Tuesday, July 15, 2008

June 26 Union Management Meeting, Elko Division

Union Management Meeting Notes – June 26 2008

Union Committee Present: Doug W, Lee R, Barry M, Jeff Bromely, Ron Fisher.
Management Present: Ian L, Pat B, Eric D, Dave P, Roland K, Brad J.

ITEM#1. Industry Update
Management- Pulp talks continue, Canfor in P.G. is the target mill. There was one proposal rejected already. Pulp price remains strong and is forecast to stay that way for a while.
Union- What about our outlook?
Management- The 2wk shut in July/August and nothing more for the year. (Note: that being a Tembec year, which is October. We cannot say for sure but it could be possible we might not take anymore downtime between now and Xmas. (No guarantees) On another note for mill nets, we need an approximate $300/1000bf to break even. We lately are at $240.
Union- You should post this information for the people to see.
Management- We will do this.
Union- The old kilns are “bleeding”, they are very inefficient.
Management- We are spending $50 000- $75 000 on the tracks of the old kilns alone, we know they are in bad shape BUT we need and will make them last for 4-5 more years. At that point we plan on new kilns. We are also looking at replacing the natural gas with shavings.

ITEM#2. Auto Grader
Union- What is the latest?
Management- The P.A. is in. We just need the go ahead. We are looking at land sales to help pay for this (approx $3 million). It could possibly go in this fall but we don’t have a firm date. It will require NO GRADERS AT ALL only one grade checker. The stacker operator will pull out the obvious off grades. Also we are looking at upgrading the bins and then there will be no bin chaser either.
Union- So are you saying that the stacker operator will have to have a grading ticket?
Management- No
Union- What about the s/m?
Management- We are planning a “slasher deck” to eliminate the barko. It’s in the budget for 2009.

ITEM#3. Smoking policy
Union- This is actually a “Tobacco Policy”
Management- Yes that is correct. The rooms will be shut down this weekend. There is a package being put together by upper management for support as far as cessation, but we do not know exactly what it will be.
Union- This being a tobacco policy, this means no more chewing tobacco?
Management- Yes and it will be enforced just as the smoking will be.
Union- Is this within Civil Rights? This is not a law. The law is being adhered to as of this weekend June 28 2008. This policy is not common law. You are violating civil rights and the right to choose.
Management- No we are not, this is private property, we have the right to implement Tembec’s smoking policy as stated by upper management.
Union- People have the right to choose, and you are taking away that right.
Management- No we are not, they can smoke all they want off company property.
Union- What if a person goes to their car and smokes in it?
Management- We will have to get back to you on this.
Union- We will have people on their breaks driving across the tracks and having a smoke.
Management- As long as they are back on their job when their break is over. Back east that is what the workers do; they go off company property on their breaks to smoke.

ITEM#4. Apprenticeships
Union- Where are we at?
Management- The next group will write the Electrical next week. So far nobody has passed.
Union- What about future apprenticeships?
Management- We feel apprenticeships are the way of the future.
Union- Too bad you didn’t listen to us 5 years ago, we would not be in this position.
Management- As far as the other trades are concerned: filing room – we are over, so nothing for a while. In the Heavy Duty shop, maybe one, in the Planer we are good and for millwrights 1 or 2 for 2010. One more Electrician next year.
Union- You say apprenticeships are the way of the future but you are not really taking a close enough look at things. We have retirements, health issues and aging crews in this plant, yet you don’t seem to see this. We know it cost money but is costs money to make money and when this industry turns around you need to come out of the gate flying. Let’s not forget the labour market favours the worker right now, and specifically the tradesman, so don’t think for a minute that this is the best place to work, there a lot of other choices out there.
Management- We need to save money right now but as we said we do believe apprenticeships are the way of the future.
Union- Why lay off our apprentice filer?
Management- Canal has 5 filers we have 8
Union- We do bands at Elko
Management- Canal is very short right now
Union- Why not lend out our apprentice?
Management- We would like to do that if it is possible.
Union- Why don’t you take him to round saw, then at least we have something?
Management- We don’t need another round saw.
Union- Let us tell you, you are in danger of losing him, what a waste that would be. Lost investment.
Management- We are going to eventually be using a central filing room for both mills and use our core filers at each mill. There is also a machine out there that you put one saw in and it will “clone” the rest of the saws, so you don’t have to file each individual saw.

