News, Developments and Information

OH&S Level 1 Training

The United Steelworkers South Sask Area Council is putting on a OH&S Level 1 Course on May 27 & 28,2020. Anyone who would like to participate in this please email m.day@usw5890.com or call the office at 306-569-9663. Please submit your name by April 3,2020.

D&A Testing on Machine Operator

Brothers and Sisters,

We would like you take note of the Company’s response to a grievance filed by the Union regarding one of our brothers being subject to a post incident D&A test when the company was aware there was issues with the equipment. Their response reaffirms the fact that everything is “Blame the employee”, below is part of the grievance response we received today from the company.

…was transporting two coated pipes which slipped through the forks of machine. This resulted in damage to the pipes which were subsequently scrapped. It was obvious that this particular incident should be considered a “significant work-related incident” as it resulted in a significant loss of the employer’s property and to company revenues. As such, as per the Alcohol and Substance Policy “… alcohol and substance testing will be required for all employees involved in a ‘significant work-related incident’…” and that is why…was required to go through post-incident alcohol and drug test. In the opinion of the union, clear mechanical failure that caused this accident. The employer conducted the investigation into this matter. The employer investigation acknowledges that prior to this accident there was knowledge that the forks on this machine were not gripping with equal force. However, from the employer perspective, the post-incident testing was required as the malfunction of forks did not fully explained why the accident happened. For example, the day of the accident there was also a buildup of frost on the pipes making them slippery. Under those conditions much more caution and good judgment should be exercised by the loader operator. All the operator’s tasks should be performed slower as these were not perfect conditions. Therefore, the employer had every right to suspect that at the time of incident, the judgment of the operator was at the very least a potential factor in this serious incident.

Therefore, this grievance is denied.
Regards,
Brad Forster

Bargaining Update 2020

On January 21st and 22nd the bargaining committees of locals 5890 and 6673 met in Regina to go over Non-Monetary Bargaining proposals.

Our Non-Monetary proposals consist of Local issues for each plant and Common issues that we both share.

We have agreed to Non-Monetary proposal exchange with the company on May 6th&7th, 2020. We will be sending out Monetary Surveys so please take time to fill those out as well watch for special bargaining membership meetings.

Both Locals are meeting in Calgary with the new VP of Human Resources, Barbra Turk, on Feb 26th for a Labour Management Meeting

We look forward to your continuing support and feedback. We always looking for members to help with the C.A.T team. If you would like to help out please contact one of the leaders in your department.

SOLIDARITY RALLY

There will be a Solidarity Rally with locked out members of Unifor 594 at the Co-op Refinery

When: Saturday, February 1

Everyone attending will please meet at the USW 5890 office (#26-395 Park Street) at 11:00 AM. We will be joining with other USW members from Saskatoon and surrounding area then convoy to Gate 7 Co-op Refinery for a Solidarity Rally

If you have any questions please call the office @ 306-569-9663 or email m.day@usw5890.com

LETS STAND TOGETHER FOR WORKERS AND PENSIONS

Grievance Report

Brothers and Sisters,

In an effort to keep the membership of 5890 more informed, your Grievance Committee would like you know that in the past 6 months the Local has filed almost 140 grievances with the company. In fact, since ratification there has been over 520 grievances filed. We have seen an increase in both Terminations and Drug and Alcohol testing since a new Director of Human Resources Canada was hired. Focusing on the last 6 months here is a breakdown.

*15 Terminations

* 8 Post Incident Drug and Alcohol Tests

*1 Reasonable Suspicion Test

*15 Indefinite Suspensions

*2 Disqualifications

*7 Grievances for suspensions over 4 days

*17 Grievances filed for 3 day suspensions

*3 Grievances filed for 2 day suspensions

*15 Grievances filed for 1 day suspensions

*10 Grievances filed for written warnings.

*18 Grievances for Line of Progression/ Overtime violations

*9 Grievances filed for the Company not following Timelines as outlined in the C.B.A

That is 106 suspension days filed in the past 6 months not including the Terminations.

In that same period of time there has been 21 grievances resolved ranging anywhere from written warnings , 1 day suspensions and 2 day suspensions being removed, reduction in disciplines and pay for time lost.  The largest grievance resolve in terms of pay was the De-gasser grievance in which was settled with the company paying out over $16,000.

GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE;
Ryan Mckenzie [Chair]
Kyle Fisher[Tubular]
Brad Gibbons[Steel]
Kim Roberts[O&T]  

SOCIAL MEDIA

Brothers and Sisters,

This is a reminder from your executive that no matter how secure you think a Social Media page is, the company in one way or another is monitoring your actions. Either through screen shots taken by individuals on the site or whatever means, but make no mistake they ARE monitoring your Social Media activity.

