News, Developments and Information

PENSION UPDATE

A Pension Investment Committee meeting was held on May 22,2020

Due to the current economic conditions, as of March 31, 2020, the Funded Status of our pension has dropped from around 100% to 90.1%.

It is estimated that from the end of March to the end of April it has bounced back roughly 2% which would make it around 91.9% funded.

It is projected to remain flat at that rate through to the end of May.

We are in much better shape than many of the other pension plans out there. Some suffered way greater losses than we did.

We are optimistic that our funded status will continue to improve over the next short while. 

In regards to the “Pension Freeze” that was recently implemented, we have been assured by the Company that they are working diligently to have that “Freeze”  not apply to our pension. 

This does not affect a person applying for or receiving a monthly pension but only to those who qualify for, and wish to receive a commuted value pension. We will provide any updates on this issue as we receive them from the Company. 

B15 Update

Brother’s and Sister’s

Yesterday morning your grievance committee met with the company to discuss the 3rd step grievances. The meeting roughly ended at 10:30 and at the end of that meeting the company expressed that they wished to discuss the B15 schedule. The Union listened to Mr. Forster and his concerns. We pointed out that we brought forward our own proposal last week that would have met his operational needs based on the numbers he provided to us and he didn’t even look at it. We directly raised the concern that this is an attack on overtime in general. Mr. Forster then promised this was not an attack on overtime or nothing to do with eroding the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He gave his word. The company said it was already Thursday and any changes needed to be done today. At 4:05 Thursday afternoon your executive received the below proposal which IS an attack on overtime and erosion of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. To this executive , management has not been completely honest with us and with the timelines involved are not serious about coming to an agreement without concessions. This attack on overtime, plant wide as this letter shows, is a non- starter for this executive.

RE: Working Schedule B15 – Rotation Period and OT

All Parties to this Letter of Agreement recognize that the majority of employees prefer to work the rotation as outlined in Schedule B15 over the rotation that is outlined in Schedule B3 of the Collective Agreement between USW 5890 and EVRAZ INC. NA.  In order to implement the preferred schedule the Parties agree to a special amendment to the Collective Agreement as per the following terms and conditions:

  1. “28 day period” and “hours over 160” in Article 8.03(c) will be replaced by “21 day period” and “hours over 120” respectively.

In addition, there would be no overtime involved or cost to the employer when switching employee(s) from one crew to another, and /or switching employee(s) to Schedule B15 rotation.  This letter can be terminated by either Party by giving 6 week notice to other Party.

Steel Scheduling

Brothers and Sisters,

Today members of your Steel Shift and Seniority Committee met with the company to discuss the current layoff situation, bumping, production levels and schedules. The Union proposed the B15 schedule to the company based on what the company told us was their tonnage requirements. We proposed the B15 schedule with options to run that schedule through the language in the collective agreement and based on the number of days the company said they require plus 1 designated 8 hour dead shift in a 28 day period per 3 crews and Mr. Forster FLAT OUT REFUSED.

The union brought up the issues surrounding Overtime, 3 day layoffs, stats, shift changes, the pandemic. We proposed things that would both make the membership happy and save the company money. To the extent when an individual receives a 3 day layoff on the B15 they lose 36 hours and under his B3 the loss is 24 hours. This is clear it is not about saving money as we heard  a resounding NO from  Mr. Forster. We gave him every opportunity to manage this schedule and work with them, again to a NO.  Mr. Forster even agreed with the Union that there will be more overtime on the B3 schedule. We clearly can see this isn’t about having a happy and productive workforce. This is about a grudge , that much is clear.

The Union brought up that we may advise our members under the B3 schedule to do shift trades, in essence creating their own B15 schedule. Mr. Forster then said “employees will not create their own shift”.  Shift Trades are an option under the collective agreement. The company will have t address each request as they were to come in. So another words making the managers actually manage, something they will not do under the B15 schedule.

The fact is, every creative idea the Union proposed, the company said NO.  

We also proposed shuffling the Days/Afternoon/Nights to Days/Nights/Afternoons on the B3 schedule. At first glance the company didn’t see any issues in that but will look at it further before agreeing to it.

The Union is very disappointed in today’s outcome and the responses given by Mr. Forster.

Tubular Layoffs

Yesterday afternoon the Union was informed the company will be issuing Layoff notices for roughly 45 people in Tubular on Friday May 8th. The list is to be out today and once we have it it will be posted.

