Sunday, September 23, 2012

Union Management Meeting, September 11, 2012

Union Committee Present: Bryan Gaudet, Tom Molenaar, Ron Fisher, Enzo Caccavo, Reuben Blackwater, Tom Doucette

Management Present: Adrien C., Laura C., Shaun F., Dave P., Royce L., Mark P., Alex S.

Meeting started at 2:09 P.M.

New Business
 
Company Update
MANAGEMENT: Safety has been very good in Elko since Canfor has taken over, there are still some first aids but the numbers are coming down. Elko and Canal are still much higher than the rest of the company when it comes too Primes being made. (Grades above a standard number 2 grade) Lumber recovery was poor in Elko last month but this was mostly due to some scanner issues that we had to work through at the sawmill. Our sawmill FBM/hr is improving but still has room to grow. We have had some good shifts and we think we can make this happen more consistently. The production at the planer is still low but has seen some improvement. The lumber from the mill due as a result of the scanner problems caused some significant down time for planer jams last month and that reflects in the production numbers.
The planer project went well. The paper wrap install went in without a hitch. We needed to bring in a larger crane than the one we have on site but other than that there were no surprises and it went smooth. The project we wanted for the full planer upgrade and the cut to length upgrade has come out a little higher than we forecasted at first. We are currently working on re-bundling it and seeing how we can make the project work for the board’s approval. We are still confident that we will make the project work. As for mobile equipment the 988 will be on site in the next couple weeks, we are just waiting for a grapple. We also have another new fork on its way. We want to get a spare fork on site so that we can do some proper preventative maintenance to the machinery. There has been a lot of operator damage to the mobile equipment that we need to try to prevent, as a tire here and a fender there and other things being needlessly repaired cut into the money we have to buy new stuff.
 
Christmas Break
MANAGEMENT: Since the price of lumber is good, every day is operational for us so we will be planning to be operational around the stats at Christmas and New Year’s. We will run day shift and night shift and the afternoon shifts will be shut down without pay for the 24th and 31st.
UNION: Can we work a couple make up shifts beforehand too make up for the time and get all the guys off for the two Mondays?
MANAGEMENT: Yes we can look at it but it would have to be in December to keep the numbers correct for that month.
UNION: We will talk to the local as we will need to have them okay it and draw up a letter of understanding. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
 
Postings and OT notifications
UNION: Apprenticeship postings were not put up everywhere and it was worded funny. Can we re post it or extend it?
MANAGEMENT: We will extend it so the people who already signed it will not have to sign it again if they miss it this time. Sue will be doing the postings on all of the boards so there will not be any more mistakes like this again and it will also let her get out of the office now and again too.
UNION: Can we have the top candidates posted right away after the postings come down as well?
MANAGEMENT: We have a new template and will be doing this right away.

Postings
UNION: We have a need for a mobile servicemen spare. Right now we are covering him with heavy duty mechanics.
MANAGEMENT: We think a spare makes sense; we will look at posting it soon.
UNION: We have a lot of outstanding spares that need to be posted and trained and a few that have to be trained ASAP. Some of these guys have held their spares for months and have not yet set foot on their spare.
MANAGEMENT: We need to look at the list and get the jobs posted. This is why we won’t give a date for the new servicemen spare right now.
 
Communication
UNION: We need communication on grievance resolves. We need to keep on the same page here.
MANAGEMENT: How are we doing step ones? Let’s follow the collective agreement and have the worker grieving the issue at hand talk to their supervisors themselves or with a union rep.
*lots of discussion on grievance procedures*
MANAGEMENT: We will talk to our supervisors and let them know we would like them to resolve as many of these on their own as possible. If we make a mistake let’s just get it dealt with and save all the shuffle and excess paperwork for us and the plant committee.
UNION: Thank you, we will let the membership know the process.
***this is an insert to help you better understand the process if it is unclear to you***
(Grievances are handled as per our Collective Agreement, Article XV – Grievance Procedure. As a Committee our scope usually resides in Step One and Step Two grievances. Page 51 of our current published Collective Agreement contains the following:
Step One: The individual employee, with or without a Job Steward, shall first take the matter up with the Foreman in charge of the work within fourteen (14) calendar days.
Step Two: If a satisfactory settlement is not then reached, it shall be reduced to writing by both Parties, when the same Employee and Committee shall take up the grievance with the Superintendent or the Personnel Officer, or both, as designated by the Company. If desired, the Union Business Agent shall accompany the Committee.
If a person has a question as to if their issue is something that should be grieved, by all means, talk to one of your union reps first. We can accompany you in talking with your supervisor or just guide you on how the process works beforehand. The process isn’t changing. Right now we have made a habit of letting our union reps talk to the supervisors at first step without the worker and this should stop happening wherever possible and we hope that the supervisor is now going to be able to work with us on this issue instead of just telling us to go talk to Dave or Shaun or Royce. If you have any questions about this process please talk to any of your union reps at any time)
******
UNION: Scheduling meetings, we have had a heck of a time doing this since Canfor has taken over. Is there something we can do to get better at this so we don’t miss meetings and can deal with things in a timelier manner?
MANAGEMENT: Have we missed meetings?
UNION: Yes, the May and August UM meetings and it has been a pain in the ass trying to schedule UM meetings and Safety committee meetings and grievance meetings.
MANAGEMENT: We all have things come up and right now Laura is back and forth between here and Radium but we can make things work better going forward.
UNION: Let’s try and schedule these UM meetings sometime in the second week of the month so we have more time to fit them in if schedules are busy.
 
