Sunday, September 11, 2011

Union Management Meeting, September 1, 2011

Union Committee Present:  Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Ron Fisher, Tom Molenaar.
Management Present:  Roland K, Tom G, Dave P, Shaun F.
Meeting commenced 2:05 P.M.

Welcome to new Elko Management from the Committee
UNION:   We would like to welcome our new Mill Manager, Roland K., and our new Human Resources Manager, Tom G.  As a Committee we are open to a more positive relationship with more flexibility on both sides of the table.
MANAGEMENT:  We each have our role but we have lots of common ground in making this business succeed.  Elko is a good place to work.
UNION:   Yes, we can work together, but some of the small things asked for have not been acted upon, such as hooking up the T.V.’s in our lunchrooms.  It’s the little things that we should do to make our workplace more inviting as a workplace.
MANAGEMENT:  This will be done, but we must remember that T.V.’s are a privilege that if abused will be taken away.  We don’t want to have to police them, and would ask the Committee and senior people to help ensure they are used responsibly.
Additionally, we are in the process of providing internet access with a computer in each lunchroom.  We agree that little things like this; also brighter lighting, keeping everything clean, etc. show that the guys are valued by us.

Company Update
MANAGEMENT:  We are planning for D.Fir/L runs September 26, then again end of October or beginning of November.  These runs aren’t set in stone, and will be one week long to reduce maintenance needed with Fir runs, plus will give us better inventory control.
       The Planer re-build will be completed during the September long weekend.  Automation of the Planer tilt hoist should be done on the long weekend in October.
UNION:  Regarding the automation, there might be a person who wants to be obliged under the tech change provisions of our contract.
       What about the bush shut down due to dry weather, will this affect our mill?
MANAGEMENT:  There is no problem.
UNION:  What about our manpower…will you be hiring soon? 
MANAGEMENT:  We have two available for hire right now and 14 people in the process.  We are looking at fast tracking our hiring with interviews sooner and aptitude tests to be done online.
UNION:  Do you have any tradespeople from Springer Creek interested in working at Elko?
MANAGEMENT:  We are trying to get some to come to Elko.
UNION:   What is the process to gain employment at Elko?
MANAGEMENT:  Applications should be submitted at either the Cranbrook or the Elko office.  We have 5 steps to pass and successful applicants will be hired in two weeks.  The minute we lose 1 worker another person should be hired.
       There is a trades fair on September 22, and Tembec will have a presence there to attract tradespeople.
UNION:  We are concerned that some younger hires from college don’t want to make a career working at the sawmill.  Do you still hire people who aren’t high school graduates?
MANAGEMENT:  Yes, if they can show five years of solid work experience.
UNION:   We need a call list again, and people on this call list should get as much work as possible.
MANAGEMENT:  We agree we have to find ways to keep new hires working full time.  This could include weekend work in their work schedule.
UNION:   What about extra maintenance workers; that group is running short-handed by you having two charge hands in that department?
MANAGEMENT:  We are looking at the manning in our maintenance department continuously.
UNION:   Your maintenance supervisor has been here 8 months, and still you utilize 2 charge hands,
Gary S. and Shane W.  Additionally, some of the duties you have them perform is starting to cross the line between doing charge hand work and doing supervisor work, namely, doing the time, scheduling dept. vacations, and other paperwork.  They are no longer pulling wrenches.
MANAGEMENT:  They are working with our Maintenance Planner, Michelle, building the reporting system.  Once it’s up and running things will change.
UNION:   Your maintenance guys are upset because they are so short-handed.
MANAGEMENT:  We will talk with our maintenance supervisor about this. 