Evraz Update

With the struggles in today’s economy, Evraz is facing some difficult times and difficult decisions. The attached letter is a clear indication of what we face ahead.

Although times maybe uncertain, please continue to work safely.

DAY OF MOURNING

This year’s Day of Mourning will be different due to COVID-19. April 28th one of the most important days on our calendar. It’s when we remember those we’ve lost and recommit ourselves to fighting for the health and safety of every worker.

While it’s unfortunate that Steelworkers won’t be gathered in their Communities for the Day of Mourning, it is still very important that we connect and commemorate the Day of Mourning. That’s why we are doing a

District 3 Telephone Town Hall.

  • We encourage all members to  participate. Please register to join USW District 3 for our Day of Mourning Telephone Town Hall on Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 pm.

            Click now to REGISTER. Select the Tuesday, April 28 option for the District 3 Telephone Town Hall on the registration page.

            You’ll get to hear from USW District 3 Director Steve Hunt and National Director Ken Neumann and some of our members on the front lines. You can participate in honouring those injured and killed on the job over the last year,

            as well as participate in the discussion and ask questions.

            After you have registered, all you have to do is answer the phone when we call you on the evening of Tuesday, April 28. You simply stay on the line to join the telephone town hall.

Cell Phone Policy

It has come to our attention that management has possibly been threatening our members with discipline if they do not sign the new Cell Phone Policy. This policy is to take affect MAY 1ST according to the company. You have every right to understand the policy completely. It is unreasonable to have a policy thrown at you and in the same breath to immediately sign acknowledging you understand that policy. If you have been threatened by the company in regards to this please let someone from the Executive or a Shop Steward know as we will be looking at pursuing this.

CELL PHONE AND ELECTRONICS POLICY

As some of you may already be aware of, the company is rolling out a new Cell Phone and Electronics policy here in Regina. Let me be clear here, THE COMPANY is rolling this out. In no way did the Union write or take part in writing this policy. Nor is our right to grieve this policy been taken.

The Union’s original concern was based around fair implementation of a policy. Fair and Equal for everyone.

Production and Membership Meeting Update

With the Province still under a State of Emergency and the recommendations from the National Office, this Mondays[ April 20th] Membership Meeting will be CANCELED.

STEEL PRODUCTION UPDATE;

We had a discussion this week regarding production and staffing levels. It is now expected that the Steel division will reduce to 3 crew operations in late May. We have requested a shift and seniority meeting with the company for the first week of May to discuss shift options.

TUBULAR PRODUCTION UPDATE;

Next week the 24 inch will be crewing up and the 2 inch down 1 crew. It is expected the 24″ will get to 2 finishing crews and the 2″ will be down. There is no expectation for layoffs at this time.

The Union has also filed a grievance in regards to the latest 3 day layoff in Tubular.

Right to Refuse

All Canadians workers have three basic health and safety rights:
• the Right to Know: what are the hazards that a worker may face
• the Right to Participate: to investigate and participate in health and safety activities
• the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: if a worker has reason to believe that work is dangerous, the worker has the right to refuse that work without fear of repercussions.
The United Steelworkers have always been proud to call ourselves the health and safety union. We’ve always had to be; we have seen to many workers seriously hurt or killed on the job. That’s why we continue to be; hopefully you have all learned of our union’s “Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law” campaign. Almost 45 years ago our members forced a Royal Commission that first created the three basic rights listed above – we’ve used those rights every day.
Today, no matter your worksite, these rights are critical in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and these must be workers’ bottom lines when on the job.
Thankfully in most cases, responsible employers will work with us to resolve work refusals quickly and without issue, using common sense and cooperation. However, we have some employers who need government regulators to learn that workers’ health and safety comes before profits and production deadlines.
Sometimes that’s still not enough, and as workers, we have to know and be prepared to use our rights. The USW has produced “Right to Refuse” cards for every health and safety jurisdiction in Canada. The processes are outlined and require you to follow the steps that are established by health and safety legislation. Across Canada, Steelworkers have Health and Safety Coordinators that will assist you and your local. Their information is on our website at www.usw.ca, as well as information on covid-19 at www.usw.ca/members/coronavirus-resources.
Every day on the job, your health and safety should come first. Getting through this global pandemic means we all have to be more afraid of the virus than the boss. You should be, we all should be—it’s our right.

