Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Union Management Meeting - December 20, 2011




Union Committee Present:  Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Ron Fisher, Enzo Caccavo, Tom Molenaar.

Management Present: Roland K, Tom G, Dave P, Shaun F.

Meeting commenced 2:40 P.M.


NEW BUSINESS
Company Update
MANAGEMENT:  On our safety performance we can say this mill is hurting less people than in the past.  In the month of November we had six first aid incidents.  Our reportable incident rate is 3.2, an improvement over previous years which was 8 and higher.  Our goal is to reach a 2.5 reportable incident rate.
UNION:  What about safety programs with Canfor?
MANAGEMENT:  Canfor recognizes safety a lot, but don’t reward workers much to the best of our knowledge from some of our staff who previously worked for Canfor.  Officially, to date, Canfor hasn’t said anything to us about this or their policies.
       -The purchase is continuing, and Canfor has been drilling on our site as part of a Phase 2 Environmental Audit.
       -Dennis R. and Troy H. are working on schedules to aid the transition of ownership.
       -The lumber market has picked up a bit, which is good news.  Housing starts in the U.S. are up about 9% with about 700,000 starts.
       -The premium for our TemPlus and M.S.R. grades are currently very good.
UNION:   We’ve heard that some Canfor mills don’t have “back in” parking policies, but do have designated smoking areas.  Also they don’t offer the ½ refund on the cost of safety work boots.
MANAGEMENT:  We understand Canfor will be talking to Elko management in February.

Processor Clarification and Processor Spare Posting
MANAGEMENT:  The successful spare for this job is George P.
UNION:   When will you be training him?
MANAGEMENT:  Our focus is to train another sort machine operator and spare.
UNION:   We want the spare processor operator started on his training.  You have other sort machine operators you can use out in the yard to allow George P. to train on the processor.
       -What are you going to do if you run out of shorts?
MANAGEMENT:  As of January we aren’t going to run shorts.  This will be a trial and we will continue to stockpile shorts just in case.
       -We will post for another full time sort machine operator in January.
UNION:   It seems like we negotiated a Letter of Understanding on the contractor’s log processing machine with very little results for us.  We understood a union guy will be on that job, even if as a spare, and now you don’t want to use that machine.  You may as well sort shorts in the bush again at a higher cost.
MANAGEMENT:  You did get the benefit of us paying union dues for the processor operator.
UNION:   That’s not what the guys see or are satisfied with.  Your worker union membership wants to see union workers on that job.
       -Let us know if the priority is to get the union worker on that job.  Should we cancel this agreement on the log processor?  If the committee does not see training begin within the two weeks allotted in the training supplement when we return in January then we'll consider this a violation of the agreement and take appropriate action, up to and including issuing cancellation notice and grieving to remove the contractor from our property, as per the collective agreement.  You need to get the agreed to spare in that machine!
       -How long is your trial run of not using shorts in the mill?
MANAGEMENT:  We don’t know how long it will be.  We will be working with F.R.M. to see how we can get the R.T. line supplied.
Consistency of Application of the Spare Program
UNION:  It looks like suddenly you are forcing guys to go to their spares, but only when it is convenient to you.  (If you let extra guys go on vacations, that’s all need to be said, and we will understand.)
MANAGEMENT:  We want actual examples of when this has happened.
UNION:   Our specific examples are jobs on the log deck and on the forklift.  We don’t have a problem with you being accommodating, but the issue is, don’t start writing workers up for not going to their spare jobs.  Instead, make sure you use the junior spare.
MANAGEMENT:  The Green Book (Job Training Program/Spare Job Agreement) is tough to make it work, both for the company and for workers.
 
