Thursday, September 30, 2010

What the Union Has Done for Me

From the person serving your coffee to the person signing your paycheque, the union has had their influence and knowledge in it. Every break, benefit and comfort we all enjoy, the union has been there. Some enjoy these luxuries more than others, but the union has paved the way for all to enjoy.

Management has forgotten who has gotten them the luxuries they have become accustomed to on the backs of the workers; the people who serve the coffee, process the lumber, mine the coal. Without us they can’t enjoy the bonuses. All we ask is for them to share the wealth and provide equal benefits through decent wages, good benefits and a good pension. After all, are not we the ones making all the money for management?

When times are good we ask to be a part of the riches, and when times are hard we feel the hardships. We accept the layoffs and work force reductions. Management on the other hand is not held accountable. Corporations give bonuses to C.E.O’s but never hold them accountable for their mismanagements. They have forgotten all about the worker.

A question was asked to me: What has the union ever done for me? How about the money you make, the holidays you enjoy, the breaks, the benefits and the backing of an organization that looks out for the average worker, and protects your rights? The question that should have been asked was: What can I do for the union?

Show your support, get involved.


This Editorial submitted by Dave Tracey, Elko Plant Committee Member

Friday, September 10, 2010

Union Management Meeting - August 26, 2010


Union Committee Present: Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Ron Fisher, Bryan Gaudet, Enzo Caccavo, Dave Tracey. Tony Ferreira attended the start of this meeting.
Management Present: Brad J, Ian L, Roland K.

Meeting commenced approx. 3:00 P.M.


OLD BUSINESS

Log Processor – Letter of Understanding
UNION and MANAGEMENT: Company agreed to wording change in L.O.U. with Plant Committee and USW Local 1-405 Business Agent Tony Ferreira.
UNION: Our logyard and loader guys were upset with this processor causing stacking problems. Is this due to the fact he is paid on piece work?
MANAGEMENT: The bush supplies logs 20’6” and shorter and 25’ and the processor is doing better.
UNION: You should communicate this message. Why does the processor work Saturday and Sunday?
MANAGEMENT: This is based on the contractor’s open time. If he wants to work elsewhere, he can work here, for example, 2 weeks at 7 days per week.
UNION: Now what about his first aid coverage?
MANAGEMENT: We have guaranteed him this coverage.
UNION: What is his checking in protocol? How will our guys know this contractor is on site?
MANAGEMENT: We will talk with the log processor contractor and weekend Chargehand, Larry, or other weekend guys whom he will contact using channel 1 to contact first aiders and watchman.
This contractor is not scheduled to work weekends, and we don’t want that to be the norm.

Apprenticeship Update
MANAGEMENT: The Company is not going ahead with apprenticeships at this time. Forecasts show us to be in a better financial position beginning April 2011, and we will see then.
UNION: Last meeting you said it would be in the budget.
MANAGEMENT: A budget is just a plan. It is in our Elko manning request. Dennis R. decides the final budget.
UNION: Where is Scotty in this? What of your commitment to his posted apprenticeship?
MANAGEMENT: He is still in line for this apprenticeship, but in the short term we need to see financial stability before carrying extra bodies.

NEW BUSINESS

Company Update
MANAGEMENT: Pulp is doing well now but forecasted to bottom out in September, and then go up a bit after that. Paper is doing well.
The solid wood side is rough. We expect flat demand for lumber until at least January. Only two of our mills in the east are running. Stud mills are down. Getting rid of chips is a problem in the east.
UNION: Have you looked at European and other markets?
MANAGEMENT: Yes, very aggressively. We used to sell 90% to the U.S. market, but now only 60% is sold there.

Staffing
MANAGEMENT: Steve W. will be going into shipping and kilns. In about 3 weeks Brett O. will go back to supervise his Planer shift. We also will have Brent Laidlaw from Canal Flats to supervise a planer crew. We are looking for another Planer Supervisor, and have postings for this position, both internally and externally.
We hired two new workers for Elko on Monday.
UNION: It is a close line using Relief Supervisors and Chargehand … all out of time not heard of before.
MANAGEMENT: Troy H. will be the new V.P. as Dennis R. moves up.

Why No Saw logs?
MANAGEMENT: We shut off purchasing to bring inventory of saw logs to a level of 50,000 to 60,000 m3 in the yard for year end. We won’t run out of logs and will go back to regular deliveries by October. The mill is looking at running D.Fir/L again around September 20.
UNION: What about the mobile chipper – what is its schedule? And where will it be placed?
MANAGEMENT: The use of this chipper is driven by the Pulp Mill and its chip pile.
The annual Pulp Mill shutdown will still happen in September for 10 days, but they will still need lots of chips and hog fuel.

Dust Control Non-existent
MANAGEMENT: We didn’t put dust control down because of the wet rainy summer. That saved us lots of money not applying the calcium.
UNION: When there is no rain, let us have a commitment for proper manning of the water truck to deal with the very dusty yard conditions.
MANAGEMENT: Usually we man it for 3 shifts, but with absenteeism and vacations and our manning shortage, we let it run short to accommodate vacation requests.
Our mill commits to a guy on the water truck for 3 shifts.

Past Weekend Power Outage
MANAGEMENT: Overall everything went well despite this unexpected power outage on last weekend.

Not Filling Positions
UNION: You are not bothering to fill positions like the Log Sort Machine or Shipping Forklifts when the operator is on holidays. Because of no Sort Machine replacement, we ran out of sorted logs and had to use any logs in a pile, which cost the mill run time.
MANAGEMENT: There was no wood to sort because of the small logs we are handling this time of year. But we had 2 issues with the Sort Machine: 1) the spare isn’t fully trained, and 2) the regular operator can get ahead of the mill. As for shipping, to replace a Shipping Forklift is at the discretion of the Shipper. We do not fill a job when it doesn’t need to be filled.
UNION: Next time there is a worker that should have been trained you can’t tell us you didn’t allow the trainee to come up to snuff in his training. We don’t want to see a trend of training being ignored.
MANAGEMENT: We understand - we could suffer if we don’t have our trainees trained up.

Prime Sort Jobs
UNION: We are getting younger workers with seniority who want the mill schedule asking why junior workers are doing those jobs, especially at the Prime Sort.
MANAGEMENT: It was because of the lack of trained manning during the summer. We will get these senior guys there after the September long weekend. They will be paid the higher rate if a junior worker was in that job.

Q.C. Relief Supervisor
UNION: Jeremy S. did the run sheets for the Planer and got 1.5 hours. O.T. but since he wasn’t doing bargaining unit work, he is charged one day as a Relief Supervisor for that supervisory work. Why not post for a Grade Checker “as needed” who can do this work.
MANAGEMENT: If it is going to be supervisory work, the he must be exonerated.
UNION: Even Q.C. at the mill will have to be charged days as Relief Supervisor.

Misc.
Weekend Chipper – have their own first aid coverage.
Bid Sheets – for security sign up sheets should be held by foremen.
Electrical Contractor – Neil J. will be here one day this weekend and maybe one day next week. Then the new electrician starts September 8, Wed. to Sat. 4-10’s and no need for electrical contractor.
Pico Retired Today – Congratulations to Pico from Management and Workers here at Elko!


MEETING ADJOURNED 5:00 P.M.
Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Ron Fisher
Secretary for the Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405
---Next Meeting: September 23, 2010.