After a period of time away from the bargaining table, the USW BC Interior Bargaining Committee (USW) and the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations (CONIFER) resumed talks last week and have today, concluded a tentative agreement.
The USW maintained our goal of bringing the Interior Pattern Agreement to their members in Northern BC. This Agreement contains all the gains made in prior bargaining, without the “Canfor Investment Model”.
While details of the agreement won’t be released until the BC Interior Bargaining Committee has had an opportunity to first discuss the tentative agreement with their northern interior members, a quick overview of the tentative agreement reveals a 4-year agreement that greatly enhances job security, improved Health and Welfare benefits, the overdue stabilization of the Forest Industry LTD Plan, and union security provisions that significantly improve contract language surrounding the permanent and/or partial closure of lumber manufacturing operations.
In addition to 2% wage increases in the 3rd and 4th years, a trades rate adjustment reflects the needs of the Union and Industry. A profit pay plan may provide additional compensation as the industry recovers.
The Bargaining Committee is pleased with the outcome, and is recommending the membership ratify this tentative agreement.
Source: USW BARGAINING BULLETIN #36 - August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Union Committee Present: Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Ron Fisher, Bryan Gaudet, Enzo Caccavo.
Management Present: Brad J, Dave P, Roland K.
Meeting commenced approx. 2:30 P.M.
Welder for Conveyor Project
MANAGEMENT: We haven’t found a contract welder yet. We think Tony could do the job if we could free him up.
UNION: Why not train another spare oiler?
MANAGEMENT: We will post the spare oiler job on Tuesday.
Powder in Gloves
MANAGEMENT: We are now supplying “yellow” gloves that have no powder. They seem to be constructed weaker than the other ones. The supplier of the gloves with powder is going directly to the factory to find out what that powder substance is.
Water Coolers Exchange
MANAGEMENT: Culligan is doing a complete plant wide exchange of water coolers. This will be done every 3 months. They say this is more efficient than cleaning them one at a time.
Contractors on Site
UNION: What about company policy of contractors coming on site – don’t they have to sign in?
MANAGEMENT: Yes, they must sign in at the office, but not sure what the procedure is if they arrive before the office opens. We should have some procedure; possibly check in with a shift supervisor.
Company Update isn’t Reliable
UNION: A day after our last meeting, when you said we would continue to operate despite low log inventories, you shut down Elko. There is a lack of integrity in your Elko operating forecasts.
MANAGEMENT: We try to give a plan to the best of our ability. It was the red chips that changed our run plan. We met with you on Thursday, but got a phone call on Friday from the pulp mill that they don’t want anymore red chips, and our mill had mostly D.Fir/L to run. That’s why we pulled the plug.
MANAGEMENT: As of now, we have 45,000 m3 of white wood. We will end up with one more week of D.Fir/L. We have had a decent 3rd quarter, as you can see in our financial reports just released. We are producing “rig mat” from 2x8 F/L in Elko.
UNION: Will that affect the Planer rough inventory?
MANAGEMENT: We are sitting on 13 to 14 MFBM of rough dry, so it should balance out. We will know more this weekend after month end inventory. (Min. we like is 7 to 8 MFBM in rough dry lumber.)
Safety Concerns on Sawmill “A” Crew
UNION: A log chaser on this crew who was under-trained went into a position on his job that was very unsafe. The foreman did not go to the problem area despite radio chatter about this issue.
MANAGEMENT: We understand that the new radio with the ear plug wasn’t in proper position on his hard hat, so he didn’t hear the radio chatter.
UNION: As more guys are encouraged to learn jobs by osmosis or to say they know how to do a job, this creates serious holes in training our workers. There needs to be more proper training done, for safety’s sake.
MANAGEMENT: We agree there needs to be more training. Additionally, the supervisors are to observe and attend problems, and talk to the workers. We will discuss this with them.
Pulp Mill Receives Safety Awards While We Do Not
MANAGEMENT: We remain under budget constraints, so we have no Safety Award Program.
Counselling Notes without Union Representation
UNION: Any discipline whatsoever requires you have a Union Representative present, including counselling.
MANAGEMENT: Counselling is not discipline. We agree on discipline to have a Job Steward present.
UNION: But you will use counselling in arbitrations, so it is discipline.
MANAGEMENT: No, we can talk to our employees anytime about work performance.
UNION: We will get back to you on this matter.
MANAGEMENT: And we will change “Counselling” to “Letter of Discussion.”
