Friday, November 27, 2009

Union Management Meeting, November 26, 2009

Union Committee Present: Doug Wood, Jeff Bromley, Ron Fisher, Dave Sherret, Don Wheaton, Dave Tracey, Rick Boekestyn.
Management Present: Ian L, Brad J, Roland K, Rob M.
Meeting commenced at 2:20 P.M.

Introduction of new Plant Committee Members, Dave Tracey, Don Wheaton and Rick Boekestyn


Union Safety Committee Resignation in effect for the Joint Committee
MANAGEMENT: Jeff MacKay of the WCB had a few suggestions to get our Joint Industrial Health and Safety Committee functioning properly when we get back working together. He said to remember that this Joint Safety Committee is a recommending and review body for safety issues at the plant. This Elko Joint Safety Committee is
(a) too big in composition – a smaller but consistent group of members would be easier to work with, and more consistent in attendance,
(b) not following time lines for accomplishing goals, and
(c) Needs to be balanced in the Joint Committee, with equal number of Management representatives and Union representatives.
UNION: The composition of this Joint Safety Committee occurs because of shift work – we need coverage on every shift, so we can’t agree on making our side of the Safety Committee smaller.
MANAGEMENT: We were told Safety Committees that are successful are those that have a two tiered committee, with information passed on from the smaller main Safety Committee to the individual shift Safety Captains.
UNION: We will continue to use the members elected for the Safety Committee to represent the union workers.
MANAGEMENT: We need the Safety Committee to return to their position.
UNION: We are looking for progress on outstanding safety issues dealing with the garage/shop, the roadways, and the ramp to the log deck, etc. When we see concrete actions, we will consider returning to the Joint Industrial Health and Safety Committee.
MANAGEMENT: We are working on all of these issues. The ramp will be graded tomorrow, and the garage/shop has had new safe work procedures initiated. Grading the roads right now in wet conditions isn’t going to be effective, but we can fill the larger pot holes. We now have a sand truck/snowplough, and our intention is to put a blade on it for the winter.

MANAGEMENT: We have been directed by the W.C.B. to have union or hourly workers at our next safety meeting on December 16. We may have to direct hourly workers to attend.
UNION: You can direct workers to attend as you wish, but what is the point if they don’t participate, or fall asleep at the meeting? Without cooperation, they may as well not be there.
MANAGEMENT: We also have some safety training that we have scheduled for some workers on our Safety Committee. We need to know right away who will be attending.
UNION: We will let you know next week of our decision in participating in the Joint Safety Committee.

Skookumchuck Scaler
MANAGEMENT: The Canal Flats scaler has been doing this from day one.
UNION: Why was this the case?
MANAGEMENT: It was originally a satellite of the Canal Flats scales. If you need more information on this position, you will have to contact FRM (Forest Resource Management.)

Cleaning Culligan Water Coolers
MANAGEMENT: We have spoken to the Culligan people, and they have been told to clean each cooler, and sign off on a card at each cooler so people can see when the cooler was last cleaned.

Job Evaluation, Bryan Gaudet Training in this
UNION: We have Don Wheaton with evaluation training on site to help Bryan in his training as our new Job Evaluation Committee Member. Our former well experienced member, John D., will be unavailable except as a volunteer.
MANAGEMENT: Lana from Cranbrook H.O. will come out to help Brad, Bryan and Don. But we can do the evaluations when more convenient.
UNION: (Don Wheaton) it is important to start the process as soon as requested, since rate increases awarded by job evaluations commence only from the date of the request.
MANAGEMENT: Let’s look at January when there is very little vacation time, so we will have manpower to have Brad, Bryan and Don work on the Job Evaluation requests.

Phone at Lumber Graders Station and Phone Extensions List
UNION: The phone has been replaced at the graders station, but we still need a flashing light installed to alert lumber graders of incoming calls in case of emergencies.
MANAGEMENT: We are having this dealt with, and will put out a list of Elko Plant phone extensions with the next pay cheque.

Cash Donation to Dean and Family because of House Fire
UNION: We want to thank all the workers for contributing to help out Dean and his family. The Elko plant raised over $1400 in total. We wish Dean all the best in recovering from this disaster.


Canal Flats Fire – Any Determination?
MANAGEMENT: It was found to be caused by human activity, accidental or maybe deliberate.

Operational Plan – Any Time Off?
MANAGEMENT: There will be no time off other than the stats at Christmas because the pulp chip inventory is too low. Because of this, Canal Flats will have a third contract chipper in their yard to supply additional chips for the pulp mill. Additionally, there are no foreseen lay-offs at this time.

Christmas Stat Change
UNION: There is no contract language covering moving the Boxing Day stat from Saturday to Thursday.
MANAGEMENT: We know it will help many with travelling plans just a day before Christmas, and it will also help us out here at the plant with month end.
UNION: We will ask the crews for their input and get back to you.

Extra Carpenter at Elko
MANAGEMENT: We will only have a certified carpenter working on site. We are going to bring in a temporary certified carpenter to help out with all the extra work coming up.

