Thursday, September 25, 2008

Union Management Meeting – September 17 2008


Union Management Meeting – September 17 2008

Union Committee Present: Doug Wood, Lee Rodger, Jeff Bromely, Dave Szots, , Enzo Caccavo, Ron Fisher, Brian Gaudet.
Management Present: Ian L, Mark T, Brad J, Jean Luc C, Eric D, Dave P, Roland K


1.Company Update
Union: Why in the July U/M meeting did you say that we will not be having any downtime until the two weeks at Christmas, now we are hearing one week in October and one week in November as well as the two weeks at Christmas?

Management- The budget was not passed by the directors at that time. We are looking at taking 15 days (at the planer) and 12 (at the sawmill) for the 2009 Tembec year (October to October) This is when lumber prices are historically lower. We plan on running with no downtime the rest of the fiscal year. We try to give as much notice as possible but with the problems in the industry as we have seen its hard to give lots of notice and still maximize our profits and in this case minimize our losses.

Union- this extra downtime is really hard for our people to swallow when they have been working hard despite the industry woes. Our production at the mill and planer has been very good.

Management- This downtime is not due to low prices it’s more a matter of lack of fibre to run the mill at current levels. We must say that we are very proud of the Elko workforce- Elko is the flagship of Tembec.

Union- The workers of this mill are a proud workforce and that’s why you see good numbers. Even though times are tough they know that safe quality production is the only thing they can control.

Management- At $220/fbm we loose less money by shutting down. Its governed by log supply, chip supply, and price with the least possible impact on workers. The market forecast is for $240/fbm. Things are bad but as compared to the rest of the industry Elko has ran somewhat consistent.

Union- What about restarting the workshare program? We are loosing people left right and centre. Fourteen people with seniority between 12-15 years have quit.

Management- Your managers have conveyed this message at higher levels to us as well as the need for apprenticeships. This is all on our radar, we are looking at all these concerns. As far as the workshare program we will investigate the possibility of this once again.

2. Log Yard
Union- Why have you been using the cat/grader operator in other jobs such as loader?

Management- Is he not in a utility type job with the cat/loader bid?

Union- No, we will be addressing the log yard personal on this issue and we will notify you of our direction on this issue.

3. Safety meeting at the Planer
Union- Last week on n/s the supervisor held a safety meeting in the early morning, then he emailed the minutes to our safety coordinator and he showed up to deal with a concern at 6:30am. He then proceeds to take a extra 20 min. of production time to deal with the concern. We then heard that he got his hand slapped for taking too much time??

Management- No, that is not true. It showed up as 45 min. of downtime so the question was asked as to why so much downtime. Once answered nothing else was said. He did not receive any flack for the extended meeting.

Union- We believe that the safety coordinator is doing a great job. Our people comment on how they see him out and about all the time. This is something that we are not use to. It’s good, it shows interest in safety. We are very pleased with
him.

Management- Let me just say this, safety is #1 and production is not sustainable without safety. All of our management has been clearly mandated with this. (JLC)

4. Management calling people at home on RTW
Union- A worker was called at home about a issue with returning to work. He was not very happy about this.

Management- We just called him to see if he could do the single bucksaw with some adjustments to it.

Union- We worked hard to get the RTW committee going again and you are circumventing it and undermining it.

Management- (Tembec’s head of HR) I understand what the union is saying and they are correct, this needs to be followed. Use the RTW committee.

6. Hiring problems
Union- It takes too long to get people hired, the process is too long.

Management- We agree. We are working on expediting the process. It is changing and we are no pre booking medicals. The process will be sped up.

7. Switching of breaks
Union- Why is it that on one crew in the s/m they pay more ot than that of the
other? This causes animosity.

Management- We agree, it should be paid. For the extra cost its worth it in the
long run.

8. Planer charghand posting
Union- One of our members was approached by the weekend c/u charghand as to working weekends as c/u charghand. This should be handled by the Planer superintendent NOT a charghand.

Management- It was brought up to us by the Plant Secretary.