Training Not Timely
UNION: Regarding training and job postings – we have two recent examples of how the committee has been flexible in training schedules but it has and could cost hours in a reduction in forces for trainees who didn't get trained as per the agreement. We are talking about the Spare Watchman, and the Spare Edger jobs.
MANAGEMENT: We try to train properly, but there are times when training doesn’t happen as per the agreement.
UNION: We realize we put pressure on you to fill positions, but the problem is that jobs get filled ONLY ON PAPER.
MANAGEMENT: We need to say no to training during peak vacation periods.
UNION: When won’t there be peak periods? With Spring break, Summer vacation time, Fall hunting season, and Winter Christmas, it looks like only January and February are available for training.
-Training by osmosis seems to carry on. You should carry extra manpower for the purpose of training.
MANAGEMENT: We cannot carry extra manpower. Company bosses won’t allow it.
UNION: Well it seems those bosses also preach safety. How can you train workers for safety then don’t have enough manpower?
MANAGEMENT: We will make sure safety is a priority.
UNION: Let’s have Rick review the manning list, job postings, and training in consultation with you guys.
Contractor Worked During Mill Shutdown
UNION: The Log Processor Contractor worked while Elko was shut down, and this is against our agreement to have a non-union contractor working in our yard while we are laid off. We agreed to help the Company save some money using this Contractor instead of an immediate upgrade to the log deck. Then you had him work instead of us.
MANAGEMENT: This is a new situation. We needed him to produce shorts which are 20% of our cut. We failed in not advising the Committee. Eventually we will be getting a new log deck, just not in the near future.
UNION: This agreement of having a non-union Log Processor on site started in 2007. It’s about time we reviewed your plans about this machine and the new log deck in a meeting with Roland and our Local Union officials. Let us set that meeting up for the end of August.
Electrical Contractor on Site
UNION: This electrical contractor on site with his “helper” equals the contractor and his apprentice. This is a slap in the face to us when we have our own posted apprentice going without training!
MANAGEMENT: We are hiring another hourly electrician, and we are pushing for our apprentice to be trained. We are meeting tomorrow on our manning budget
UNION: We have a real problem with contractors having their own workers do “grunt” work. That is our work. A few years ago when Fabrite did the sawmill refit, we had our guys do the labour work under their instruction.
MANAGEMENT: We had more of our workers free at that time. Currently most of our workers are being used in the mill. But we can stop this helper tonight – he is not our apprentice.
UNION: Yes, put a stop to the helper working and use one of our guys if available.
-We also see contractors at the kiln doing welding…who is doing their fire watch?
MANAGEMENT: Since it is inside the kiln, in a non-combustible area, the contractor is doing his own fire watch.
UNION: There should never be any of our workers sitting at home when there is this type of labour work (“grunt” work) available.
Who Is Weekend Clean-Up Chargehand at the Planer?
MANAGEMENT: mainly Jeremy S. and part time, Rick B.
Spare at the Kilns
UNION: Who is spare at the kilns? We are getting complaints about workers who are in jobs that they have no right to them.
MANAGEMENT: Aubrey (planer infeed fork operator) is spare at the kilns, and Enzo (kiln fork operator) is spare at the planer infeed.
UNION: How do you have each fill the others spare, except by not moving either of them? (lol)
MANAGEMENT: This hasn’t happened. We don’t fill in at the kilns many times.
Overtime Policy When Letourneau Is Down
UNION and MANAGEMENT: The Letourneau and Loader both unload trucks. When overtime is required to unload trucks, and the Letourneau is down, it is the Letourneau operator job to unload the trucks.
UNION: Additionally, the dayshift log loader duties need to be clearly defined.
Grade Checker – Planer QC Job
MANAGEMENT: We don’t believe simply grade checking is the way to go at the planer. We need an individual on a part-time basis who has skills in operating the planer computers, lumber grade instruction, directing manpower, etc.
UNION: We know you have an individual in mind that fulfills these requirements, but our question is, since he wasn’t trained to begin with, how did he get that training, and why can’t others, in line with seniority be afforded that same training? We think if you post this job as a Grade Checker with extra requirements, on a “as needed basis,” and train the person properly, you will get a good individual in that position.
MANAGEMENT: We will have this position categorized as a Relief Supervisor, and choose our candidate as such.
UNION: Then the question must be asked, who is this Planer Q.C. Relief Supervisor filling in for – which supervisor? You do what you have to; we will leave it at that for now.
MEETING ADJOURNED 4:40 P.M.
Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Secretary for the Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405