Sunday, May 6, 2012

Union Management Meeting April 24, 2012

Union Committee Present: Jeff Bromley, Rick Boekestyn, Tom Molenaar, Bryan Gaudet, Tom Doucette, Enzo Caccavo.

Management Present: Adrien C, Laura C, Shaun F, Dave P, Joe D, Aurele B, Mike M.

New Business

Company Update
MANAGEMENT: Right now Elko/Canal are not on The Boards company update report but we can tell you a bit about what we know right now. Elko is almost doubling the grade return compared to the rest of the mills in Canfor, Canal is slightly below Elko in their grade return but are also doing well. Elko and Canals log costs are also much higher than the rest of the mills so we do get what we pay for. Log costs at our other mills are around $40ish a cubic meter and in Elko and Canal it is around the $50ish mark.

Through the summer we want to run with about 2-3 weeks of log inventory so expect to see that in the yard going forward. This is a big cost having capital wrapped up in inventory and we want to manage our costs as best we can going forward. We have to lower costs at the plant and we hope to find a way to up production at The Planer, costs are now based with planer production and not sawmill production as we have done years ago in the past and how Tembec was doing it when we took over.

Call List Employees And Sunday Work
UNION: The call list employees have the right to work in place of the casuals on weekends to make up for the hours they didn’t get during the production week. Can these workers work Sundays to make up their 40 hours? Call list employees would only be paid time and one half to make up their hours, senior workers could not grieve them working Sunday for this rate because they would be entitled to double time after their 40 hour work week, not the time and a half being paid to the workers making up their hours.

MANAGEMENT: We just don’t want it to cost us more money. We do want to provide work first to our full time employees.

UNION: We will talk to The Local and see if the call list employees can bump casuals on Sunday for straight time rate seeing as that is the rate being paid to the worker being bumped.

UNION: To further this conversation we have a call list for the first time in years, we want to see the company fulfilling their obligation to train spares and permanent postings as per our Job Posting Supplement. Recently we have not been pushing the issue because we didn’t have the manning and we were trying to let you do a couple at a time to catch up so overtime was not needed in order to free up people to be trained. Now we have people sitting at home and there is no excuse to not keep up with the training.

MANAGEMENT: We want to do this without being reminded so we will do our best to keep up to date.

UNION: We would like to have our RRSP payroll plan back, it worked well for those who were using it.

MANAGEMENT: There are some new legalities to do with this process, over and above what Tembec was doing, that we need to do if this is reinstated. We will try to keep looking at this, please keep bringing it up and we will see what we can do.

UNION: While we are talking about deductions, are co-op deductions going to remain?

MANAGEMENT: As far as we know it is business as usual.

Boot Policy
UNION: Is there a way we can start looking at a subsidy for work boots after this agreement is done in December 2012? (Work boot policy will be the same as Tembec offered until the end of the 2012 year.) We want our guys to still be able to have good and safe boots when they need new ones.

MANAGEMENT: The minute the plant committees at the other mills heard we offered this boot policy for the remainder of the year at these southern mills they were all over us. We got requests for the same deal at the other Canfor mills. We want to be standardized and we don’t know where this will go after this year. At our other mills we didn’t have a problem with our workers supplying their own good and safe work boots when it is an obligation of employment.

Safety Award System
UNION: Do other mill shave any type of safety award?

MANAGEMENT: It was all scaled back in the down turn a few years ago. It ended up going to lunches or dinners. I like to feed people even if it is just a barbeque with a few burgers. That being said Canfor does offer a safety award to the mill with the best safety record and also to the most improved mill etc. Right now we are around 6.67 or so incidents compared to an average of about 2.08 or so with the mills Canfor had before the purchase of these two mills. We have work to do in this area and perhaps we can work towards the most improved safety record. In the past Canfor offered such things as an option between a gift such as a fly rod or Leatherman or something of the sort.

Holiday Scheduling
UNION: Maintenance schedule, the practice had been we have them in be the end of January and go from there with a first come first served basis after January. Now things seem to have changed. In this department guys were usually able to take all of their holidays.

UNION: Production is on a good consistent schedule and it works well. We want the same type of deal for maintenance. There has never been a set number of guys allowed off. People were allowed to go as you could afford it and guys were usually very flexible and understanding with working with you on achieving this. Now you say there is a number of maybe 3 allowed off at one time?

MANAGEMENT: We want to have a set number and system. We have a company to run and need the right number of guys in the right spots to make the place run.

UNION: We had precedence before with other companies.

MANAGEMENT: We need to make a system, there is none in place. How can we achieve this?

UNION: Let’s get a committee together like we do with production. The Company, Jeff and Rick do it for production, let’s do something similar in this department.

MANAGEMENT: Maybe we can look at this in the future, going forward I think we have it figured out. The maintenance supervisor says the guys seem happy with how it was settled as of now for this years holidays. In the future it is a good idea to form a small committee to do this for next year.

Warehouse Job, Bargaining Unit Work?
UNION: Are you hiring one? Is it filled by us or staff?

