Sunday, March 6, 2011

Union Management Meeting - March 3, 2011

Union Committee Present: Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Ron Fisher, Dave Tracey, Enzo Caccavo.
Management Present: Roland K, Ian L, Dave P.

Meeting commenced 2:30 P.M.


Company Update
MANAGEMENT: Pulp is good but lumber is starting to drop in price. The last 4 months has been rough for both Elko and Canal Flats mills. The solid wood side of the company lost more than expected.
UNION: Why is this and what are you going to do about it?
MANAGEMENT: There are weather related issues, and the one day breakdown at the mill cost us. We are going to make sure the place has enough heat, better valves on the log decks, and play catch-up on maintenance.
-Electrical has a new electrician to welcome on board, which will help out a lot. Neal J. will continue to come in to help with electrical at the kilns. (Neal J. is on contract, a day here or a day there.)
We also have our former millwright Niels and our former electrician Kyle hired on as casuals to help out while they are off work from mine. Casuals are restricted to 18 hours per week.
-Regarding training for job postings, things are better as we have 10 people training now.
-Regarding Poyry, things are going in the right direction. We are getting better at tracking and using Key Performance Indicators (KPI.) We will have I.T. people here next week to install some of the tracking software and have the machine centers networked, etc.
-Regarding the Log Inventory, we are on budget and should be able to keep up. It looks like break-up in the bush will be either April 4 or April 11 and last up to 3 or 4 weeks. We won’t run Fir until the end of April.
UNION: How does the high Canadian dollar affect us?
MANAGEMENT: Selling wood to China gives us the floor price of lumber, while the overall capacity of the lumber producers (lots of mills starting up) puts the lid on the price of lumber. We forecast another year before anything substantial happens.

Emergency Provision of the Collective Agreement
UNION: We had a good discussion on this, and we don’t want this provision invoked all the time.
MANAGEMENT: We did our best to call guys out using seniority for available work, but just gave you notice just in case. This provision meant we did not allow bumping from the mill to the planer.

Vacation Policy needs Modification
UNION: We need to set up a Committee to review the Vacation Policy. There are issues that need to be addressed:
· One week takes precedent over one day
· Where do junior guys fit in who don’t belong to a crew
· Junior guys getting prime vacation time over middle seniority guys
· Number of workers to let go on vacation at one time
· Rule of allowing “five workers” have vacation at once must be balanced with not all five on same job
· Consistency in following vacation policy is important, not making deals at last minute.
We did the first pass at the end of January, but the 2nd pass can be done realistically at the end of February, instead of waiting until the end of March.
MANAGEMENT: We will plan a meeting to discuss this, say end of March, when Ian returns from vacation. The people who should meet are Ian, Dave, Rick, and Jeff.

Hiring Additional Workers – Important NOW
UNION: We are hearing that you hired five new workers recently.
MANAGEMENT: Yes, but only four of the five passed the testing.
UNION: Are you now going to have H.R. (Human Resources) managers at each mill?
MANAGEMENT: We have a position available at Canal Flats, which means in the future Roland will spend more time in Elko.
UNION: Do we have a call list? How many should be on the call list?
MANAGEMENT: Not at the moment because of the 10 or so people we are training. There should be 4 to 6 people on that call list. During the summer we will have a few casuals come on board.

Working Supervisors
UNION: This matter of the Planer Supervisor doing bargaining unit work has gone to grievance.
MANAGEMENT: It is never our intention to have our supervisors do bargaining unit work. He did his best to keep the planer running.
UNION: There is a line between what union work is and what supervisory work is. You need to be more creative in utilizing the union workforce to keep the place running. In this case, with the planer slowed down, the back end fork operator could have operated the bins alternating with his job until the call-in worker arrived. Instead you risk having on shift workers getting totally pissed off. And you kept the place running as normal, as though we don’t need to hire new workers. Why will upper management even take notice and allow us to hire more workers?
UNION: We want a stop to the mill supervisor Mike doing bins and re-man because of manpower shortages.
MANAGEMENT: Clearly we need to reduce our absenteeism.

Overtime Policy – Have you revised it?
MANAGEMENT: We will provide a sign up list for those interested and competent to do overtime at the planer if there is a need for Friday afternoon shift overtime.

Overtime Stopped Everywhere Except at Planer
UNION: We have concerns with contractors coming in, when our workers are prepared to do the work in house. Offer overtime to our maintenance workers first to get the job done.
MANAGEMENT: Yes, we do offer the maintenance workers the overtime first.
UNION: How about all the overtime being given out at the Planer?
MANAGEMENT: We have had to release guys to allow training to happen. This is what has caused the overtime at the Planer.

Not All Chargehands Rotating Shifts
MANAGEMENT: Brian C., Shayne W., etc. are Chargehands like at the garage, required to order parts, talk to suppliers, etc. so dayshift is needed in their cases.

Banked Overtime
UNION: We are hearing that some trades people won’t work much overtime if they can’t bank it.
MANAGEMENT: We will no longer bank overtime. Final.

Welder Posting
MANAGEMENT: Current candidates for this posting are Dale H., Steve D., and Mike H. We are looking for uncertified welder with a “C” level with testing to see if they are competent to weld. Some have tickets from a long time ago.
UNION: Make sure it is fair with seniority being the determining factor, competency considered. Don’t forget you have a workforce with many skills and tickets that you don’t even realize exists.

Electrician Apprentice
MANAGEMENT: Our current plan is to ask Dennis R. for funding of this apprenticeship in the 2012 budget for Elko.
UNION: What about other trades that will need apprenticeships to replace our aging trades people.
MANAGEMENT: We will deal with the electrician first.

Is This Company a Going Concern?
UNION: We see you have problems with replacing necessary workers here in this company on the plant level. You know you need new workers to start within the plant to fill vacancies, but you fail to hire them in a timely manner. You know you need more supervisory staff, but you fail to address that in a timely manner. You know you need for sure more trades people coming online to replace our aging trades people but you fail to post for apprenticeships. It brings us to the question, are you operating this business as a going concern, which is the main principle of all businesses. Or do you intend to fold this business and let all these areas where you require more workers fall to the wayside until we can no longer operate.
MANAGEMENT: We have hired some replacement staff, and are looking for more. We will hire more workers on the plant level as needed. As for apprenticeships, the company isn’t going to incur the costs of training apprenticeships until Dennis R. can see that the condition of the lumber market stabilizes to bring a steady income to Tembec.

¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶
In Remembrance of Joe Varosi
UNION and MANAGEMENT: Joe was well respected and did a good job here at Elko. Joe worked at the Elko Sawmill for 33 years. He will be missed by all of us. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.
¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶

Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Ron Fisher
Secretary for the Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405
· Next Meeting: not discussed.

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