Janitor Duties at Planer
UNION: We are asking for more consistent cleaning in the planer lunchroom and planer bathroom.
MANAGEMENT: Expectations are given to workers to keep their areas clean, including the lunchroom and bathroom.
UNION: That doesn’t address the need for sanitary conditions, regardless of some workers being pigs and making a mess. We want our lunchroom and bathroom to be sanitary. Will you give a commitment to getting the janitor to clean these areas more frequently on a regular basis?
MANAGEMENT: We will discuss this with Dave P., the Planer Superintendent. You should note that there is someone at the planer writing on the bathroom walls in shit. This is unacceptable and we will take action.
UNION: Can you make some of the other planer bathrooms useable again?
MANAGEMENT: We will talk to Dave P.
UNION: What about the sawmill lunchroom, it needs to be re-built.
MANAGEMENT: We agree, and have already decided to do that project.
UNION: Can you make the re-built lunchroom more comfortable. Studies show a workforce with a good lunchroom to relax in fosters a more safe and productive worker.
MANAGEMENT: Bring us your suggestions on what you think would make the lunch room better.

Hiring Workers
MANAGEMENT: We will be hiring six casuals for weekend work, and four new full time workers. We will have both Larry A. and Larry S. work as weekend charge hands with this new group of casuals since the new casuals will need to be trained all at once.

Overtime Policy, finalize it for 2009
MANAGEMENT: We have the wording ready for Elko Overtime Policy, but need your input on the hours needed for a break between end of shift and beginning of overtime shifts.
UNION and MANAGEMENT: It is agreed that the minimum number of hours between the end of a regular shift and the beginning of scheduled overtime will allow for six hours break.
UNION: You should set up the hours of work for the overtime shift, so if a guy can’t work the scheduled set of hours, then it would go to the next guy in line with seniority who can work those overtime hours.
MANAGEMENT: We understand. Our overtime starts with regular times, beginning at either 7 or 8 A.M. on the weekends.

Smokers Accommodation
UNION: Do you want a request for accommodation in writing from each addicted smoker?
MANAGEMENT: What we will do for one smoker in this matter, we will do for all smokers.
UNION: Smokers are addicted and therefore defined as a person with a disability. It might be easy for people to tell them to quit, but in reality, they are suffering from this addiction, and will become irritated from all the pressure of not smoking and lack of their habit at work.

PPE – Shirts, Hoodies or Jackets
UNION: You provide people in the yard with shirts and hoodies that are hi-viz.
MANAGEMENT: That was an old decision; we don’t do that anymore, and won’t do that for workers inside the mill.
UNION: Did you not buy a lot of hi-viz vests? Where are the workers going to wear them, in the plant?
MANAGEMENT: No, they are to be worn from the dry shed to the work station. You can take them off once in the mill.
UNION: Wouldn’t it be easier to make it safe to cross from the dry shed to the mill entrance by simply stopping traffic in the yard. Create the position of a “traffic guard.” (LOL)
MANAGEMENT: We as Elko Management were not involved in this decision to wear the vests.

Hard Hats in Graders Station, etc.
MANAGEMENT: We cannot designate the graders station as a booth, but we have agreed to work on what it will take to make it a booth.
UNION: What about “bump caps.”
MANAGEMENT: They are not CSA approved, so we won’t allow them.

Tembec Labour Relations
UNION: These are some points brought up to Management from the workers perspective-
· Workers at Elko are glad to have jobs here, but, are workers, log truck contractors, and local suppliers only Cattle to this company? No wonder we have low morale.
· Why does Tembec, at higher levels, treat our union brothers and sisters badly as the old-time BOSS? Examples –
- Pine falls (solution: settle this agreement)
- Cranbrook (solution: do the right thing and pay severance)
- Elko (solution: respect workers input)
· Policy without reason is an insult to thinking rational adults who work here.
· Such policies create tension, example: lumber graders and the hard hats in their booth.
· Our mission must be to safely produce a socially acceptable product – lumber and chips. It isn’t for us to be here on your property so you can BOSS workers around!
· You need to stop the negativity you are generating from higher levels at the workplace and in the community.
· You are supposed to help us do our job, not make our jobs harder and more difficult!
MANAGEMENT: Looking at the overall picture of making Tembec survive, we have hurt some people along the way but done the right thing in terms of cost cutting, and keeping the company running.
UNION: But we have policies driven from above without input of local workers. You can expect you workers to be bothered by that.
MANAGEMENT: Workers should move on and not be eaten up by these directives.
UNION: For sure, smokers with a heavy addiction will be physically bothered by your Tobacco Policy. They are, in fact, “eaten up” by your directives. And that’s not right to do that to them or to other thinking people who work here.
MANAGEMENT: Maybe if Jim L. and Dennis R. would have communicated their reasons for full PPE, them seeing the most successful companies go in that direction, perhaps the implementation of this policy would have been more palatable.
UNION: We realize these policies do not come from Elko Management, but want you to communicate back to those giving you direction that we want them to help us do our job, not make our jobs harder to do.


Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Ron Fisher
Secretary for the Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this company doesn't know when to say there is going to be a lay-off or not. It turns out the time between Chrismas and New Years is lay-off time, despite earlier company statements of no lay-offs. "Panting for cash" comment by USW Bob Matters might be the buzz word in Tembec's overall future.