Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Union Management Meeting, January 28, 2010

Union Committee Present: Doug Wood, Jeff Bromley, Ron Fisher, Bryan Gaudet, Don Wheaton, Dave Tracey, Enzo Caccavo, Rick Boekestyn.

Management Present: Ian L, Brad J, Roland K, Dave P.

Meeting commenced at 2:20 P.M.

IMMEDIATE BUSINESS (ahead of the Agenda)

  • Introduction of member, Jacqui B., to discuss Skookumchuck scaler.

JACQUI: Why is this scaler from Canal Flats in the position at the Skookumchuck scales?
MANAGEMENT: He was grandfathered in, since the Skookumchuck scales used to be part of the Canal Flats Scales.
JACQUI: You have scalers here who would like to be given the opportunity to the travel time and other benefits he gets, and good scalers here who are not working as scalers, but instead you bring a guy out of retirement to cover for the guy doing that job in Skookumchuck.
UNION: Is this guy off of the Canal Flats seniority list?
MANAGEMENT: We could find out, but he does have a lot of seniority, so he would be the candidate for any opening in the Skookumchuck scales anyways.
UNION: Roland, we will leave it up to you to find out what is in the FRM agreement for benefits, since it appears the Skookumchuck scales falls under that agreement. And find out the exact nature of this scaling position in question.

  • Fatal Injury of Log Truck Driver on January 26th.

MANAGEMENT: A brutal event occurred on January 26 in which a log truck driver, who hauled to Elko, was killed when his truck was parked in the loading area at a landing. He went under his truck to adjust the brakes, and his truck rolled. He was brought to the Sparwood Hospital, but passed away from his injuries late that afternoon. The RCMP, the Coroner’s office, and our investigative team from Calgary will be looking into this incident.
UNION: You should talk to the crews about this event.
MANAGEMENT: Warnings to our employees will come out of this.


Job Evaluation Training for Bryan Gaudet, JOB EVALUATION REVIEW COMMITTEE MEMBER
UNION: Paperwork has started on this. It was begun awhile ago by John de Jong. We should note that there will be a backlog in completing Job Evaluations, since our Provincial Evaluator is tied up in Provincial Contract Negotiations.
MANAGEMENT: We will have our office staff here probably in March to get some paperwork going, so Bryan will be able to help out on that. Training for Bryan will occur as we go through evaluations, case by case.


MCC Panel at Sawmill Stacker Not Working
UNION: We talk about safety a lot, but why wasn’t the MCC Panel that locks out the mill stacker not fixed right away?
MANAGEMENT: There must be a “work around” to deal with it. We understand parts are on order. It should be fixed January 29.
UNION: The “work around” wasn’t done until the issue was pressed. Our supervisor told us to simply hit the stop button if we needed to go into the bite. But we can’t lock it out without the MCC panel working, so that was totally unsatisfactory.
MANAGEMENT: It was reviewed at the crew meeting with instructions not to go in that area.
UNION: No, communication was not clear on this matter. Eventually we were told that the electricians will pull out the power wires if we need to go into the bite there. Additionally, the people with authority should have tagged this MCC panel immediately. It didn’t even look damaged.
MANAGEMENT: A reminder is that to follow proper lock out procedure, you as workers must test all equipment you lock out. If it starts up after being locked out, you know it is unsafe to work on that equipment. Then you should get an electrician or maintenance supervisor to the scene right away to tag the MCC.
We will follow up on this matter with the supervisor.

Will recent Pulp Mill Downtime cause any Sawmill lay-offs?
MANAGEMENT: There are no discussions on Sawmill downtime, period.
UNION: Despite the Pulp Mill downtime, it looks like their chip pile is fairly small.
MANAGEMENT: Keep in mind we are maintaining minimal inventory.
UNION: What is our dressed lumber inventory?
MANAGEMENT: We are sitting at 13 million FBM, but we are getting a lot of sales. We are even using rail cars out of Cranbrook to move our product, since it is difficult to get all the trucks we need for shipping. We should drop down by at least one million FBM is stock by next week.
UNION: What is our optimal stock pile of lumber
MANAGEMENT: Nine or ten million FBM, but 6 or 7 million used to be what we wanted in stock. You will see more loading of dressed lumber on trucks in the evenings and on weekends in the short term, to accommodate sales.
We even had to use Enzo on January 23 to help load trucks.