MANAGEMENT: No, we have a Buyer who buys, an Assistant Buyer does receiving and knows the Buyers job for relief. Vendors own or rent the shelves in the shop. They own the parts on them and will be responsible for putting the parts on away and we don’t pay for the parts until we actually use them. There is a lot of work to be done around this still.

UNION: This is a different process than we have seen in the past, we will look at it again when it is in place. In the past Scott and now Rick have been the ones dealing with the parts shipped to the site at all different hours of the day.

Access For Plant Committee to Job Postings And Schedule
UNION: We have always had some access to help us track what is going on in regards to postings and schedule.

MANAGEMENT: In a few months it will be accessible on the computers on site. We will set it up then.

Bid Box
UNION: Can we have separate access to the bid box? Right now the Union and Management slots are controlled by one lock and entrance.

MANAGEMENT: We think there should not be a trust issue here and hope to work towards a different and simpler system. We should have a trust between the Union and Staff members.

UNION: We don’t want to discredit anyone but we know from past experiences that mistakes happen and things are lost or erased or our own workers are tainting bid sheets. (Our old bid system.) We would just like to have a separate entrance to the current bid box so there is less chance for error.

MANAGEMENT: Yes, with three carpenters I think we can swing it.

Burns Lake Fund
UNION: The money was deducted in good faith but The Local didn’t get the funds as expected. Do you know what happened here?

MANAGEMENT: We will look and see where it went. It will go to the Burns Lake Fund if it has not already. It is important that this is taken care of properly as this was a tragic event and we support what you guys have done here. We will also put out another sheet if you would like for the newest tragedy near Prince George. Some of us personally know people involved in this tragedy.

Holiday Pay Date Change Effecting Guys Already Booked In 2012?
UNION: With the change in holiday payout dates have the application dates changed also? We have always booked holidays from January-December and guys have already been approved for holidays in November and December this year. Do they have to rebook or…?

MANAGEMENT: Just the payout date has changed we believe. Any other changes we have not heard about yet. We will get back to you as soon as we know.

UNION: What does Canfor do for Christmas week?

MANAGEMENT: We have been flexible with the guys with the scheduling and give ample notice on the final decision. It depends on production and costs and the forecast market at the time.

UNION: Please just let us know as soon as possible, thanks.

Sorting In The Bush
UNION: You mentioned this in meetings we had earlier, can you expand on this? Are you doing our work somewhere else?

MANAGEMENT: By the end of the year we should be around 50% cut to length here and 100% within 12 months. The question is what are we going to do for this 12 months, the answer to this is that we will do it wherever it is cheapest. There will be changes. The job probably will be done in the bush because it is cheaper. People will be used in other spots, we won’t necessarily lose jobs over this.

UNION: We do not like or accept contractors doing our work, be it in the maintenance department or production jobs.

MANAGEMENT: We will go down that road when we get there. We don’t want to change the norm. We do not want to reduce the workforce, we just want the workers to be in a position to be more valuable to us. This means possibly apprentices or something to that extent.

UNION: We want to make sure any contractor work done out here also includes our guys where they may gain knowledge and experience so we don’t have to bring in contractors for the job in the future. (mainly in regards to the maintenance department)

MANAGEMENT: We agree, it is cheaper to use our own guys rather than contractors.

Duty To Accommodate
UNION: Any changes here?

MANAGEMENT: No changes here, we use the same type of process in all of our mills that you use here.

MANAGEMENT: We are enforcing the PPE policies and we do not want to see people reading and so forth while they are being paid to do a job. The shift supervisors should have talked to all of the crews at the meetings already. This is just another heads up to please follow these policies.

UNION: How do we get prescription safety glasses?

MANAGEMENT: Superintendents have forms.

UNION: What about molded ear plugs?

MANAGEMENT: We will post a process shortly on this.

Payroll Deductions For Ice Tickets?
UNION: We had this in the past, is there a possibility to do it again?

MANAGEMENT: Probably not because it is more work for the payroll department but we will ask. Please don’t get your hopes up it will probably be a no.

Gym Discounts?
UNION: We used to have a discount for workers who had memberships.

MANAGEMENT: What did you have in place in the past?

UNION: I think it was 10 dollars a month that The Company covered for those who wanted a Gym pass. I think the gyms billed the company monthly or something and the workers paid the rest.

MANAGEMENT: We will see if we can set something up.

UNION: We talked about running bands more, we may need another filer or at least a grinderman spare or something up there.

MANAGEMENT: We can look at it but there is no plan of anything yet. Maybe new machinery up there too help the guys doing the job is one other option.

UNION: Another planerman is another huge issue. We need someone there going forward.

MANAGEMENT: We will look at all of this after we hire a maintenance superintendent. As for apprenticeships, Canfor has already done its yearly budget companywide; this was done before the purchase of these two mills. I have asked to see what we can do as I would like to get something started here as well. We know we need to get more trades and the best way of doing that, we found, is to train from within.

Scholarship Fund
MANAGEMENT: There may be some funding for scholarships through Canfor, this may be something these two mills might are too late to apply for but next year it might be something to look at. More information can be found by clicking on the Canfor websites below.  (Use your "back" button to return to this Blog.)


Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Tom Molenaar
Secretary Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405

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