Weekend production
UNION: What is the plan for running the OT shifts at the mill and planer? Are we able to have any consistency as the lack of consistency can handicap some crew’s ability to work these shifts if it constantly falls on the week they are afternoons? This has been a problem in the past and we have brought it forward then but hope that it will not be a problem in the future.
MANAGEMENT: We cannot commit to anything in stone but we are trying to work as many as possible. This will be based on the price of lumber and upon the dry inventory and log inventory as well.
 
OT policy
UNION: We need to clarify the OT policy, we are spending too much time doing grievances and the company is paying out a lot of money for their mistakes.
MANAGEMENT: This is a topic we also asked to have on the agenda as we too agree something has to be done to clarify it. Let’s get a couple committee members to sit down with Dave and Shaun and have them work on this.
UNION: Okay we will get a few interested guys and let you know who they are so we can work on this ASAP.
 
RRSP
UNION: Have you got anywhere on this?
MANAGEMENT: Yes but it is not good. We have been told that the two other mills that were doing this were canceled as well due to some new legal obligations the company has to follow in order to do this now. This will be looked at in the future but will not be available for holiday pay in November of this year. We agree it is a good thing for to offer the guys but for now they will have to do this on their own.
 
Job posting supplement
UNION: Can we update this? This is older than some of our workers and some of it does not work out here anymore.
MANAGEMENT: We hear that there was an attempt to change this a few years back and was voted down.
UNION: Canal voted it down if we remember correctly as it was intended to apply in Elko and Canal.
MANAGEMENT: We will try to track down what it was that was offered before. We will look at something better if it makes sense. Let’s all bring Ideas together and see what we can do.
UNION: Back in the day we had a supplement that was pretty basic and worked well. It could be used as a template. I (Ron) will look for it as it is quite old, from the Crowsnest days in the 1980’s.
 
Vacation scheduling
UNION: I (Bryan) have some new ideas that could make the vacation policy a lot easier for us and the company.
MANAGEMENT: Can we have Dave and Shaun go over this with a few of the committee members? Also we should get something worked on with Royce and the maintenance department.
UNION: We will talk to some of the guys in the bottom shop and see if we can get one of them to either give us ideas or come and work on this with us and Royce. The plan that was mentioned before Royce showed up was not at all going over well in that department.
 
First aid
UNION: Can we set up a first aid station at the planer by the dry? This is our marshaling station and during some of the past power outages when we go to the marshaling station we have to send someone back into the plant to get the first aid supplies. They are currently in the old washroom in the supervisor’s office. It is also brought to our attention that we should have a defibrillator at the planer as if someone was to have a heart attack they would probably be gone by the time we got someone to the mill and back with the one there. I (Tom) am very in favor of having this at the planer as I might need it myself!
MANAGEMENT: Yes we will do this, let’s move it to the safety committee and let them figure out what has to be done in order to make this happen.
 
PPE
UNION: We have no oversized gloves or vests and cannot get any face shields for the planer feeders at the planer. This has been brought to the company’s attention in the past while Canfor has been here and we were told this will not happen again. Currently some of us are destroying gloves by ripping them to fit them on just so we can use them and using ratty vests. This is unacceptable.
MANAGEMENT: It is very unacceptable and we will get this matter fixed right now. Workers should not have to modify PPE to make it work. We are talking to a vendor to get them to supply us weekly with the PPE that we need at the planer. This will make sure that the PPE is on the shelf when we need it all the time.
MANAGEMENT: on a final note the company will be using a different paper on the Select, MSR and number 2 products soon. This will be a red paper so that the customer will know where it comes from and ask for our product. This paper will only be used by the mills in the Kootenays. (Elko, Canal Flats and Radium only) We have nice white lumber and we want people to know where it comes from to keep customers asking for our wood.
Meeting ends 4:25 P.M.
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Notes to this meeting submitted by:
Tom Molenaar
Secretary Elko Plant Committee
USW Local 1-405