April 6 Production Update

On Friday[ April 3rd] the Company issued layoff notices in the Office & Technical Department listed below;

The following is what the Company has discussed with the Union in terms of current an upcoming work.

TUBULAR-

* 2″ Has a couple weeks worth of work then will be down for the foreseeable future.

*24″ Has a small order that will start about 10 days after the 2″ goes down. That will be at 1 welding and 2 finishing crews

*Spiral Legacy Mills are booked until the fall

*Mill 5 is booked until 2021

STEEL

Although recalls for every area have been happening there has been some challenges to get back up to pre cyber attack production levels. The hope was to have the Melt Shop running already and the Rolling Mill up for the middle of this week running at 4 crews. After about 3 weeks the company has told the Union it plans on running at a 3 crew level for the foreseeable future also. The Union Shift and Seniority Committee has requested a meeting to discuss scheduling. The company has implemented the 3 day clause in some areas of Steel over the past weekend. If you have exceeded 3 working days please contact a Steward.

This is a very challenging time at all the Evraz facilities. Layoff notices in Calgary were issued last week for 90 members as well. Continue to work safe. Your executive will continue to send out updates as we get them .

TO RECEIVE UPDATES TEXT 5890 TO THE NUMBER 32323

STAGGERED SHIFT LOU

In attempts to relieve the amount of people in the change room during this pandemic, the Union and Company have agreed to the below Temporary Letter of Understanding

Shift start times are going to look as follows;

Melt Shop, Caster & Steel Yard- 5:00

Rolling Mill & Roll Shop- 5:30

Spiral Mills & Yard-6:00

Spiral Finishing & 2″ Mill- 6:30

Slitter, Heavy Plate and many Day Shifts- 7:00

PLEASE CHECK YOUR RESPECTIVE SCHEDULES FOR CHANGES

Social Distancing and Staggered Shifts

Brother’s and Sister’s

With the constant changes from the government on social distancing with the Covid outbreak, the company and union are in discussions for a Letter of Understanding to discuss staggering shift times. This will hopefully alleviate issues within the operations building change room facilities. Our goal is to keep everyone safe while still operating.

This will be based around Article 8.05[ definition of a shift] and Article 15.02[ shift premiums]. With the intent to keep our membership safe all while working within reasonable start times. We currently have a draft from the company and the union needs to make some amendments to it. Once we have reached an agreement we will post on this website.

COVID 19

Brother’s and Sister’s,

There are many questions regarding what the company is doing in regards to the COVID Pandemic and keeping our members safe. The company is trying to follow the guidelines set out by the Government which seem to be changing daily. This a very trying time for all of us and must remain calm. Panic and Rumors will not help the situation. This is the time to look out for one and other and we should all be following the below guidelines,

  • Employees should notify the company and stay home if they are sick.
  • Anyone identified to have had close contact of someone with Covid-19 shall go into mandatory self isolation for 14 days fro date of being exposed.
  • In cases of fever (100.4° F / 37.8° C or greater using an oral thermometer), do not come to work until you are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Maintain SOCIAL DISTANCING, Keep 6 ft apart
  • Self- disclose to the company if you are feeling any symptoms.

We want to make sure the company is providing a Safe and Healthy work environment for all. If you feel that is not being accomplished, talk to your supervisor/manager. Give them the opportunity to address the situation properly first. If you are not satisfied or hit a road block with them, every employee has the Right to Refuse[ article 14.05]. This has to be done by the individual. There is a process that must be followed which could include bringing in the Provincial OH&S Officer.

With the company expected to crew up in areas in the next few weeks the plan is to meet with the company to try and alleviate the issue of the change room. For the time being try and maintain that 6 feet of distance for everyone’s safety. This is an unprecedented time we are in right now. The Cyber Attack and Global Pandemic have put stress and strain on everyone. Take this opportunity to help each other and look out for each other.

In Solidarity.

Production Update

Members of your Executive met with the company this afternoon for a production/business update. Below is an overview of what was discussed.

STEEL;

Melt Shop- Still looking at start up for April 1st

Rolling Mill- Company is hopeful for April 9th and 10th.

Heavy Plate- Recall for Tuesday, March 31st

Slitter- 1 crew Monday the 30th

TUBULAR;

24 inch Mill- Mid April for 1 weld crew and 2 finishing crews

2 inch- It has been communicated that there will be recalls for 2 crews to start Monday March 30th.