Union- Yes, and you did not get back him. The blowdown is bargaining unit work.

Management- We will post for the blowdown to ensure the senior worker gets it. Tembec’s head of HR- If something is brought up make sure you put a time line on it to be dealt with. Also do not pit one member against another.

9. Trainer designates
Union- With the training of new workers they are going into areas of high impact. We don’t think that people with three months service should be training the new workers, the trainer should have experience. The result is better trained safer and more productive employees.

Management- We have good trainers. We also pay a higher rate of pay to these people. We want the best people training but sometimes the labour crunch plays a part. We have a two tiered training system, the more experienced workers will get pulled to go onto another job when the shift is short. Then we will get another worker who might have less experience and use him as a trainer.

Union- You reap what you sow. You have no idea if this second person has any bad habits because they have little experience. On B crew in the s/m the supervisor was going to use a new employee to train another, we reworked themanning and used a senior person.

Management- (senior s/m superintendent):”don’t feel the pressure of production
it’s safety first here”

10. Community Trust Program
Union- Some workers have been denied the early retirement, why?

Management- There are two technical reasons why we cannot sign the letters, these people in question can meet with HR again to discuss it further.

Union- Consider the optics of this in the public eye: you approve two at the Cranbrook operations, one at the Pulp mill but you deny our two guys!!!

11. Apprenticeships
Union- What’s going on?
Management- There is a cost to apprenticeships; we are looking at a way to reduce the cost. We are throwing ideas around like maybe doing one internal and one external. We are looking at many things. Apprenticeships have merit in this valley but we need ways to mitigate the cost. We want to have something in place by the end of this quarter.

Union- One internal and one external?? Not going to happen. We have people who have been waiting years for this, if you plan on upsetting the apple cart, this will do it. There are people established here, families, homes, they are not going anywhere. We are going to loose four millwrights in the next five years.

Management- It’s a matter of cost and risk

Union- Risk!!?? You are talking about the value added plant and the millwright who left there for $7 dollars/hr more to go to the pulp mill. This is not the value added plant. You need to look at each division individually. What about the electrician?

Management- we will start interviews soon.

12. Auto grader
Union- We hear its on hold?

Management- Yes its been put on the back burner. It was conditional on the the company selling some land, this has not happened.

Union- When?

Management- That depends on payback . The auto grader is a 2-3 year payback. We have bought some 3-4 year old kilns from Kamloops and we are dismantling them right now, these are immediate payback (cost of energy) the auto grader is a good idea but the payback is longer.

Union- Post some fork operators then.

Management- We have two in the system, this should alleviate pressure on the graders, this week was bad with first aid recerts, there were two graders that are also first aiders.

13. Planer supervisor position
Union- What is your plan?

Management- We are posting internally and externally. We would like to promote from within.

Union- We would like to offer some advice.

Management- such as?

Union- we support your idea of promoting from within BUT we have a problem with (relief)supervisors that were and are union/committee bashers being in positions of power. We will no longer tolerate this as a committee and we will address those persons as the complaints arise.

Management (JLC) - We agree, this is a union operation and it has no place here.

14. Plans for Sawmill A crew
Management- We are not prepared to comment on this right now

* Union Update: the sawmill supervisor in question in terms to the related harassment charges, AMONG the settlement terms, the supervisor in question will not return to the shift until the completion of professional training course(s) relating to the situation.

15. Lumber Gauges
Union- The autolog goes out of control from time to time and the gauges we have are insufficient, we need new ones.

Management- We will look at getting new ones


16. Orientation training
Union- Are you still using our designate orientation trainer? We feel you should use him more and have a problem with the one you substituted him with.

Management- He was away before, but he our guy, we would like to you both
or them in tandem.

Management- We would like to give kudos to Jay Kerr for his work with the kids clean up crew. There are a lot of new young workers on his crew and he has done a great job. One worker lost a shovel in a tail spool, so Jay stopped work and took all the workers for a crew meeting and explained the safety aspects of the situation. Good work Jay.


these notes submitted by:
Lee Rodger
Elko Plant Secretary

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