Sunday, November 28, 2010

Union Management Meeting - November 25, 2010

Union Committee Present: Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Ron Fisher, Dave Tracey.
Management Present: Roland K, Ian L, Lloyd T, Dave P.
Meeting commenced 2:30 P.M.


· Meeting started with the introduction of our new maintenance supervisor, Lloyd T.

OLD BUSINESS
Update on how Bid Boxes are Working
MANAGEMENT: These bid boxes are working well. We give the union copies to Bryan.

Uncertified Planerman and Trades – Where are we on this?
MANAGEMENT: Our original discussion referred only to Planermen (changing knives, etc.)
UNION: Uncertified trades are not on the table from our standpoint.

Weekend Maintenance Helper Rates of Pay
UNION: Regarding O.T. rates of pay for weekend maintenance helpers we see if the job is at the Planer, it is the worker’s job rate. If the weekend job is at the Mill, it is base rate. Why?
MANAGEMENT: Weekend work at the planer is a maintenance function, not just a helper.
UNION: We would like you to pay the worker’s job rate as at the Planer. You would get consistent people if you pay the higher rate.
MANAGEMENT: You get paid the rate for the job you are doing, e.g. maintenance helper or clean up.
UNION: Why not pay weekend O.T. maintenance helper their job rate as done for many years here.
MANAGEMENT: Leave this with us, we will look into it.

NEW BUSINESS
Company Update
MANAGEMENT: The general meeting at the Elko hall provided us with the most positive information we have had in the last five years. Now the company is seriously looking at mill upgrades. Additionally, marketing has also provided us with a very optimistic outlook going forward.
UNION: What about how things went with our collective agreement negotiations? It appears that on the very same day Troy H. was giving out this positive outlook to us at the Elko hall, with donuts, coffee, and a warm fuzzy feeling, Tembec H.R. personnel, Tom K. and Roland K. were putting the boots to us workers at the negotiating table. The workers here won’t accept the third rate agreement you have offered as your final offer. We have the better quality wood compared to CONIFER mills, yet you want us to accept less than the collective agreement they signed onto. It is totally unacceptable that we don’t get the same deal signed for the rest of the province.
MANAGEMENT: We don’t discuss negotiations here.

Tembec Standing in Community
UNION: Will Tembec support other organizations? From the Elko hall meeting it was stated you pay others in 45 days, but want YOUR money immediately. Is that how you are treating the union?
MANAGEMENT: Putting what was said in context, we work with vendor’s terms. If they demand payment sooner, or immediate, we oblige.
UNION: But was it made to sound like Tembec is a bully?
MANAGEMENT: Not at all, just smart business to hold onto cash as long as possible.
UNION: By comparison, the mines in the Elk Valley set aside money to support the community.
MANAGEMENT: Our decision to do that right now is “no,” but we think we will get back to that too, once our own house is in order – but that is a decision for the board of directors.
UNION: What about your support of the Elko Fire Hall Project?
MANAGEMENT: Dennis R. made a proposal to the R.D.E.K. as per the Minister’s directive to find a solution. We acknowledge weekend support from the proposed Elko Fire Hall will help us out but certainly not to the tune of taxes they are seeking from us. What we have proposed to the R.D.E.K. in taxes may not be enough to carry this project forward without incurring extra large tax amounts on Elko residents.

Current Mill Downtime
UNION: Why would we have these days of downtime, Nov. 23, 24, & 25, when we have run in this type of cold weather before?
MANAGEMENT: With the loss of skilled manpower, winterization of the mill got dropped. Our winterization should have been done by mid-October.
UNION: After such a positive outlook at the Elko hall general meeting, how do you tell Troy H. that the mill is now going down?
MANAGEMENT: When the production numbers drop because of the problems in the mill, he understands.
UNION: How does this sawmill downtime affect rough dry inventory for the planer? Were you not going to run some Saturday O.T. shifts at the planer in December to reduce that inventory?
MANAGEMENT: We will see what our inventory is this weekend, and decide later if those O.T. shifts are needed. We still have the go ahead to run extra 2 to 3 night shifts at the Planer if needed.

Spare Lumber Grading Job
UNION: According to the results of recent job postings, you have selected 2 spare lumber graders, when the posting called for only one. You will have to re-post for one more spare lumber grader.
UNION: A question has arisen regarding the ramifications of a spare trainee voluntarily giving up a training position prior to being deemed competent. We see at the sawmill a “Job Resignation Form” spells out the repercussions, but it is our understanding this spare lumber grader candidate only signed a “P/N” at the planer to acknowledge simply the spare was given up.
MANAGEMENT: We will have a discussion on this and decide, depending on what document was signed by this individual.