Attendance Monitoring

On December 17th the company put out a memo regarding Absenteeism during the next couple of weeks. It’s ironic how this company will speak of “safety and workplace morale”. They have shown time and time again that their safety is all behavior based and, how high is the morale going to be when they do things like installing those “prison style gates” at the operations building.

Under article 14.03 [medical certificates], The Company will pay 100% of the cost incurred by the employees for securing medical certificates for insurance claims[ weekly indemnity] and Workers Compensation claims, and any RETURN TO WORK SLIPS REQUIRED BY THE COMPANY

https://oipc.sk.ca/need-to-know-in-the-workplace-when-is-it-crossing-the-line/

Apprenticeship Program

Last week both the Steel and Tubular Apprenticeship Selection Committee’s completed going through the list of applicants and the top 10 from each Division will be contacted by Heather Kosowan from Human Resources in the next week for the GATB test.

New Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy is a good first step to safer workplaces

Nearly a year to the day since the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) first called for a robust strategy to address workplace deaths and injuries, the new strategy released by WorkSafe Saskatchewan is a good first step to safer workplaces.
“While it took longer than we had hoped, the federation of labour is happy to see the release of this new strategy,” said SFL President Lori Johb, “working people were consulted throughout the process of developing the new strategy, and I truly believe the professionals at the Saskatchewan WCB really do want to address the crisis we are seeing in workplace deaths and injuries in this province,” she added.
Based on a new WCB internal definition of a serious injury, 22,594 Saskatchewan workers suffered a serious injury from 2010-2018. In that same time period, 354 fatalities were accepted by the WCB.
“No worker should ever be killed or injured as a result of their job,” said Johb, “we have a long way to go; it’s our hope this strategy will point our province in the right direction,” she added.
While the new strategy includes many aspects to be optimistic about, there are a number of things the provincial government can do right now to help create safer workplaces:
• Publish all incident and investigation reports online;
• Require OH&S committees to file meeting minutes with the OH&S Division;
• Review how WorkSafe’s Mission: Zero enforces its Health and Safety Leadership Charter;
• Update and expand the Young Worker Readiness Certificate course, and move the course from being from online to being delivered and tested in-person, and;
• Expand rights to include the right to refuse unsafe work on behalf of someone else.

COLA Adjustment

The CPI figure for October was released on November 20, 2019. Per the Collective Agreement, the following calculation will apply:

October 2019 140.9
July 2019 140.7
Difference 0.2
Divide difference by .063 = $0.03

Effective with the first pay period after the release, COLA will be $1.25 per straight-time hour worked, as it was previously $1.22.

Work Boot Allowance Change

The Company has changed their policy on the process of buying boots. From now on members and probationary members will have to pay the 25% of boots up front or at the time of purchase.

It has also been brought to the attention of the Union that some people purchasing boots who paid 25% up front were also charged 25% on their paycheck. Please double check your pay stub if you recently purchased boots.

New trade era lies ahead for Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors

The tit-for-tat steel and aluminum tariffs between U.S. and Canadian may have been lifted, but uncertainty remains for these industries and the Canadian businesses they support — at least until a final trade agreement is signed.

Tariffs of 25 per cent on steel aand 10 per cent on aluminum exports to the U.S, implemented by the Trump administration, took effect for Canadian producers May 31 last year under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. (The tariffs had previously been in place since March, but Canada, Mexico and a few other nations had been given temporary exemptions.)

In response, Canada put in place similar tariffs on more than $16-billion of U.S. steel and aluminum imports, and many other products including felt pens, maple syrup and ketchup.

The duties were lifted in May this year, but not without some consequences: Canadian steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. fell to their lowest level in almost a decade, according to Statistics Canada.

Although exports are rebounding, and both industries are breathing a collective sigh of relief, many companies are concerned about the future of free trade, especially with a new agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) awaiting approval by U.S. legislators.

“You can’t turn sentiment around on a dime,” says Catherine Cobden, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, which represents the $15-billion industry responsible for about 23,000 jobs in the country.

NAFTA has been the foundation for the integrated market for more than 25 years, and Canadian steel and aluminum producers have been linchpins in the manufacturing supply chain for American and domestic companies alike, industry associations say.

Ms. Cobden believes the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) — known as the United States, Mexico and Canada Agreement (USMCA) south of the border — would help modernize trade. But it must still be ratified by U.S. Congress, which may not happen soon with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives focused on impeaching U.S. President Donald Trump, who considers the agreement a key achievement of his administration.

Aluminum producers are also stuck in a holding pattern, says Jean Simard, president of the Aluminium Association of Canada, which represents an industry generating about $5.5-billion annual revenue and employing about 8,500 people.

“The market is very slow,” Mr. Simard says, noting 90 per cent of the approximately 3.2 million tonnes Canada produces is exported to the U.S.

