Friday, August 15, 2008

Update ELKO August 12, 2008

update after the two week summer shutdown.....
The Plant Committee met with the Company (Elko Management) on July 24, 2008
Last set of grievances at Step II went this way---

R - Missed OT
R claims he wasn't called but the company stated emphatically that they did. Basically, because we couldn't produce any phone records to back our claim - we contacted Telus but they don't track local, outgoing, calls, just long distance, or at least they wouldn't let us have a look at them - it boiled down to a he said/he said issue. We couldn't prove otherwise so at the very least we had the company issue a memo to all supervisors that they are to at least leave a message, if possible, for all calls so that there is no confusion. Call display doesn't cut it. (Grievance Dropped)

G - Missed OT/Job posting
G originally held the weekend blowdown posting before the lay-off of the third shift. They cut the OT for over a year and decided to post the weekend blowdown again. We had a problem with that because G already held the posting. They argued that because there was such a long time without any OT it should be posted again and we disagreed. The one problem now is that because of the alternate shift schedule the Weekend OT is done on Fridays, where G did it on Saturdays in the past. G couldn't do this because of his Planer Fork permanent. The posting will go ahead as planned (L and K - both senior to G - got the postings) and now we are pressing for the Planer OT (blowdown) to be scheduled as the Sawmill is so that the Planer workers can have a shot at this. (Grievance - Comprimise)

Job Posting Supplement - Non-compliance
We hit them hard with this after the Pd B.S. and said that they are obligated to post and enforce the agreement, permanents (especially the Prime Sorts) and Spares, regardless of how hard they think it is. Basically they didn't have an argument and, again, committed to making sure that the postings are kept up. Some discussion was held around getting a local (Elko) LOU around not having to hold the spare to get the permanent, which holds up a lot spare postings, and in turn use straight seniority for the permanent and the spares would be strictly relief. I would like some feedback from the committee to approach the Local for some guidance and blessing, as we have the ability to do this on a Plant basis. (Grievance in Abeyance)

Pd - Dismissal without just cause
Pd was let go as a temporary transfer due to what the company called incompetence on the Prime Sorts after approximately three weeks on the job. Long story short is that we argued that the Prime Sorts are bid jobs and should be done by bid-holders or spares, not new hires or transfers. Pd's situation is such that, as a 34 year employee with the company - great personnel record, perfect safety record - expecting him to pick up the Prime Sorts and be as good or better than a young person just starting out is unacceptable. Pd's situation being that he is a temporary transfer and thus doesn't accrue any seniority, dictates that the company can use him in different situations - such as clean-up at the Sawmill or Planer for relief or weekend maintenance helper/clean-up - they didn't have to terminate the transfer. As callous and disrespectful as it was I think the company might come around on this. They indicated they may be able to bring Pd back in the above capacity. I'll find out today. If not we'll be moving to Step III.

K - mandatory training for operators paid at straight time
K signed up to get the air endorsement training in June on a Friday after he'd already completed his forty hours for the week (Sawmill Alternate Schedule). He asked me why would his be at straight time when he's already completed forty hours. I agreed and checked with the Local and they said that if the training was mandatory then they HAVE to pay OT where warranted. If the training wasn't mandatory then it isn't OT. The company then stated that the training wasn't mandatory and that K signed up of his own accord. End of discussion. (Grievance Dropped).

M - Company not enforcing WCB Smoking regulations to provide a smoke-free environment
After explaining the situation - M went home on Thursday morning after being unable to work in his booth because the previous operator had obviously smoked in it - a situation that had dragged on all week - M grieved that he be compensated the wages. After a relatively short discussion the company came round and paid M the lost wages and committed to enforce the smoking policy and regulations. This should be a stern warning for anyone caught smoking where they shouldn't be because the company is going to come down hard to make an example of them. (Grievance accepted).
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I think there's a few more on the docket from the Planer in the form of Step II Grievances that we'll have to schedule. Please update when you get a chance. Off the top of my head: B was missed weekend OT that's at Step I and a Welder was not allowed to write the electrical exam. Thoughts?

On a brighter note the shutdown could be the last one we see for a while. Lumber (Random Lengths) has the price of Western SPF at $272-$277 range, creeping up, and the dollar sits below $0.94 U.S. and falling. Both good news for the industry. Some guarded optimism maybe?

Lots of stuff to digest so please feel free to comment.

Also, on a sadder note, today is the day that one of our best activists, Barry Mitchell, starts with Elk Valley Coal. I think that he's taking some holidays as others have done but in my discussions with him it's sound's like he's not going to come back. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Barry for all his dedication both at the Plant Committee level and the Safety Committee level, that's made Elko a better, safer place to work. Good Luck.

source- Jeff Bromley, Tembec Elko Plant Vice Chair, Tembec Elko Safety Comm Chair, USW 1-405 Third Vice-President

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