Saturday, March 10, 2012

Union Management Meeting, Februrary 29, 2012

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

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

Meeting commenced 2:15 P.M.


Burns Lake Fund Payroll Deduction
MANAGEMENT:  We will do a payroll deduction sign up for pay #08 for those Elko workers wanting to donate to the Babine Tragedy Fund and send the collected money to your Local Union office.

Dave Tracey Thanks All
UNION:   Dave would like to give a great big thank you to everyone in Elko for their kind donations to him in his time of need.  Very much appreciated.

Company Update
MANAGEMENT:  We had a tour by CanFor people yesterday on Feb. 28 which included their Regional Manager, Logistic Transportation Manager, and I.T. people.  They are looking at kilns, parts inventory, and talked with staff.
       ―Regulatory approval is not done as yet for the sale to CanFor.  March 8 is the next date for the competition bureau and March 24 is hopefully still the finalized date for the completion of the sale.
UNION:  What about company sales, etc.?
MANAGEMENT:  The lumber market has picked up a bit.  Our mill hasn’t done well though because of our costs and the winter season.  Production is decent but our spending is high.
       ―Overtime expense must and will be reined in to reduce costs.
UNION:   What about our dry inventory?
MANAGEMENT:  We are only around 10 million fbm rough and 4.7 million fbm dry with a couple of kilns down.  The planer had real good production in February.
UNION:   Are there any plans to temporarily put the planer on two shifts?
MANAGEMENT:  We will look at minimal downtime to two shifts around the spring break, during the weeks of March 12 and 19.  We don’t want to put the planer on two shifts but will have to see how the dry inventory works out then.
       ―The first run of Fir logs through the sawmill this year will be in April.
UNION:   We have grievances on hold ─ meetings for them need to be scheduled.
MANAGEMENT:  We have a list.  Can we meet on some March 7, and schedule 3rd steps with the Local?

KPI Job at the Sawmill
UNION:   We have asked for the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) job to be posted, otherwise we consider this job to be outside of the bargaining unit.  What are your plans with this position?
MANAGEMENT:  There is no real KPI job, but if there is a need for graduated return to work, we can use this position for that purpose.
UNION:   We understand and suppose that would be okay for that purpose.
MANAGEMENT:  But if no one is available as such, we will pull someone from the workforce.
UNION:   In that case, we will need a defined process on how management will select someone from our union workforce.  Some of the guys in this job are playing as supervisors.
MANAGEMENT:  The KPI job is not to give work instruction to anyone.  Only Supervisors, Relief Supervisors, and Chargehands can give work instruction to other workers. 

#2 Planerman Completed #1 Course and Wants Time Credit
MANAGEMENT:  Two tradespeople have been credited (by our letter sent) with trades’ time by us to the ITA (Industry Training Authority) but we have not heard back from the ITA.  As for a #2 Planerman getting his hours as a #1 Planerman, ITA told us, once passing the #1 Planerman test, he only needs to prove work in the trade as a planerman to be credited with time for #1.
UNION:   What about planerman?  We understand there is no longer a trade’s course for them.
MANAGEMENT:  That is correct.  We talked with CanFor and they have taken the position to seek out millwrights with specialty in planers.
       ―We have said there should be a planerman’s course for apprenticeships.  But we also have a problem with no filer’s course available.  These trades are specialities to the forest industry.
       ―The Forest Industry will have to decide what to do with these trades, since our ISO certification requires us to have certified tradesmen, not in-house training.

Sign-Up Sheets Need a Bid Box to Avoid Tampering
UNION:   Sometimes workers play games with other peoples name on the sign-up sheets that are posted.  We want to have a box in which names can be placed as candidates for the sign-up sheets.
MANAGEMENT:  We will have boxes made for this purpose.

UNION:   We need to have two sign-up sheets, the planer and the sawmill weekend O.T. maintenance posted properly everywhere.

Prime Sort Training Plan for New Hires
MANAGEMENT:  The Joint Safety Committee meeting recently put forward a strong recommendation not to put new hires on the prime sort job.  We have decided the prime sorts will go up for bid.
UNION:   We want you to maintain the job rotation on this job because of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury.)
UNION and MANAGEMENT:  Job bid holders must go to their bid jobs and cannot choose to bump junior workers doing other jobs.
MANAGEMENT:  We don’t have a lot of mill entry jobs.
UNION:   New junior workers can easily bid on jobs to try to obtain a position.
UNION:   We have always had a problem with workers floating around and not having a regular permanent position.  How many are like this now?
MANAGEMENT:  There are about 7 floating without regular jobs from the 2010 hiring group.
      ―We have previously used the Prime Sorts job to evaluate new hires and now we will use the other few mill entry jobs for this purpose.

27 inch Job Posting
MANAGEMENT:  The senior bidder on this posting is a tradesman.  Past practise is when a tradesman bids out of his trade to production then he cannot go back to the trade.
UNION:   Find out if this tradesman is serious.
MANAGEMENT:  The only example here was L.B., an electrician who bid away from his trade because of health reasons.
UNION:   You decide who you will award this 27 inch job posting to, and we will react.

Forklift Needs
UNION:   Do we have enough forklift bids?
MANAGEMENT:  We are posting 2 spare forklifts.  We should post for “fork spares” and separately for “kiln fork spares.”
      ―We need to make a clear definition of other forks that are required to help the kiln fork in a separate meeting to focus on discussing this matter.  Forks helping shouldn’t get kiln fork rate.