While demand in the U.S. is growing, Mr. Simard said companies are hesitant to hire more workers and expand operations until there’s more certainty with the trade deal.

One key issue for producers is country of origin rules requiring products have an increased, minimum percentage of components from the U.S. to avoid trade penalties under the new agreement. For example, automobiles shipped within North America would have to include at least 75 per cent regional content, Mr. Simard says.

But many firms are uncertain how rules apply to them or how they will be enforced. One worry for the Canadian industry, he adds, is foreign aluminum products coming into the Canadian market and making their way into the U.S. through manufacturing supply chains, resulting in trade violations and tariffs.

“It is a regulatory headache for Canada to ensure its producers can meet the rules and not run into trouble,” he says.

Yet, the need is real to protect the North American market from dumping aluminum, which happens when foreign companies sell their product at below-market prices, negatively affecting domestic producers.

“Canada and the U.S. share the same problem, which is Chinese overcapacity and its impact on the cost and price structure of the global market,” Mr. Simard says.

Government of Canada data from last year show China produces more than 50 per cent of world’s aluminum annually. By comparison, Canada is the third largest producer, accounting for about five per cent of global product.

Mr. Simard notes China embarked on a major urbanization strategy about two decades ago that included hiking its aluminum production dramatically.

Now economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy has slowed. As a result, China’s aluminum industry is faced with excess capacity and is looking to external markets. The U.S, concerned about dumping and under-cutting domestic producers, included China among nations subject to the tariffs.

The same challenges of oversupply apply to steel, Ms. Cobden says.

Continue reading New trade era lies ahead for Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors

Tubular Yard B12

Yesterday members from the Yard and Shift and Seniority committee met with Evraz upper management to discuss the petition signed by the members in the Yard to stay on the B12 2/3/2 days schedule. Points were made from both sides but the long and short of it is the company is basically implementing the new schedule.

Over the next couple days Brad Forster and Justin Carr are to come out and speak to the Yard crews regarding this matter. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns regarding this. Take this opportunity to have your voice heard.

In solidarity.

NEW SCHEDULE

As the new schedule is going to be implemented at the end of the month, the Union is recommending that anyone who will be negatively affected by this change contact the Human Resources Department or your Supervisor.

WORKDAY SYSTEM

The company is going through an HR transition away from Ceridian to a new Worday program. Some of you may have been through the training on this application already but everyone should by the implementation on Oct 1, 2019 have gone through it. In the Unions first discussions with the company we had some issues with this program. Initially, they were refusing to issue paystubs and T4’s and their response was “we will be setting up kiosks if the employee wishes to print off a stub or T4’s”. Well our response was, no you are legally obligated to provide T4’s and obligated under the C.B.A to provide paystubs so we can not support this program. Well after another meeting the company finally realized their legal obligations when it comes to T4’s and have agreed that paystubs will still be available.

So no matter what is being told to you in these training sessions, the company WILL STILL BE providing stubs and T4’s.

IN SOLIDARITY

S.O.A.R

The local would like to thank Dennis Carrigan for his time and dedication as President of SOAR Chapter 19 and wish him all the best on his future plans. Dennis worked tirelessly to build the chapter up to what it is today and if you see Dennis please thank him for all his work.

We would also like to welcome Al Majore as the Chapters new President.

Apprenticeship Program

Brothers and Sisters,

Your Local knows there has been lot’s of questions about what is happening and where the Apprenticeship Program is as the bids closed on July 29th. Well, the company asked the Union when it could meet in the next 2 weeks on Aug 27th, the Union responded on the 3rd that we are able to meet on the 13th. To date the Union has heard no response from the company.

This comes to no shock to the Union. The company fails to realize that individuals on this committee will be doing this on their personal time. Either this is another delay tactic by the company or????

IN SOLIDARITY

Call In Procedure

The local has been getting inquiries if the company’s call in procedure has changed and security is asking our members to call in for each day you are absent. Below is what the current policy states,

 If you are absent for more than 1 day, you are only required to call in the first day and
the day that you will be returning.

IN SOLIDARITY.

Labour/Management Meeting

Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday members from your Executive, along with members from Executive members from USW6673[ Calgary] and Staff Reps Keith Turcotte and Patrick Veinot met with Human Resources Management from both plants and the Director of Human Resources John Demarco. The Union from both plants voiced our concerns over the company’s handling, or lack there of, of grievances, the grievance process in general and the lack of accountability on their managers. We pointed out that in Regina, it’s an average of over 40 days before the local gets any communication at all from the company and how could we still possibly be waiting for responses on over 40 grievances? The company feels there has been progress made but both locals strongly disagree. The Company has committed to an improvement and both sides agreed to set up more meetings to deal with these and other issues in more of immediate fashion. We told them we have heard all this before and the proof will be in the pudding and with bargaining on the horizon, the ball is in their court to make the improvements needed.