Monday, February 4, 2008

Union Management Meeting, January 2008

Union Management Meeting – January 31, 2008

Union Committee Present: Doug Wood, Jeff Bromley, Bryan Gaudet

Management Present: Dan Dumas, Ian Lind, Brad Joseph, Dave Payne, Eric Drixler, Wade Lightburn, Steve Wilson.

Meeting commenced at 2:00 P.M.


1. E.I. Workshare Program
UNION: Our Committee representative has signed off on the program but there’s still some work to do.
MANAGEMENT: The February 7/8 downtime will be the first day included in the program. That means that workers will get 55% of their gross wages for the down day. It will take some time for the checks to start coming but once they start – usually 4-6 weeks – workers will get one every two weeks. We also have to get everyone to sign on to the program.
UNION: There are also some answers that haven’t been answered by E.I. The bureaucracy is huge and it doesn’t seem that everybody’s on the same page. This what we do know: Workers who haven’t been on E.I. for the past ten years – which is a lot of workers at Elko – don’t have to pay back E.I. premiums if they go over the 47, 750 gross wages for the year. The workshare program is separate and different from any exiting claims and doesn’t affect the amount of insurable weeks a worker has left. Holidays are the same thing; workers just don’t participate in the workshare that week if they are on holidays for the week. All workers will be brought up to 32 hours – regular laid-off workers or regulars that don’t get their 32 will be able to make it up on the weekends with maintenance helper or clean-up and all senior guys won’t be able to top up until ALL junior workers – excluding Casuals – are up to 32. After that senior guys can make up their hours and will have to report it.

2. Sunday Work
UNION: We know there is a lot of trepidation on workers about the Sunday work for straight time. We’re recommending you don’t work them and put any other scheduled work on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
MANAGEMENT: We need the clean-up crew on Sundays because maintenance needs the clean-up out of the way of their work.
UNION: What did you do in years gone by? The clean-up crew just worked Friday nighshift AND Sundays for three shifts. You’re working two shifts and one less day and shouldn’t need Sundays. Besides, you could save on a chargehand by using the Supervisors who are still here on the Thursdays and Fridays we’re down, supervising nobody.
MANAGEMENT: We have some first aid coverage issues there but it’s an idea worth looking at.
UNION: We’ve seen the arbitration about the Sunday work and we know that our regular guys have rights to the work but you don’t have to pay the OT rate they would usual get. But in the end we want the regular laid-off guys getting in before the Casuals get any.
MANAGEMENT: With the workshare it probably won’t come into play anyway.

3. Apprenticeships
UNION: We are losing an electrician, are you going to think about an apprenticeship?
MANAGEMENT: We trying anything we can. We will exhaust all possibilities of hiring before we post an apprenticeship but we do believe in the apprenticeship program and will use it if we can’t fill the vacancies.
UNION: The trade shortage is bad but the best way to combat that is by promoting from within. You’ll get guys who can do the job and actually want to stay here. With us working just three days/four days, you’ll never attract anyone.
MANAGEMENT: We’re also looking at recruiting globally.

4. Vacation Scheduling
UNION: The guys are going to want to know soon if they’ve got their vacations, have you got a date yet?
MANAGEMENT: Jeff and Bryan from the Plant Committee are going to do it this year so as soon as we have every request in those two will get the time needed to complete it.
UNION: What about concerns and questions?
MANAGEMENT: All three of myself (Ian), Dave Payne and Brad Joseph are available for any queries.

5. Planer Runs
UNION: Some of the Planer employees are concerned about the quality of the lumber coming out of the Sawmill. What’s happening?
MANAGEMENT: We know about the quality issues and we’re making the necessary adjustments at the Sawmill. The step on the 2X8 probably cost us about 15% in added value. The roll on the Cant Optimizer is now fixed so that should help alleviate the problem.

6. Discipline Policy
UNION: We would like you to review your discipline policy concerning the size of the suspensions that you dole out if warranted. With the current economic situation and the employees, except management, taking a hit in terms of a day a week and two days on each pay we think you should adjust them accordingly.
MANAGEMENT: We’ll take the suggestion under consideration.

7. Chipper purchase?
UNION: We’re hearing that we’re buying another chipper. Is this true?
MANAGEMENT: We don’t know.

UNION: You don’t know? We’ve been told that money has already been approved and it’s in the process. We’re concerned about this new chipper being staffed by our (USW) workers and whether or not this would affect our up-time at the Sawmill.
MANAGEMENT: If we do buy a chipper it would be run by our crews and no, it wouldn’t affect the Mill’s up-time. We’d need it just to keep up to the Pulp Mill’s demand for chips.

8. Downtime Monday
UNION: We miss a full day’s work Monday because of the cold and roads. Why couldn’t we work Thursday/Friday this week?
MANAGEMENT: We talked about it and decided because of the markets and the time of year it would be better if we could add the shift on in April. We hope markets are up and also the run time will be better because of the weather. We probably shouldn’t have run Tuesday either.

9. Blue Cross
UNION: We’re not happy with the situation with Blue Cross. There are members that are doing the steps through their doctors and sending the info to Blue Cross about their medications that aren’t the generic brand but Blue Cross won’t cover. They still won’t cover them. There’re getting fed up.
MANAGEMENT: Unfortunately this has little to do with us and we can’t do much about it from this end.
UNION: Upon further consultation with the Local Union we’ve found out it was the industry who wanted the change to reduce costs. We are getting some information from the Local on how exactly the workers can appeals drugs that aren’t approved.

10. Carpenter
UNION: We have a journeyman carpenter right now in the production ranks and our carpenter is going to be off for some time and could plan to retire soon. With the tradesmen shortage this is a no-brainer to have him on a spare so that he would be used as relief and thus have a shot at replacing our carpenter when he leaves. If not we might lose him.
MANAGEMENT: We’ll look into it and take it under advisement.

Meeting adjourned: 4:30 P.M.
Next meeting: February 27, 2008 (Tentative)

Meeting Notes by Jeff Bromley, Elko Plant Committee Vice-Chair
Steelworkers 1-405.

1 comment:

John@D3 Burnaby said...

Interesting and open process for sharing Plant Committee/Management meeting minutes with your members, Jeff.
Hey... it's an online world!
John Mountain
D3 Burnaby