Plan for the Contractor Log Processor
UNION:  You know this Contractor in the log yard was never meant to be permanent.  We have three major concerns here.
1.      That we have a non-union contractor on site
2.      That the original idea of cost savings to the company was based on us being flexible during hard times in order to keep this mill operating within reason
3.      That we were originally told by the fiscal year 2012 we were to have a slasher deck to handle the logs replacing the log processor
MANAGEMENT:  We understand what you have said.  We thought the end date was end of the year.
UNION:  The end date for our agreement on the log processor is end of this September. 
MANAGEMENT:  By the end of September we will have an answer for you.  Currently, we are uncomfortable with moving ahead with log deck improvements, and so we will have to keep the processor going in the short term.
UNION:   We will meet with Roland K. later on this matter.
Self-Loaders Unloading
UNION:   When there were 200 trucks a day, it was allowed for self-loaders to unload under direction.  Now it’s being abused.  Some logs have been unloaded in the wrong place.
MANAGEMENT:   This has been resolved.  We have put out a notice that there will be no self-unloading of trucks unless authorized by Tembec employees (could be management or log yard personnel.)  Basically we don’t want this unless it is absolutely necessary. 

New Way of Post Jobs is Working Well
UNION:   The new time frames for job postings is working, but we would like to have Job Postings looked after by our own Elko H.R. person, Tom, instead of using supervisors.
MANAGEMENT:  Yes, the postings going up on Wednesday and coming down on Monday is good.
Eventually Tom G. will take on this task and centrally maintain Job Postings.
UNION:   What about a new Job Posting Supplement.  Can we have Tom work on that too?
MANAGEMENT:  Yes, but Tom will have to talk with Canal Flats, since they were the ones to vote down the revised Supplement a few years ago. 

KPI Job Should be Posted
UNION:  The Committee wants this union position to go through the job posting process, instead of you hand picking the candidate.
      We are thinking that this job could be a charge hand position for the re-man edger job.  It could be combined re-man edger/KPI/log chaser/helper with lumber flow and charge hand position.
MANAGEMENT:  Shaun F. has heard your ideas and will check into it. 

Why Was Scott’s Job Taken Down?
]MANAGEMENT:  The posting was wrong, with the wrong rate.
UNION:   Job Evaluators will be here soon to do their thing.  There is a backlog of evaluations to be done.
UNION:   What about the electrical apprenticeship?  Is it pushing through?
MANAGEMENT:  Until the approved budget has it in there on October 1, we can’t say for sure. 

Is a New Mechanic Hired?
MANAGEMENT:  We decided to move on and look for another mechanic.  We may be able to get someone from Springer Creek as a heavy duty mechanic.
      Our intent is to fast track employment applications and to communicate back with workers.  For trades we are looking at streamlining to give job commitments within 2 weeks, or maybe even within one week.

Is Worker Input Wanted?
MANAGEMENT:  Yes, most definitely.  The system works best when workers submit action plans based on their experience with the equipment they operate.  They can also advise their supervisor too.
UNION:   The workers want to get their production up to where they used to be.  This will keep our mill operational.
MANAGEMENT:  That’s good to hear.  This sawmill is a good producer.
UNION:   How about the concept of 3 shifts in 2013 that was told to us a few years ago?
MANAGEMENT:  This idea is only based on history, when we could produce mass products for a growing U.S. housing market.  Now it is better for us to put investment into our mill that will consume our log inventory and yield high quality, even if not on a 3 shift basis. 

MANAGEMENT:  It’s not like we won’t winterize.  We see specific funding in the budget for some winterization projects.
UNION:   Make sure you look at electric heaters and ensure they are up and running now. 

Parking Policy
UNION:   We checked with I.C.B.C. about coverage for backing in, and it is individual responsibility under Collision insurance.  Will the Company be covering the costs of any accidents from your policy?
MANAGEMENT:  No, it is not that difficult to back into your parking stall safely.
UNION:   We understand you want to bring this new “safety” policy on stream, but we don’t want to waste time meeting with you arguing about this policy.
      This, like other safety policies brought forward by the Company, looks like cheap safety ideas that cost only pennies, while other safety issues go wanting.
      Repetitive Strain Injuries at machine centres is but one real safety issue that needs constant attention.
      How about the forklift operator that uses duct tape to keep his machine window up?
      And we could go on with our safety concerns.
MANAGEMENT:  Not everyone agrees with the policies the Company puts forward, but in balance, this a good place to work, and part of our job is following policy.


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

Next Meeting:  September 29, 2011

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