Monday Morning Minute: Nov. 6, 2017


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

Did you know? New Hires Have the Right to Union Membership on Day 1

New hires are eligible to become a union member even if the Company has a probationary period in place prior to becoming a permanent employee. This means that you can approach new employees on their first day of employment with information on the Union and authorization cards. You do not have to wait until after their probationary period ends.

We recently had a win in the USW Paper Sector on this issue. Local Management insisted that new employees had to complete their 45-day probationary period before joining the Union. The Local Leadership knew their rights set by the contract, and pushed back. Corporate HR got involved and, ultimately, agreed with the Union over the interpretation of the contract.

It is a good idea to talk to new hires right away and inform them of the benefits that are available immediately as a union member. Keep in mind, probationary employees are considered at-will, and would not have access to the grievance arbitration process if they are terminated during their probationary period. While they may not receive all rights until they are permanent, they do have the right to representation and the Union can file grievances on their behalf if the contract was violated.

If you have any questions on your contractual language, contact your USW Staff Representative, or a member of the Paper Bargaining Team in Pittsburgh.

Consumers Prefer and Trust Print on Paper According to Survey

An international survey of over 10,700 consumers was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by independent research company Toluna in June 2017. The survey was undertaken in ten countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Overall, findings conclude that consumers trust, enjoy and gain a deeper understanding of information read in print, with signs of digital fatigue and concern for security and privacy evident.

Click HERE to view the full report.


2018 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference

Registration is now open for the 2018 HSE Conference. The conference will be held from March 26-30 at the David L. Lawrence Center and Westin Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA. Registration opened on November 1st, and closes the week of March 19, 2018.

Click HERE for all details on the Conference.

USW Local Union #676 and IBEW Local Union #1653 – Verso Corporation – Luke, MD

Union safety committee members and others complete two-day training, part of the United Steelworkers/Tony Mazzocchi Center’s “Preventing Fatalities and Improving Safety and Health in the Paper Sector” Project. On October 18, 2017 the two Local Unions’ leaders and safety committee members participated in the first day of training; on October 19th they were joined by management counterparts for the second day, focusing on “Increasing the Effectiveness of Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees.” Steve Sallman from the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department and Alexis Clemmons, a worker-trainer from USW Local 9-738 facilitated the class.

Union and management are in the process of starting a new labor-management safety and health committee. The group focused on the essential elements of a labor-management safety and health committee; structure, meetings, agendas, duties and functions. The group had good interaction and discussions on how to move forward with priority items. Names and specific dates were assigned to the items to achieve their plans. The labor-management group will focus on the Central Safety Committee first and will eventually develop Departmental Safety Committees. Participants identified several current health and safety concerns such as Green-on-Green Training, Staffing Levels, Hazardous Substances and Nip-points on Machinery, and will continue using the strategic planning charts provided in the training program to address these items.

Participants’ comments following the sessions included: “Hands on, we jumped to the area we needed to work on.” “The process flow went well.” “The stories and experiences worked well.” “Management and union exercises were useful in determining common ground.” And “Great structure for meetings and next steps.”



Industry Update

West Linn Paper Mill to Close

The West Linn Paper Mill located in Willamette Falls, OR will soon close after 128 years of operation. A significant reduction in available pulp was cited as the primary reason for the closure by a Company representative.

In 1986, the mill, originally named Willamette Falls Pulp and Paper Co, was sold to James River Corporation. It closed in 1996. The mill was acquired in 1997 by an investment group and re-opened as a non-union shop. Approximately 250 jobs will be eliminated.

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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