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Covington Paperworkers Union, AWPPW Local 675

December 21, 2016


WestRock and Ingevity Negotiations Update Edition
The purpose of this edition of The Barking Dog is to report on current developments at the
bargaining table. The status of some items are subject to change and should not be considered final
until they are presented to the membership in the form of an offer from the company.

Ingevity Offer Overwhelmingly Rejected

Local 675 Ingevity members emphatically rejected the companys Best Offer in an election on December 14,
2016. Ninety-eight members were eligible to vote. Of those, ninety-two cast their ballots. Two members voted
in favor of accepting the offer. Ninety members elected to reject the offer. This was an exceptional showing
and our brothers and sisters at Ingevity sent a clear message to the company that they have no interest in
ratifying an Agreement that contains concessions and falls short of providing the benefits they deserve.

Local 675 Ingevity spokesperson, AWPPW Area Representative Don Draeger, has informed Ingevity
spokesperson Keith Potter of the results of the election. Dates will be scheduled for a return to the
table. Late February is the earliest that negotiations will be able resume. Once dates are agreed to, we
will share that information with the membership.
Special thanks go to Dan Harmon, Fred Hampton, and Adam Harris for staffing the polling station.
This job entails long hours and requires special attention to detail in order to ensure a fair and
accurate election. We very much appreciate your service to our union.

Ingevity Best Offer Results

Newsletter Submissions

98 Members Eligible to Vote

This is your Union and this is your

newsletter. If you have something that
you would like to contribute to the
next edition of The Barking Dog, please
submit your article, cartoon, recipe,
etc. to the Union Hall.

92 Total Ballots Cast

90 Votes to Reject
2 Votes to Accept

Covington Paperworkers Union, Local 675

December 21, 2016

WestRock Attendance Policy Update

By Mike Seldomridge, Bleach Room, Upper Mill Committeeman
There will be little change to employees working 8 or 10 hour shifts in regards to attendance. However,
employees working 12 hour shifts are in for a potential change in how attendance is viewed and points are
First, there isnt a change from the 8 or 10 hour shift attendance language as it regards the first 4 points when
working 12s. In other words, an absence is still a point and a tardy is still a half point and the No call/No
show is 3 points and a written warning.
But after you garner more than 4 points, things begin to accelerate under the attendance policy for 12 hour
For instance, after 4 points, an absence becomes 2 points. A tardy/leave early becomes a full point. The No
call/No show is 4 points and a written warning.
Again, this acceleration process on 12 hour shifts would trigger at 4 points.
Changes in notification occur in the way we report on 12s. Notification after 2 hours of your shift start time
is 4 points. Notification after your shift start time but within the first 2 hours is 2 points, whether you work
any portion of your shift or not. And Notification prior to shift start time and report within 2 hours is 1
Now, overall attendance proposed changes:
A change in policy for 8s, 10s, and 12s is the shift start time window, which is now proposed at 5:53 am to
6:00 am, 1:53 pm to 2:00 pm, 9:53 pm to 10:00 pm.
Also, requests for trades due to an emergency situation where advance notice cannot be provided must first
be approved by supervision, or by foreman/shift leads as directed by the Company. If unable to reach
them, the trade request should be routed through the watchbox and approved verbally by the
foreman/shift leader on duty. The exchange-of-tour slip must be completed as soon possible.
After 90 calendar days of no chargeable absences, the oldest occurrence will be removed from an affected
employees existing accumulated record.
Upon request, the Company will provide an employee with the most recent calculation of that employees
attendance point total.
Employees will have the right to request Union representation for all discipline procedures.
Employees working on 8 hour or 10 hour schedules will be able to hold the shift after one hour. However,
any employee called in to fill a tardy/late vacancy will be able to hold that shift on ANY schedule.

Covington Paperworkers Union, Local 675

December 21, 2016

WestRock Substance Abuse Update

By Jim Parker, Pipe Shop, Local 675 Chaplain
During the bargaining weeks in December, the Company and Union discussed the mill substance abuse
policy. Currently we use the legacy MeadWestvaco policy. The company spokesman indicated there is a
company wide initiative to move to the legacy Rock-Tenn policy. Corporate management feels the
MeadWestvaco policy is "too soft and does not discourage drug or alcohol abuse." The union countered that
the current last chance agreement in place at Covington has been very successful in remediating employees
with substance abuse issues. The Union noted that there seemed to be no tolerance in the new policy and
asked how last chance agreements would be applied under the new proposal.
The company responded that in the brand new world if we catch you, you would be subject to immediate
discharge. If the union should choose to arbitrate then the company will lean on just cause which is a
stronger position for them in arbitration. The union stated they believed that last chance should still apply.
The company agreed that an employee could be offered a last chance agreement depending on their
situation but rules would be tighter and less subjective. The union asked who would make decision in
regards to last chance agreements and the company indicated it would ultimately be the mill managers
The union pointed out that we typically deal with substance abuse by two types: those employees with an
ongoing substance abuse issue and those who make a one time bad decision. The company stated
employees would need to be educated to the new policy as it does not consider a difference between the
two types. It is a tighter policy and playing the system will not be what it used to be. The company said
employees will need to be more proactive in seeking help if they have a problem.
The union asked about post incident testing and the current use of a checklist. The company said they plan
to continue the use of the checklist. The company said the checklist will be reevaluated as they actually test
fewer people under the new policy but penalties are harsher.
The last part of discussion on this was employees informing the company when they are taking
prescriptions that could affect their job but supervision requiring the employee to report. The company
responded that if an employee informs supervision of their meds, they have met their obligation of
I have tried in this article to give you a view from the table. As you can see from the tone of discussions, the
company is very focused on moving us to more "standardized" policies. One of the biggest frustrations the
committee deals with is having to bargain down to agreements that are substandard to our current benefits
and policy levels. While the company acknowledges Covington is different in our terms and agreements,
they say the corporate initiative is to standardize everyone. The fallacy of this is that it stagnates those who
lead in raising industry standards and allows companies to better control benefits costs. So the gist of our
case here is the fight that was in front of us in 2006 is still here and now is the time that we will have to step
up and deal with it. I do believe that we hold certain advantages in Covington and that we will leverage
these in our fight. Your committee has a strategy and the membership will need to be fully engaged at the
appropriate time. So keep praying for strength and wisdom for all of us. God bless each of you.

