Saturday, December 6, 2008

Union Management Meeting – December 4, 2008



Union Committee Present - Jeff Bromley, Ron Fisher, Enzo Caccavo
Management Present - Ian L., Roland K., Dave P., Warner R., Mike M.


Meeting commenced 2:30 P.M.

Preamble: Information from E.I. says taking vacation pay as a lump sum on January 14, 2009 will affect E.I. benefits for that year. More investigation needs to be done to determine what the exact effect will be.

1. Jean-Luc
Union: We would like to thank V.P. Jean-Luc for giving our union management relations a more positive spin. Working together is much better than always disagreeing, and an improvement in how we work with one another.

2. Work Share Program and more lay-offs?
Management: Work share has been applied for, but no decision has been made if the company will use it or not. We are not certain only two weeks downtime will be taken in the First Quarter of 2009. A decision will be made by December 22. Communicating this decision may be difficult, as Elko will be down.
Union: If you email the Committee information about your decision, we all know somebody and we can pass it on.
Management: Work Share has two problems – 1. Flex issues (taking the time off when most needed) and 2. Maximum time (taking time off when markets are the poorest.)
- this is the normal time of year for the U.S. not to be building inventory
- hoping that December will lead to the traditional increased sales that month
- the current forecast is for less than 800,000 housing starts versus the 2.4 million housing starts a couple years ago
- Tembec mills down east are taking big hits.

3. Production in other divisions – what is happening there?
Management: Other divisions will be taking downtime same as Elko.
- Finger Joint market is looking very poor
- Pulp prices are stable and margins are good, especially in Skookumchuk
Our lumber now on a new cutting program, with less square wood being produced.

4. Providing Adequate Training on Jobs for Trainees
Union: We need to be more diligent in training workers. Example – a worker was deemed competent on one shift, but wasn’t found to be competent on the next crew.
Management: We will provide the extra training needed for this worker, and will provide adequate training for all workers.

5. Reviewed training status for a number of workers
Management: We are looking for another spare oiler because we want to keep Jay doing some welding work.
We have three new hires in the system. This should help out a lot.

6. Working from Afternoon Shift directly into the following Night Shift
Management: Nobody can stay and work 16 hours unless we authorize it, then they will be paid at the correct overtime rates.
Union: If there is a request from a worker to do so, would you consider the compromise that Dave P. put forward, that is to allow the person to work the afternoon shift then work 4 hours into the night shift with you paying the correct overtime rate?
Management: Yes, we can do that.

7. List of Competent Operators
Union: it may take some work, but can we sit down and draw up a list of competent operators. Such a list will help out the new supervisors, especially in filling in for overtime positions.
Management: that is a good idea. A question arises, if a person hasn’t done the JSB for some time, say, one year, is that person still competent. This especially comes into play when workers are looking for overtime.
Union: yes, since the JSB is a function of safety, similar to wearing PPE. We will argue that person is competent.

Management: For overtime then, if a worker is deemed competent, and the job hasn’t changed substantially, then it the supervisor should take the 20 minutes or so prior to the overtime and have the worker go over the JSB to ensure that worker is doing the job safely.
Union: can we have written confirmation of competency. Maybe we need to keep our own log books and get signed off on jobs we get trained to do.
Management: Supervisors sign off on a training record we maintain when the worker is trained.

8. Community Trust Program Applicants
Union: we understand two workers close to retirement were granted letters to allow the Community Trust Program to help with their early retirement funding. A third worker was not signed off by the company.
Management: Since the details of this program are always changing, this third worker should apply again in the spring, and we can look at it then.

9. Electrical Apprenticeship
Management: we should have one or two apprenticeship discussions for next week, maybe Friday.
Union: what if those who pass the exam, medical, and interviews turn out to be equal by all applicants, how will you decide the successful candidate?
Management: it will be by using their seniority. We should then announce next week that the senior candidate will become the apprentice.
- V.P. Jean Luc wants us to look at making the apprenticeships good for Tembec and for the guys here by controlling risk and cost. Down east Tembec has been burned by training apprenticeships and then watch these guys leave our company after being trained.

10. Safety Awards and Status of Program
Union: can we have an updated list as to where each crew is on this Safety Incentive Program? Some guys got the safety award vouchers, and didn’t know what they were for. This doesn’t teach much incentive. Workers don’t understand on what this program is based.
Management: Ian will look at making sure this information is communicated to the crews.

11. Banked Time
Union: can we change the “one hour rule” in banking overtime?
Management: No, we cannot find time to do the extra bookkeeping tracking every minute of overtime necessary to bank overtime. Steph already has enough work to do in this overtime record keeping area.

12. Lumber Grading Classes
Management: Yes, we will be holding lumber grading classes for all divisions this year. They will start in January 2009. All lumber graders required to return will be paid at straight time, and new comers who work in the industry are welcome to attend with their grading class fee being paid by the company.

Meeting adjourned: 4:30 P.M.


Notes submitted by
Ron Fisher
Job Steward
Elko Plant Committee USW Local 1-405


***Reminder for work during any shutdowns -
Workers must sign up for this work on the sign-up sheets, just the same as for any weekend overtime.

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