Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Union Management Meeting - March 31, 2010

Union Committee Present: Jeff Bromley, Ron Fisher, Bryan Gaudet, Enzo Caccavo, Dave Tracey, Rick Boekestyn, Rueben Blackwater.
Management Present: Ian L, Brad J, Dave P, Roland K.

Meeting commenced at 2:30 P.M.

· Announcement of Plant Committee changes for 2010 to 2012 term and introduction of Reuben Blackwater as a new Plant Committee member.
· Thank you to everyone at the Elko site for raising over $3000 for the Rawson family.


Seniority List to Include New Hires
UNION: We want a “company” seniority list available for all to see to show the new hires start dates.
MANAGEMENT: OK. This seniority list will go to the supervisors and we can post it in both sawmill and planer offices.
UNION: The Local wants an updated list too, so we can work on our Union Seniority List.
MANAGEMENT: Hopefully we will have our seniority list out by the end of this week.

Road Grader
MANAGEMENT: It is here, and it’s a pretty big machine. We are checking it out mechanically.
Brad will make arrangements for our road grader contractor to commence training our guys.
UNION: Make sure your expectations of operating this machine are made clear to both the permanent and spare operators.
MANAGEMENT: Yes, except for snow or wet conditions, we expect a couple days on the grader per week “on average” is our plan.


Mill / Company Update and Operational Plans
MANAGEMENT: We have no change in our operations. We are running through the year and foresee no shutdowns. Should there be any shortage of rough inventory, we could see late July-early August with a day or so of planer downtime.
UNION: Even with the rising Canadian dollar, does that weaken our position?
MANAGEMENT: That is countered with a lack of volume on the market and high demand keeping our prices up.
UNION: We understand that the “Rig mat” we produce increases our mill profit. What about the mill stacker improvements to handle this product?
MANAGEMENT: Good idea.
UNION: Have you given any further thoughts to scheduled shutdowns during the high vacation periods?
MANAGEMENT: We have had limited discussions. We will need numbers to convince the company heads, since this will be solely a financial decision.

Foreman for Planer “A”
UNION: Continuous use of a relief supervisor on this shift is causing manning problems at the planer, especially among lumber graders. Although last year you let all the planer supervisors go, running a crew with relief supervisors doesn’t mean you eliminated the job.
MANAGEMENT: We have the planer foreman position up right now.
UNION: The use of relief supervisors at the planer only creates shortages in available lumber graders, since that’s the job you expect relief supervisors to have held.

Moulded Earplugs
UNION: We request you come forward with a policy to provide moulded earplugs to your workers.
MANAGEMENT: We will run it by Mel Jones (Canal’s G.M.), do an analysis, and get back to you.

Cabling Logs for increased inventory
MANAGEMENT: No we don’t cable logs anymore, and have got rid of the cables.
We keep low inventory to manage cash. Our target log inventory was 130,000 cubic meters, but is now 109,000 at peak inventory.
Fibre will be stock piled in the bush so we don’t have to pay fees on it, such as stumpage.
UNION: Is there no increase in log inventory in case of bush closures due to a hot summer?
MANAGEMENT: No there will be no inventory increase; it is a risk we have to manage.
MANAGEMENT: The scales will be going down for only 3 weeks, and the Letourneau is down on April 5 for 3 weeks.

Canal Flats has a Checker Grader – Elko doesn’t, Why?
MANAGEMENT: We understand they are moving away from using a Check Grader, but we will find out.
UNION: If the answer is Canal will use a Check Grader, will you post for one in Elko?
MANAGEMENT: We would have a discussion on it, but we still say the Check Grader is going away.MANAGEMENT: Dave P. is putting into place a program called “Quality by Design.” Quality checks and reports will be made at various stations, at the CLT, the Planer paper wrap, etc., to assure customers we are paying attention to quality.

Where was Consultation with Planer Workers on the New Chairs and Tables
MANAGEMENT: People could have had their say when this topic first came up.
UNION: No, people were not consulted and many at the Planer don’t like the soft covered benches and big tables taken away. The small tables leave little table area where we can keep our lunches off the floor.
MANAGEMENT: We understand most guys like the new tables and chairs.
UNION: To address keeping items off the floor, why not install wall hooks to hang stuff on.
MANAGEMENT: There is a fund to improve lunchrooms, etc which we can spend, but we should have one representative off of each crew to get employees suggestions as to what is needed, or wanted.
UNION: Now that lunchrooms are improved, how about the washrooms?
MANAGEMENT: Agreed. We are looking at it.
UNION: The suggestion for the women’s washroom at the Planer is two stalls, since sometimes all the women end up working on the same shift.

Student Letter
MANAGEMENT: Students start as casual workers sign this letter then will be required to sign it annually and provide proof of their student status.
UNION: Who will be responsible to administer this?
MANAGEMENT: Brad J. hires the casual workers. We want to implement this because of a couple of people were missed, and got their 30 days within 90 (became regular workers.) Doug Wood used to be with Brad on the Hiring Committee.
UNION: Rick and Jeff are also on that committee.
UNION: We will have to check with the Local Officers about signing authority on this letter.