Sort Machine – Two Shifts Hours of Work
MANAGEMENT:  Starting in the New Year, this machine will work sawmill alternate shift hours.
UNION:   Under the new contract, this newly arranged alternate shift schedule will have all stats paid out for 10 hours.  In January of 2013 our Sawmill alternate schedule will pay out 10 hours of pay for stats falling on rest days.
 Watchman Hours During the Christmas Shutdown
MANAGEMENT:  We need to cover Wednesday and Thursday.  Nobody qualified has signed the list for watchmen, so we are going to go “the senior qualified may but the junior qualified must” to fill the position needed.
UNION:   The junior qualified is laid off those two days, so you cannot force that worker into that job.
MANAGEMENT:  If need be we can use the 4 junior untrained workers who signed the list and train this week, or we may use qualified workers on overtime.
UNION:   Get back to us tomorrow to inform us of your decision.
Temporary Carpenter Job
UNION:   This temporary job is gone beyond the normal six months for a temporary posting.  You have the need and we want a permanent carpenter job posted.  If you find later on you will reduce back to two carpenters, the junior third bid holder would bump at the seniority level he is at, but also would be the incumbent should the need arise once more for a third carpenter.
MANAGEMENT:  We will look at it and get back to you.
Other Job Postings
UNION:   Job postings are getting caught up – this is good to see!!
MANAGEMENT:  We are trying to meter out the bids because of the build-up of training that will be needed all at once.
UNION:   We understand.  But with the oilers job, there are three positions – two full time and one spare, and the spare is being used all the time.  We suggest you have another full time oiler on a compressed weekend shift.
MANAGEMENT:  We will take a look at this suggestion with our Maintenance Supervisor when he returns in the New Year.
UNION:   Additionally, the Prime Sorts job shows as vacant, but has a requirement to be posted.
MANAGEMENT:  We understand, but we are looking at not posting jobs evaluated in Group 4 and lower instead of the current Group 2 and lower.
Supervisors Performing First Aid
UNION:   In the past, first aid performance by supervisors has had a rough time here at the Elko operation.  One supervisor in particular had his judgment clouded by wearing two hats, that of the supervisor and that of the first aid attendant when he looked after a worker with a ripped off thumbnail.  The worker subsequently went into shock, but the supervisor wouldn’t transport that worker home, and made him stay in the lunchroom until shift end.  You can imagine how this upset the crew once they found out.  Later on, this same supervisor wouldn’t allow any Elko sawmill first aid attendants on afternoon shift to go a serious motor vehicle accident near the Caithness trailer court because of concerns for operating the sawmill.  (This supervisor was let go.)
MANAGEMENT:  That was just one supervisor; most will be diligent in performing first aid.
UNION:   You can’t regulate good behavior, and one bad experience is enough to say no to supervisors wearing the two hats.  We have 22 union first aid attendants on site and they should perform first aid.  Let the supervisors supervise their crew.
MANAGEMENT:  We have reviewed this matter and the legalities allow supervisors to conduct first aid if they are so qualified.
UNION:   Be that as it may, but we believe there is a conflict of interest when qualified first aid attendants who are supervisors perform first aid on workers.
MANAGEMENT:  What you are saying doesn’t sit well with us; nonetheless, we would rather have a supervisor do his job and have first aid attendants do their job.
Planer Weekend Maintenance Helper Sign Up Sheet
UNION:   Let us have posted procedures for workers obtaining weekend work at the planer as maintenance helpers.
Sawmill Maintenance Workers Running  Logs Through Mill
UNION:  We understand you want to run a small number of logs through the sawmill to test equipment that was worked on during weekend maintenance.  Sawmill maintenance workers don’t feel comfortable running mill equipment they are not trained to operate.
MANAGEMENT:  We will train them properly, and don’t want them to operate any equipment if it can’t be done safely.
Machinist
UNION:   We understand our new machinist has only done about 6 hours machinist work, and the rest of the time he has done millwright work.  Which one is he, a millwright or a machinist?
MANAGEMENT:  He is going to do both work.
_____________________________________________________
MEETING ADJOURNED 4:10 P.M.
Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Ron Fisher
Secretary for the Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405
·        Next Meeting:  not discussed

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Province of BC Asks for Feedback on Backroads

Do you use B.C.'s resource roads for work, recreation, or because you live in or visit rual communities off the public road system? If so, help us serve you better by contributing to the Natural Resource Road Act Project to improve resource road laws and regulation for the benefit of all users.

With planned changes to the Natural Resource Road Act, the provincial government is turning to industry and other usergroups for feedback on backroads throughout B.C.

A website has been set up to gain feedback on the current state of resource roads and how permit applications and usage could improve.

Transportation and Northern Safety Director with the B.C. Forest Safety Council Rick Walters says a re-writing of the Act aims to streamline regulatory processes.

"The proposal here is to put the legislative requirements in acts and regulations under one roof so to speak," said Walters.

Walters says as it stands, permits and use requirements for resource roads fall under several different jurisdictions.

You can access the site at, http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/nrra/

You are invited to voice your concerns and suggest solutions that will work for everyone. Comments will be accepted until December 15, 2011.