Results of Job Postings are Required to be Posted
MANAGEMENT:  We will put out a notice to have the supervisors post the results of job postings.

Scheduling Workers moving between Condensed and Regular Shifts
MANAGEMENT:  The concept of the condensed weekend shift schedule is that when averaging hours worked there will be no loss or no gain.  The worker may have to have to work tight back to back schedules on either end of the move.
UNION:   This is tough to do when guys want time with their family if they go from a regular shift to their spare job on a condensed shift working eight days in a row.
MANAGEMENT:  This can also allow seven days off in a row.  The answer is don’t bid on a spare job that has the condensed schedule.
        ―We need a document so everyone plays by the same rules when jumping back and forth from the two different work schedules.

Smoking Location Safety Issue
UNION:   A worker was smoking right near the gate to the company property.  This is a dangerous place to smoke, even if wearing a high viz vest since all incoming traffic pass by there.  It is best to go to the pull out area to smoke where a person is well off the roadway.
MANAGEMENT:   We have taken this under advisement.

Vacation Scheduling
MANAGEMENT:  Next Wednesday (March 7) is the 2nd round for vacation deadline.
UNION:   We must also let our workers know that the current policy for granting vacation time off hasn’t changed in many years.  (Vacation requests for the year are granted by seniority if applied for by January 31, with a second pass in March.  Afterward, all remaining vacation requests are granted on a “first come, first served” basis.)

Weekend Work to Make Up 40 Hours
UNION:   If a production worker doesn’t get his normal 40 hours’ work during the week, then he can ask to work Saturday at straight time ahead of a casual.  But if the Company asks him to work on Saturday, he will be paid 1 ½ rate.  Regular employees working on Sunday will receive 1 ½ rate regardless.
MANAGEMENT:  Saturday can be used to make up for days not called in during the week, but we won’t allow regular workers with a history of absenteeism to work ahead of casuals on Saturdays.

Workers Told to Work Two Jobs at once
UNION:   It is becoming more and more frequent that guys are being asked to work 2 jobs at once due to absenteeism.  If you have a hole where a worker is missing you should fill it, not ask another job holder to do both his job and the absent worker’s job.  It is unsafe to do two jobs at once.  We have no issue in helping out in case of emergency situations, but this is becoming a regular occurrence.
MANAGEMENT:  We won’t ask anyone to do anything unsafe.  The Collective Agreement doesn’t stop us from combining jobs.  The Barko and Logchasing will, from time to time, share jobs.
UNION:   Combining of jobs is happening with a large amount of regularity.  On the occasional from time to time, we have no problem, but now it is expected.
MANAGEMENT:  We can make jobs a combo job of two or more different jobs.
UNION:   It is not a matter of creating a combo job since this is only occurring during manning shortages.  If there are workers absent, and you insist on combining two jobs to cover off the missing workers job, the worker who is doing the new combo job will be “in motion” and will have the right to bump junior workers, and you can have the result of selecting less trained workers to fill in your “combo job” such as it is.
MANAGEMENT:  We will have a look at this.  We didn’t think it was a regular occurrence.

Parking Issue
UNION:   Who made the decision to bring in a “Back In” parking policy?  Was it CanFor or Tembec?
MANAGEMENT:  Tembec H.O. made this decision six months ago.
UNION:   Where in the world did Tembec get this policy?  Were head office people simply picking something they read about parking out of Readers Digest?  And what about the board of Tembec making this decision, are you aware that about ½ of those directors sat on the board of other companies that have gone bankrupt?  That doesn’t say much about their policy setting.

―We have learned that the Tembec Skookumchuck pulp mill does not have this Back In Parking Policy.

―This policy is causing workers a lot of stress doing what they don’t agree with.   Most workers have long safe driving histories, and now the Company is saying they are stupid drivers for not agreeing that back in parking is better.  Even parking engineers still disagree on this matter.

―It’s time you realized you are forcing your workers to worry about something that has nothing to do with making this company money, which is lumber going out for sale, not parking.  Workers want to be part of making profit for this operation, but how can they focus on their jobs when you as management are threatening to fire workers for not parking like you tell them to.  Your implied threats would make Gadhafi proud!  This amounts to corporate bullying and harassment.  As a result you are lowering the morale of workers and need to address that problem.  You need to help workers make money for this Company, not tell them how to park.

―You placed parking bumpers in the parking lots for back in parking.  The other day we had 9 inches of snow which completely covered the parking bumpers which measure about 4 inches high.  This created a substantial safety hazard as workers worried about tripping on them.  These bumpers must be removed prior to winter, since they cannot be free of snow cover at all times.  The bumpers are a hazard that YOU, Management, placed on the ground for your own workers!

MANAGEMENT:  Canal Flats does quite well using our Back In parking policy without parking bumpers.
      Other than that, we have no comment.  Let us see what CanFor will do with this policy.
UNION:   We would hope CanFor will seek a good relationship with its workers by allowing worker input into local on-site policies.
Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Ron Fisher
Secretary for the Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405

·        Next Meeting:  not until CanFor takes over.  Meetings as needed will proceed on request.

Elko Membership Meeting
         Sunday, March 25, at 12 Noon, in the Local Union office boardroom in Cranbrook, B.C.
        Please attend this important meeting.

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