Watchmen to Have Level One First Aid
MANAGEMENT: We want Elko Watchmen to have Level One First Aid.
UNION: We understand. We have always been above regulatory requirements in First Aid. But Level One only covers 5 or less workers, within a 20 minute drive to a hospital. What about when the chip trucks are on site on the weekend?
MANAGEMENT: If that’s a problem, we will have them wait at the gate, and enter one at a time.
UNION: What if a Watchman fails this course?
MANAGEMENT: You can’t fail this course. If there is an area that is not understood, then the worker goes over it again and again.
MANAGEMENT: We will talk to Rob MacPhee to make arrangements for the Level One course.

When will Planer Tilt Hoist be Fully Automated
MANAGEMENT: In consultation with other electricians and reviewing a similar set up at another mill, we feel it will be a couple of months or so. We will provide you with a definite date later.
UNION: In that case you should produce another letter advising of tech change, since your original letter was some time ago, and may be stale. Some workers may want the tech change buy-out.
MANAGEMENT: We will send out a letter to restate our intentions with the tilt hoist.
UNION: Speaking of tech change, what about installing the Auto-Grader, where is that project?
MANAGEMENT: There have been no discussions on this.
UNION: What about the upgrade of the bucksaw on the slasher deck?
MANAGEMENT: We are looking at it. But the tilt hoist is #1. Anything less than 6 months payback won’t be considered at this time.
UNION: How about the old kilns? The drying time there is supposed to be 58 hours, but some charges take up to 105 hours is how bad those kilns are.
MANAGEMENT: Kilns will be replaced in 3 years is the plan.

Kiln Maintenance Job Needs to be Posted
UNION: Dell R. used to do this job, now you have Ron O. doing it. This job should be posted.
MANAGEMENT: All people in this area have been doing a different job. Now we want more maintenance done, such as motor changes, cart work, door fixes, etc.
UNION: If there is a job there, we want it defined and posted.
MANAGEMENT: If we post it, we might get a Millwright or Planerman there.
UNION: Then you can fill in for the Planerman with Ron O.
MANAGEMENT: We will figure out some kind of posting for the work required.
UNION: With Dennis leaving, what are you doing to replace his Millwright position?
MANAGEMENT: We have posted for 2 Millwrights, and they are now short listed. Interviews will be coming up soon.

Bumping to Jobs on Cross Shift
UNION: This matter has been discussed to ensure everyone on the Plant Committee and Management understands that workers who do not hold a posted job should be given preference to higher rate of pay jobs (if those jobs are not being done by the spare or the regular posted operator.)

Smoke Problem from Burn Pile
MANAGEMENT: We were stocking pulp wood there for 1½ years, and we came to the point of running out of room. A guy came to grind this fibre for the hog burner, but the hog burner went down, and it didn’t need the hog. so we got stuck with a big pile, containing mixture of dry wood, wet wood, and even frozen wood and ice.
After the problems we experienced, we burned this past weekend and dampened it down on Sunday.
We won’t take promises from the Pulp Mill anymore on them taking our hog pile. Once it starts to build up, we will burn it.

Spare Jobs and Training Program
MANAGEMENT: Canal Flats is joining us in looking at the Job Training Program.
UNION: The main problem is tying the spare job to the permanent job. This must be eliminated.
MANAGEMENT: We understand. We don’t want a program to do training for no reason and want a program that will include “ease of managing.”
Roland will put something together for everyone to see and comment on.

Barko Crane
UNION: You should be specific in instructions to the operators of this machine to be gentle with it, and let them know its limitations.
MANAGEMENT: Agreed. We should have key people in there training, and have the new operators sit down with the mechanics to show what this machine does and is capable of.

Water Truck Postings (and Combo)
MANAGEMENT: We will be posting 2 temporary water truck positions.
But we don’t need 3 scalers all the time, just 2 scalers and a little more.
We will bring something to the Committee to see regarding creating a Combo job between the extra
scaling that needs to be done and running the water truck. We have an interested candidate.

Planer Crew Dinners
MANAGEMENT: Crew dinners at the Planer will not be held anymore as per instructions from Rounseville.
UNION: Will you ever get the Safety Reward Program back on the agenda?
MANAGEMENT: We don’t know. There is a safety seminar in Toronto this fall, and we will see what Lopez puts forward.

Kootenay ICE Tickets
MANAGEMENT: We will not do payroll deductions for these tickets. As things improve in the future, we may get back to doing some things like this, but not back to everything.


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

Information of interest –
  • Annual Delegated Meeting for Local 1-405 will be held in Cranbrook on April 17, 2010. Elko has six delegates attending: Mike Calestagne, Rick Boekestyn, Bryan Gaudet, Jeramey Marsh, Al Liboiron, and Dave Tracey.
    - “Union members who are not delegates are welcome to attend.”
  • Job Stewards School will be held in Cranbrook on the weekend of May 29 and 30, 2010.
    - “New Job Stewards and Committee members are asked to attend.”

Sunday, April 4, 2010


The BC Interior Bargaining Committee met with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Associations (IFLRA) again in Kelowna.

While the USW Committee is pressing the IFLRA on adopting the pattern determined in previous industry bargaining in the Northern Interior, the IFLRA is turning their backs on the union’s effort to present a level playing field agreement that will provide fair wages and working conditions. It is clear to the BC Interior Bargaining Committee that the IFLRA is in no hurry to conclude a reasonable and progressive Southern Interior Master Agreement.

The BC Interior Bargaining Committee believes the forest industry will turn around and is seeking a contract that gives our members the ability to share in that recovery.

Bargaining with the IFLRA is scheduled to continue in Kelowna next month.

Source: USW BARGAINING BULLETIN #32 - March 31, 2010