Monday Morning Minute: October 21, 2019

Union Work

Correction to October 14, 2019 Monday Morning Minutes

Last week we misreported the Local Union number and location for the membership that ratified a new agreement. USW Local 1799, representing Lydall Performance Materials located in Beaver Falls, N.Y., ratified a new agreement covering nearly 50 members. Congratulations to the membership of Local 1799!

Kimberly-Clark Closes Tissue Plant in Argentina and Global Union Solidarity

On October 8, Kimberly-Clark announced the closure of its tissue unit located in Bernal Argentina, near Buenos Aires. Before the closure occurred, 200 workers declared a strike and occupied the plant in defense of their jobs.

In early 2018, Kimberly-Clark announced that the company would close 10 unidentified plants over a three-year period and dismiss 5,500 workers, pitting all plants against each other and throwing workers into insecurity and uncertainty through a corporate restructuring plan. The plan resulted in plant closures and job losses, including a USW-represented facility in Neenah, Wis. The USW-represented Fox Crossing, Wis., facility remained open, but only after deep concessions that harmed both workers and the community and state tax breaks, despite the company’s profitability.

The USW participates in a global framework agreement with Kimberly-Clark and global labor federations, UNI and IndustriALL. Together, we have participated in coordinated global actions denouncing the company’s treatment of its workers. For more information on the closure of the mill in Bernal and up-to-date information on the workers’ fight for their jobs, visit the following Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyClarkEnLucha.

Union Plus Free College Program

USW members in the paper sector are eligible for an exciting new educational benefit available through Union Plus. The free college is an online program offered through Eastern Gateway Community College in northeastern Ohio, open to USW dues-paying members and/or their immediate and extended family. Members can earn an associate degree in a number of fields like business administration, finance, cyber security, advertising, etc.

The free college program is entirely grant-funded and regionally accredited. Tuition, books and other fees are free, and credits earned through the free college program are transferable to other schools. This can save you thousands of dollars if you are thinking about enrolling in a full bachelor’s degree program.

Click the link for more information: https://freecollege.usw.org/

Safety

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

On October 7- 8, Local 10-701, representing the Domtar Johnsonburg mill and USW Health, Safety and Environment staff, worked to improve the safety committee at the mill. According to the Local’s safety chair, Mike Maloney, “the training was received really well. Green-on-green [new hires training new hires] was a big part of the focus, and other immediate hazards were identified. Mike also said that the Local’s next central safety meeting will be dedicated to the findings obtained from the training.

Forklift Accident at Maryland Paper Company

A man was injured in a forklift accident at Maryland Paper Company on October 14. The complete details are unknown at this time, but preliminary information is that the man was run over by the forklift while working at the paper mill. While this is not a USW-represented paper mill, the incident reinforces our need to focus on mobile equipment hazards in the industry.

Industry Update

USW Local 1286 – Greif – Mobile, Ala. – Greif to Shut Uncoated Recycled Board Machine at its Mobile, Ala., Mill

On October 15, Greif announced that it would be shutting one of its two uncoated recycled board machines at the mill located in Mobile, Ala. RISI analysts estimate that the machine accounts for about 2 percent of industry capacity. The number #2 board machine at the mill will continue to operate as normal. The mill was formerly owned by Caraustar, and was included in Greif’s acquisition of the company at the beginning of this year. The USW represents nearly 50 members at the facility.

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