New Stumpage System
UNION: Will the new stumpage system make a big difference to Elko? We hear from our Local Union that this could have an impact, and if so, you should let us know, and we can all campaign the local MLA, Bill Bennett, to insist we are not negatively affected by it.
MANAGEMENT: We understand you will want to help on this matter. Right now we’re not sure how it will affect us, but will look into it and get information for you on this.

Elko Q.C. Supervisor and Planer Supervisor for A Crew
MANAGEMENT: We will have some discussions on these positions in the next 2 weeks. Dennis R. is looking favourably at a Q.C. Supervisor for Elko. Then we can deal with a Planer Supervisor for A Crew. Until then we will use a Relief Supervisor.
UNION: Keep us in the loop as to when you put a worker into the Relief Supervisor duties. Workers who are Relief Supervisors are not entitled to overtime within the bargaining unit on the days they work as a Relief Supervisor. This matter always comes up, but it should be understood that by being a Relief Supervisor, that worker is outside of the bargaining unit for the duration, until that worker returns to his bargaining unit job.
MANAGEMENT and UNION: We have an understanding that the job of sawmill Q.C. assistant is a bargaining unit charge hand position, and not Supervisory position.
UNION: Does the lumber grading instructor get paid by C.O.F.I. (Council of Forest Industries – grading agency.)
MANAGEMENT: Not anymore…the company pays. C.O.F.I. issues the Lumber Grading Tickets.
UNION: Why don’t you teach the grading course on shift, since it is only 3 hours per week?
MANAGEMENT: It is the same old story; we do not have enough lumber graders for relief to do this.

Grade Checker at Planer
MANAGEMENT: We do not have a full time position for this job. We will make use of a Grade Checker on an “as needed” basis.
UNION: (Ron) Dave P. and I have an understanding that while Jeremy S. instructs grading classes, until the end of February of this year, the grade checking will be done on a rotation basis by graders on dayshift interested in looking at lumber, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (depending of manpower.) It is hoped this temporary Grade Checking availability will foster more interest in the product lumber graders produce, and assist lumber graders in learning from the lumber they check.

Watch Committee
UNION: If we re-activated the Retirement Watch Committee, could we use payroll deduction for easier way of collecting funds?
MANAGEMENT: There will be no payroll deductions. You should collect from crew to crew if there is enough interest in re-starting that Committee.

Worker Retirement
MANAGEMENT and UNION: Congratulations to Lewis on his 45 accident free years of work at Elko. Best wishes from all here in Elko to Lewis on his upcoming retirement.

Banking Overtime
MANAGEMENT: We have found one instance of this happening, and it will be stopped. We don’t have the staff to do this record keeping, and it must be done properly when overtime is banked.
UNION: We hope that at some time in the future you can return to banking overtime because many guys liked it.

Return Specific Shift Designation to Job Postings
UNION: When a job posting comes up, we all know it is to fill a hole in a certain shift. We should return to having that information on the posting. There is a requirement for that in our Job Posting Supplement.
MANAGEMENT: People should understand, when bidding on a job posting, it is the job you bid on, not the shift. We will print a line at the bottom of the Job Posting indicating the shift.

Spare Jobs
MANAGEMENT: When does an employee lose their current spare when posting to a new spare?
It used to be when training on the new spare was commenced. We want to return to that because it will keep the spare jobs moving in an orderly manner, instead of delays from waiting for people to decide on their new spares. Besides, the Job Training Agreement specifies no training until you accept the spare job.
UNION: People here thought you had 20 days to try the job. Unfortunately, that clause only applies to the Permanent Job Postings.
We would like to open up the Job Posting Supplements for negotiations.
MANAGEMENT: Sure, but we need to address our current issues now with what we have in the agreements. If you guys have ideas on a new program, get them together, and let’s get a committee organized to look at it.
UNION: When a person bids on a spare job that he/she has no idea what it is, there should be some time frame for them to at least see the job, say 4 hours or so, to determine if the job suits.
MANAGEMENT: At the mill, Mike M. is now doing the job postings, and Warner R. is now doing the manning. At the planer Dave P. is doing the job postings, and Brett O. is doing the manning.
UNION: The Job Postings List needs to be reviewed and updated, when can this be done?
MANAGEMENT: We can do job vacancies and vacation scheduling at the same time, say week of February 8, using Rick and Jeff. End of March is deadline for the 2nd round for vacations.
UNION: Let us post extra NON-SIGNING job postings more widely through the plant.
MANAGEMENT: Sure, the signing lists will remain one each in the planer foreman’s office and the sawmill foreman’s office, while additional notices of job postings can be put up at the garage, log yard, scales, and kilns areas.
(NOTE: to view the Job Training Program Supplemental Agreement, click here)

Vacation Pay Issue “The Greater Of”
MANAGEMENT: Frankie and Liana will be sorting this out in line with our decision to pay the “greater of.” Forms are to be returned to payroll by Elko supervisors soon.

