Monday Morning Minute: Oct. 12, 2020

INCIDENT ALERTS

USW Local 4-18 and Local 4-155 – Finch Paper – Glens Falls, N.Y.

On October 2, 2020, a supervisor and an IBEW union member were seriously injured by an arc flash in an MCC room at the Finch Paper fine paper mill in Glens Falls, N.Y. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

USW Local 12-1189 – Cascade Pacific Pulp – Halsey, Oregon

On September 24, 2020, two members were seriously injured by a hot wire and electrical box that arced nearby at the Cascade Pacific Pulp mill in Halsey, Oregon. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

USW Local 364 – Graphic Packaging – West Monroe, La.

On September 25, 2020, a member was seriously injured at the Graphic Packaging pulp and paper mill in West Monroe, La. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

USW Local 9-425 – WestRock – Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

On September 23, 2020, a member was seriously injured by a plugged overflow tank at the WestRock kraft paper mill in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. The complete details are unknown at this time, and we will follow up in the near future with more details when they become available.

Union Work 

“What’s So Cool about Manufacturing?”

USW Local 10-701 – Domtar – Johnsonburg, Pa.

The Domtar mill in Johnsonburg, Pa., worked with local students to create a video highlighting the mill and all of the interesting processes that go on there. Titled, “What’s So Cool about Manufacturing”, the video was entered into the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Contest, in which the entry won Best Overall Video. The collaboration is a creative example of exposing younger generations to the intricacies of manufacturing processes and the jobs that make them happen. Copy and paste the following link into your browser to view the video: https://youtu.be/Jl69MnxI_ac.

PCA Virtual Renewal Bargaining Summit

USW Locals 646, 3937-14, 8-699, 955, 12585 & 895-5 – Packaging Corporation of America – Valdosta, Ga., Phoenix, Arizona, Richmond, Va., Liverpool, N.Y., Filer City, Mich., & Arlington, Texas

The PCA locations that are either holding their first or second local renewal bargaining under the Master Agreement met virtually on Friday along with the staff representatives of each site, Local management, and corporate and USW paper sector leadership. Typically, these renewal bargaining summits are held in-person annually, with the affected sites bargaining in that year, but due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, this year’s meeting was moved to a virtual format using the FMCS’ RingCentral platform.

A union-only session was held prior to the joint-session with management. The group as a whole reviewed the items that should be bargained locally and those that are already covered under the master, like major economic terms. Each site also held individual labor-management breakouts to participate in an exercise designed to practice problem-solving based on the renewal bargaining concepts discussed earlier in the meeting. The renewal bargaining summit has proven to be helpful in improving the success of our local renewal negotiations.

Safety

USW Hazard Alert – Fatal Accident with Paper Bale Staging and Storing

A paperworker was fatally injured when a bale of recycled paper, weighing approximately 1,200 lbs, fell on him. Unfortunately, the USW has experienced many incidents with falling bales in storage and production areas with employers in different industries. The victim had been assisting in de-wiring recycled fiber bales by cutting and pulling the bailing wires from a bale. The victim was assigned to the area because he was on restrictive duty. Having a member assist in de-wiring was an out-of-process event. Typically, there is one member in the area who is both staging the bales in the production area using a forklift and de-wiring them. The bales are stored in a different area of the mill and staged in the pulper room.

After de-wiring a bale, the member stepped back to remove himself from the path of the forklift. The bales, stacked three high, were directly behind him. The top bale fell from the stack and pinned him between the fallen bale and an adjacent stack of fiber. During the storing process, the bales had been exposed to moisture from leaks in the roof. Although it could not be determined if the exposure to moisture from the roof was a contributing factor, loosely baled product did contribute to the incident. He suffered a broken leg, sternum, ribs and back along with a punctured lung and bruised heart; these injuries proved to be fatal.

To view the entire hazard alert and recommendations to prevent recurrence, click here: https://www.usw.org/get-involved/hsande/resources/hazard-alerts/Hazard-Alert-Fatal-Accident-with-Paper-Bale-Staging-and-Storing.pdf

Industry Update

Cascades to Shut Tissue Mill and Converting Operations in Pittston and Ransom, Pa.

USW Local 1448 – Cascades Inc– Pittston & Ransom, Pa. – Last week, Cascades announced that it will progressively shut down its tissue production and converting operations in Pittston, Pa., and Ransom, Pa., beginning on December 7. The Ransom plant has two paper machines – one that produces retail napkins and towels, and a second that produces retail facial and bath tissue; the Pittston site includes converting operations. Approximately, 200 USW members are employed between the two sites, and staff will begin effects bargaining soon.

The Cascades Ransom and Pittston operations produce retail tissue, towels and napkins – a market that has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While consumer tissue products have experienced an increase in demand, the away-from-home segment, comprised of the tissue products used in schools, offices, airports, etc, has suffered with less people utilizing these products outside the home.

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