Covington Paperworkers Union, Local 675

December 21, 2016

Premium Pay Elimination Update

By Bob Booth, Bleach Room, Local 675 President
WestRock wants to standardize certain provisions of Labor Agreements across all of their bargaining units.
They achieved a large chunk of this goal with the USW/RKT Master Agreement that was reached prior to the
MWV/RKT merger. This Agreement included a premium pay buyout. WRK wants to standardize Covington
by stealing your premium pay provisions, as well.
What we know:
The buyout would eliminate time-and-one-half pay for work performed on Sundays, doubletime-and-one-half for work performed on Holidays, time-and-one-half for working over sixteen (16)
hours, double call-out pay, Tool Allowance, and Wire Pay.
The dollar amount offered is determined by totaling premium pay paid in Covington over the
prior four-year period. The company would offer 75% of that amount to eliminate premium pay in
Covington. This comes out to less than $8,000 per bargain unit employee.
The loss of Sunday Premium would have the biggest financial impact for many of us. Tour workers, in
particular, would suffer significant loss of income. An easy way for a tour worker to calculate a most basic loss
of income due to Sunday Pay elimination is to multiply your hourly rate by 104 hours. You are scheduled to
work three Sundays in your four-week rotation. Without Sunday Pay you would still get eight hours of timeand-one-half on your six day week, due to time-and-one-half pay over forty hours for the week. This gets you
down to two Sundays during the rotation that are guaranteed to be affected by loss of Sunday Pay, or twentysix (26) Sundays per year. Sunday Premium for eight (8) hours equates to four (4) straight time hours. So, 26 X
4 = 104 hours.
Applying this formula to a few of our current rates you get:
Labor Grade

Wage Rate 11/30/15


X 104 Hours
X 104 Hours
X 104 Hours
X 104 Hours
X 104 Hours

Income Loss Per Year


Obviously, the money lost would grow with every promotion and wage adjustment, contribution loss to your
401k, and there are additional situations where you would lose money due to loss of Sunday Premium. The
amount of financial loss to a younger employee over the course of their employment would be staggering. The
majority of tour workers would erase the buyout money within three years of losing Sunday Pay.
WestRock doesnt want to pay you for the inconvenience of working overtime on Holidays that would
otherwise be spent with loved ones. They dont want to pay you the premium for working beyond sixteen (16)
consecutive hours. They want to eliminate the tool allowance, second call-out pay, and wire pay. WestRock
profits from your labor. Now they want to reward your role in profit making by taking money out of your

Covington Paperworkers Union, Local 675

December 21, 2016

By Gary Wilkerson, Recovery, Upper Mill Vice President

The company agenda is to standardize Covington with other WestRock locations. The problem is that
Covington would be bargaining down to those locations. The references to the USW/RKT Master
Agreement that the company has made in bargaining will set Covington back decades on gains our
forefathers fought and struck for many years ago. Here are just a few of these topics your committee is
dealing with at the table:
Grievance Hours- The company is wanting to restrict the unions use of grievance hours. We are currently
afforded 125 hours of grievance time per month that has historically been used for any type of union
business even though the contract states time used with management. In the past, the union was able to
roll over unused hours from month to month, but the company since stopped this practice. The union
hasnt abused this practice, and it has been beneficial to both parties.
Benefit Termination- The WestRock policy presented to the committee details changes to employee
medical, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits. They will be continued for the following reasons
assuming the employee pays the applicable cost of such benefits at the active employee rate, and then cobra
Disability- remainder of the month incurred plus up to 12 months if employee becomes disabled
(work related or not)
Layoff- remainder of the month incurred plus up to 1 month
Active Military Leave- just the remainder of the month incurred
Approved Personal Leave of Absence- remainder of month incurred plus up to 1 month
Union Leave of Absence Over 30 days- remainder of that month plus up to 1 month (long standing
practice between the Company and Union is when an employee is off as Union President, benefits
continue as if he/she was working in the mill)
Gains under this new policy would be the following:
Permit employees to convert or port their basic life insurance coverage to an individual policy via
application to the insurance company and paying the costs, provided the carrier provides
conversion and/or portability. Otherwise, the benefit ceases the end of the month active
employment concludes unless otherwise extended per provisions above.
Change jury duty pay to provide full day of pay with no offset for pay received by the court.
Membership Question/Survey Prep:
As you know, a lot of bargaining has centered around the memberships desire for 12 hour shifts (based on
the surveys we sent out), and coming up with sustainable language to make it work this time around if
voted in by the membership. In an effort to minimize scheduling conflicts, shift floating, and to minimize
the standby person being called in, I propose to you, the membership, this question:
On a 12 hour schedule, would you rather shift float to vacancies greater than 56 days or greater than one
year (e.g. SME, safety jobs, union president, etc..)? Essentially, this would make each shift its own
department, having its own vacancy replacements assigned per shift to help with training, vacations, etc.
and doing away with lateral floating across shifts.
Your CAT team leaders will be distributing surveys containing this question and others in the near future,
please be thinking of a decision so youre prepared to give your answer.