· We will be calculating your percentage vs. weekly earnings “greater of” based on your posted permanent job.
· If a worker does not have a permanent job, then we will base the calculation on the Elko mill entry rate.
· Whenever a person takes their 10th day of vacation in 2010, payroll will automatically review to see if there is a greater amount to be paid out based on their regular job rate at the time of vacation.
· Early February is when we expect to have this calculation done for pay-out, and we will pay-out any “greater of” funds using the existing instruction sheets you have already sent in for your vacation pay last December.
UNION: We appreciate your response and handling of this vacation pay matter.

Vacation Pay Remaining
UNION: Can you create a spot on our pay stubs to show the amount of vacation pay remaining in our vacation pay account?
MANAGEMENT: We will talk to payroll and see what can be done in that regard.

Sand Truck
MANAGEMENT: We have our own sand truck now, and will only use a contractor for this in emergencies.

Road Grader
MANAGEMENT: We are in discussion with FRM about getting a road grader on site for Elko. We are in the process of looking at 3 machines in Tembec stock, but don’t know when it will be for sure.

Other Contractors On Site
MANAGEMENT: Other than the road grader, the only other contractor on site is the log processor. The long term plan is to build a bucking station, but for now, this processor is saving us $12 to $15 per thousand. That is the reason we need to renew our LOU (Letter of Understanding) for a one year period.
UNION: We will get back to you on the LOU.
Is this processor working 24/7?
MANAGEMENT: No, but he might work a Saturday or Sunday.
UNION: What about first aid coverage.
MANAGEMENT: He is not on our site if he doesn’t have first aid coverage.

Weekend Fork Operators Pushing Kilns
UNION: We are allowed to push the kiln without first aid on site. We simply have the watchman assist.
MANAGEMENT: We do use the “working alone” policy where the fork operator must check with the watchman every hour on the hour. However, this may not be the best policy to use when fork operators do more than just driving the machine and need to climb on loads, etc. We will review this with Rob M. next week.

Poor Road Conditions and Slowing Down
UNION: Poor conditions, such as when icy or full of pot holes, warrant mobile equipment operators to slow down appropriately for their own safety. You need to ensure operators of mobile equipment are aware of this.

Dust at Planer Infeed
UNION: This remains a concern to the workers living in that dust for their 8 hour shift.
MANAGEMENT: We will be installing exhaust ducting over the infeed pineapple rolls this weekend. The large fan across from the tilt hoist now has been exhausted directly outside, instead into the strip area.

10 Hour Sawmill Workers working at the 8 Hour Planer
UNION: What do you do for workers who move from the mill to the planer which has two different shift schedules for hours of work?
MANAGEMENT: We have them work the normal planer shift so we don’t have to pay overtime for 10 hours work at the planer. We don’t guarantee them exactly 40 hours work when moving between planer and sawmill, but do offer hours to make up the 40 hours as long as not overtime or call out time is involved.
UNION: There is no 10 hour shift at the planer, so any work done on jobs at the planer over 8 hours is overtime.

Garage Temp.
UNION: Can you update us on this.
MANAGEMENT: We will wait until a certain person comes back to work and go from there.

Millwright Retiring
UNION: We understand a millwright will be retiring soon. What are you plans with this position.
MANAGEMENT: We will have to confirm this information.


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


Information of interest-

· The Elko Plant Committee publishes online at

· Tentative date for Elko’s Sub-Local meeting is Sunday, March 21, 2010.

The business of this meeting will be:

  • -Plant Committee Elections
    -Safety Committee Elections
    -Resolutions to the Annual Delegated Meeting
    -Election of Delegates to the Annual Delegated Meeting
    -Discussions on a new Spare Job Program

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