Job Training
UNION: With this week of downtime at the sawmill, why couldn’t we do more training, since we still have the Letourneau spare job candidate to complete his training, and the same at the RT, Log Sort Machine, etc.
MANAGEMENT: Give us a list of what jobs require spares to be trained.
UNION: At the Elko hall general meeting you said you are hiring five or so new workers. Won’t that allow us to commence training soon?
MANAGEMENT: We have got to get the training in order. Hiring extra workers doesn’t mean we can release everyone for training right away. Some of those requiring training mean we need more trained lumber graders to replace the trainee.
UNION: We recommend you take advantage of this time to train more spare graders to relieve the bottle-neck there. Train at least one spare grader per shift at the planer.

Oiler Requesting to Hold Spare Job
UNION: A spare lumber grader is now an oiler. We don’t agree he will have to give up his spare because he is now an oiler. In the past, it was a “gentlemen’s agreement” that said Oilers can’t hold spares. Moving forward there is nothing in the Job Training Program to say oilers can’t hold a spare.
MANAGEMENT: How does the shifts line-up so we can use this spare?
UNION: Daily, not so good, but on a week to week basis it should work.
MANAGEMENT: This is something we will have to manage then, but with difficulty.

Electricians and Kiln Fork Alternate Shift Schedule
UNION: You just can’t agree with workers to implement an Alternate Shift Schedule. There is a process to be followed; otherwise the company is liable for O.T. wages if it is not done legally.
MANAGEMENT: The formal letter of understanding for the electricians is in process.
UNION: For the kiln forks, make sure you tell those guys there is a change asked for by you in their work schedule. Once the process is approved – make sure you follow the schedule.

Request to Extend Term Mechanic
UNION: The Committee begrudgingly agrees to extend the term mechanic job to the end of this year, because of the new Service Man’s need for training. You must get the get the paperwork done immediately, and signed off before next Sunday night.


Tembec’s Effort to keep our Trades People
MANAGEMENT: We have talked about what we can do to keep our Trades People, but have not come up with anything.
UNION: What about paying extra, over and above the Collective Agreement rates?
MANAGEMENT: We believe this leads us to look toward investing in apprenticeships. Timing is all. The Corporate head office understands we are competing with the mines.
UNION: With the electrician shortage, how will you have electrician manpower to make the electrical apprenticeship training happen?
MANAGEMENT: We will find a way, via shadowing.

Weekend Chargehands to have List of Workers Coming to Work
UNION: For safety reasons the Weekend Chargehands should have this list.
MANAGEMENT: This has been rectified, with the Planer Chargehand being provided the list via Larry.

Check Grader Position
MANAGEMENT: We have a new template for staff that will include a Q.C. position.

Accident Investigation Turned Back
MANAGEMENT: This investigation was submitted but when read over; it was missing a lot of information of what happened near the gas pumps.
UNION: This accident happened as a result of not being ready to work safely in all conditions. It was immediately after our Elko hall meeting where Troy H. was promoting safety. We need to do more than just “talk the talk” of safety.
MANAGEMENT: We do what’s needed for safety. When the winter storm hit, Aurele shut the planer down to sand. As for mobile equipment, chains do not go on them until the snow is on the ground, keeping in mind the installation of chains takes time.



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: December 21 or 22, 2010.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

IFLRA RAMS FINAL DOCUMENT AT USW SUGGESTS UNION ACCEPT THIRD-RATE DEAL

Believing that they have the USW backed into a corner, the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) has decided to ignore the progress agreed upon in the northern interior pattern and has instead offered the Union an inferior third-rate final document. After inviting the Union to resume bargaining in late October, the southern interior company association has now—after only a few days of meaningful bargaining—turned their backs on the Union’s attempt to meet and maintain the northern interior pattern agreement.

Surprisingly, this third-rate employer position is endorsed by the same IFLRA members Tolko Industries and West Fraser Mills who consider the pattern fair for their northern interior employees but sadly, too good for their southern interior counterparts. After implementing the deal in their northern operations, these companies are now moving towards building a better economic future and benefiting from their expanding market share–obviously enjoying their spoils in the north while sniffing at the requests for the same fair deal in the south.

The USW notes that the last and final proposal from the IFLRA did not address existing alternate shift scheduling which the IFLRA shockingly claims their employees are quite happy to accept, no retro-active pay for Tradesman and Power Engineers as a result of the IFLRA choosing to go last in bargaining, a rejection of the health and safety proposals, and less severance pay than what is required under BC law.

In addition to dismissing the Union proposals for fair treatment for Union members in the south, the IFLRA is demonstrating contempt for all their employees by having the gall to tell the BC Interior Bargaining Committee that they understand the needs of their employees far better than their Union.

Because of these unacceptable actions by the employer association, Local Unions in the southern interior will be seeking a mandate from their members.

Source: USW BARGAINING BULLETIN #40 - November 17, 2010