Covington Paperworkers Union, Local 675

December 21, 2016

What Can YOU Do?

By Lower Mill Vice President Heather Williams, GMS&S
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Henry Ford
This newsletter was put together by your committee in order to inform the membership of what
has been going on in negotiations. Several people have called the Union hall, messaged through
social media, or directly questioned Union officials about bargaining. A few have wanted to know
where the contract proposal is. Within the 61 days that the committee has been at the table with
the company, a decent proposal would be nearly impossible even if we were dealing with a
company with no agenda of its own. There have been an array of topics discussed, and we are
making our way, a bargaining day at a time, to a proposal. The committee is just as anxious for a
proposal as the membership is, but there is a process to getting that proposal. The memberships
understanding of that is imperative to our collective success, and there are a few things that the
membership can do while we bargain.
Coming together is a beginning. The strength of the bargaining unit is dependent on the unity
of the membership. Coming together is crucial. The decision to be a union member or not is yours
to make. This contract will affect members and nonmembers alike, and we all stand a better
chance at a fair contract with a hundred percent membership. Just as I said, the strength of the
Union, was, is, and always be determined by the membership. The companys ability to take from
the workforce through negotiations and to obtain union restrictive language is gauged by the
number standing on the opposing side. The truth is, there are two sides: the Union and the
company. If you arent Union, you are helping the other side. The first thing you can do to help
with bargaining is to come together.
Keeping together is progress. Bargaining is typically not an easy or fast process. Before entering
into bargaining, we knew that we were facing a long negotiation period according to the industry
trend. During this time, it is easy to become restless, and frustration, fear, and disturbances within
Continued next page

Union Meetings
Regular Membership Meetings are held on the first and third
Thursdays of each month at 12pm, 3pm and 5pm. The next
meetings will be held on January 5th and January 19th.

Covington Paperworkers Union, Local 675

December 21, 2016

the membership can happen. We must remain vigilant and stand together. As time passes, we
must remain focused on the common goal we are working to attain. With whatever the company
hurls our way, we are obligated as brothers and sisters to stand together because an injury to one
is an injury to all. There will be situations that are company cultivated to be divisive, and it is
essential to keep together.
Working together is success. History has proved that contracts in Covington have not been
given but fought for by the membership. The committee is a putting in the work at the table, but it
will be up to the membership to inform the company if the contract is acceptable or not when the
time comes to cast your vote. Until then, full membership working in unison is a powerful force.
The company will be watching the interaction and
movement of the membership as we continue through
this bargain to attempt to judge the strength of the fight.
Sending the message to the company that we may not
always agree, but we always stand together is effective
in bargaining. An Ethiopian proverb says that when
spiders unite, they can tie down a lion. There will be a
time when the committee calls the membership to act,
and working together will bring success.

contracts in
Covington have not been
given but fought for by
the membership.

The committee thanks the membership for their continued support. THIS IS YOUR CONTRACT.
The membership is the fight, and the committee is the vehicle to deliver that fight to the company
during bargaining. Your committee is giving our best effort as the membership trusts us to do.
When the proposal hits the table, the membership will be the ones to decide whether to accept or
fight. Come together, keep together, work together. Local 675 stands together!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My friends, it is solidarity of labor we want. We do not want to

find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces and say to
each other: We must be together; our masters are joined together
and we must do the same thing.
-Mother Jones

Covington Paperworkers Union, AWPPW Local 675

December 21, 2016

Sunday Pay
Language in
Article V, Section 2
has remained
unchanged for

CPU 675 welcomes the following new members who have joined since our last newsletter:

Steven Hall, Nicholas Pyle, Phillip Jones, Heath Boggs, Donny Martin,
Mike Quick, Ralph Blankenship, Daniel Ailstock, James Spencer,
Daniel Vance, and Chris Vance.

Covington Paperworkers Union

424 West Prospect Street
Covington, VA 24426
Phone: (540)962-5799
FAX: (540)962-7496