ITEM#5. Electrical Contractor
Union- We are disappointed to find out 3rd or 4th hand about the contractor. Why?
Management- The plant manager dropped the ball on this. We apologize.
Union- Only the 2nd time the contractor came were we notified. We have another electrician here between Canal and Elko is he term?
Management- Yes
Union- We do need the holiday relief for our guys.

ITEM#6. Manning problems
Union- We have had a number of people quite in the last while. These people are lost investments. These are very senior and trained people, what do you plan on doing?
Management- We are doing more recruiting as we speak, we have done interviews this week. Back east is finally recognizing the shortage of labourer/trades out here.
Union- You have lost 20 year people and for every 10 people that say they are looking at going, bet your bottom dollar 2 to 3 do actually leave.
Management- This has been brought up at out meetings and where we should go.
Union- We can’t compete with the money of the mines but we can do the small things like giving the people Xmas off. Also it’s not only money that people look at, its advancement eg. apprenticeships.
Management- Again its money
Union- Again it takes money to make money. Look at your $3 million dollar auto grader.

ITEM#7. Management shake up
Union- What’s this we hear that you are doing away with the safety supervisor position? Don’t you think this sends a clear message to the workforce that safety is not #1
Management- No it’s not the message we are trying to send. We want to raise the standard. We have an individual that does the safety job in Canal and Cranbrook and now he will come to Elko part time. He is very effective and he will do the job well.
Union- No arguments that he is good but don’t you think he will be spread very thin. You tried this years ago and it didn’t work then. Our safety effectiveness will be eroded away with one guy for 3 mills.
Management- He will get the resources he needs to get the job done. We will not let him get burnt out.
Union- Is this all in the name of saving money?
Management- No, we are doing this for” the best of this division”
Union- What about the Planer?
Management- Dave Payne is the official Planer Superintendant
Union- On the Planer, what about A crew?
Management- We will use relief supervisors.

ITEM#8. Job Postings
Union- We need to modify the CLT JSB
Management- We will get one of the CLT operators to do this; he is familiar with the JSB’s.
Union- There is no agreement by this committee that the outstanding spares need not be posted.
Management- We disagree.
Union- We are at a point where we need to renegotiate this agreement and use straight seniority.
Management- We might be at that point.
Union- What about the scaler job?
Management- We use 2.5 scalers and we have a reduction of pulp loads.
Union- We have a spare doing a permanent job. Post the permanent.
Management- We don’t want to deal with the hassle every time they get laid off and go to the s/m or planer.
Union- A spare covers for a permanent when they are off, this spare has been there for over a year.

ITEM#9. - 16 hr shifts: proper rates not being applied
Union- There are certain workers that are allowed to stay over and work 16 straight hours and not paid the proper rates. This is a slippery slope. We can’t uphold the contract on one side then look the other way another time, effectively picking and choosing what we want. We have an obligation to uphold the contract.
Management- People are doing this for convenience.
Union- We understand that point but not only is it a certain few that are allowed to do this, you can’t pick and choose. Not to mention the safety factor, how safe do you think it is for a worker to work 16 straight hours in one of the most dangerous industries then drive home?
Management- We think its more safe when a worker knows they are staying for 16 hrs than when they are asked near the end of a shift to work a double, at least they are prepared and can rest before work.
Management- We need to look at this from a safety aspect and put this under review, (HR representative)

ITEM#10. Acceptability of time between shifts
Management- we thought there was a minimum 6 hrs between shifts?
Union- No, we had a fork driver come back last year from d/s and finish the last part of a/s
Management- We try to split the shift to avoid doubles. We will tie some standards to this.

ITEM#11. One foot fence at the Planer
Union- The one foot fence has not been working for quite a while, at a time when we need to save money this is just a complete waste of money. If you want to trim three feet on one end of a board and one on the other, you can’t. You have to make an extra trim mark, thus wasting wood, which is money.
Management- This is not a big deal, it doesn’t amout to much money

Minutes by: Lee Rodger, Elko Plant Secretary

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