. The facility was the first paper mill in the world to achieve the EPA's ENERGY STAR Challenge for industry, which requires improving energy intensity by 10 percent in less than five years. Palatka improved by 12 percent between 2016 and 2018.

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