Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Went to the union hall and a meeting broke out!

Actually, I was at the union hall to meet with our local Treasurer and Financial Secretary to pay bills and to put our hall insurance in order. (Special thanks to Greg Conners) But as 4pm rolled around, workers from Evergreen started to show up for a meeting. They were one week off. Our regular scheduled meetings are the first and third Wednesday at 4pm. But it gave those who came a chance to catch up on some information. Here is some of what I know:

Evergreen Pulp, in whatever form they have become, are paying some vendors. To what extent is beyond me. (Why would they be writing checks if they had no intention of doing further business?) Around 20 people remain on payroll. (8 Union Hourly) Our wood chip ramps are being removed as hog fuel to the highest bidder. Once the chips are gone, then construction of concrete ramps will begin. This is a positive capital expenditure that leads one to believe Evergreen has every intention of re-starting.

Insurance Questions revisited: Our insurance coverage will be in place until Nov. 30th. You will need to pay for COBRA if do want your insurance to lap. I am working on finding a provider to will cover the gap at a lower price. I will call all members when I have a time set up for a meeting for the Insurance to be available to answer Questions. I will do my best to contact the Salary employees as well. Hopefully by the 2nd week in November.

Retirement Benefits: For those of you who are eligible for the Defined Benefit Retirement Program, if you elect to start collecting and you are younger than 62 years of age, you will be penalized 3% per year of service for every year you are under 62. To be eligible to even start receiving benefits you must be 55 and have 30 years in or a combination of the two that equals 85. And if you decide to retire, you must terminate your service with Evergreen. So if we do start up and you want to come back, you will start at the bottom seniority wise.

Retirement Insurance: If you decide to retire at 62, you are eligible for Insurance coverage until you are 65 and are then under Medicare. UNLESS, Evergreen closes the Mill Permanently. Then retirees are in the same boat as the rest of the workforce, you will be out of insurance.

Disability Insurance: We have quite a few workers who are on Workers Compensation and State Compensation. Some are assuming their insurance coverage will continue while the mill is down. You are only covered for your pre existing condition! If you walk out your house and are injured on Dec. 1, 2008, you are not covered! Be sure to have health insurance coverage by Nov. 30th at the latest.

Next Wednesday, November 5th at 4pm will be our next regularly scheduled meeting. We will also be electing new officers for 2009.

I will post more information as it becomes available.

12 comments:

Not A Native said...

Richard, what are the "concrete ramps" needed/used for? Were already planned as a replacement for something else or something new?

I dunno that paying bills means more than they don't want their assets to be clouded with a lien or even worse, have a court judgement and be auctioned off. Saves legal costs too. It'd be interesting to know if they are putting in "new" money or just using the proceeds from the chip sales to fund the payments.

Anonymous said...

Good Question! What is going on? Are they using the proceeds from the chips to pay off other people?

T-Law said...

Hey Rich you can give that journalist my number. I'll try and hook her up with some good quotes. Thanks for updating the blog, i check it everday!
Tommy

samoasoftball said...

Not a Native-When wood chips are introduced to the mill, they are conveyed to the Digester where they are "cooked". There are two "turntables" that the chips are dropped on and the rotation of the table disperses the chips uniformly onto the conveyor system. The chips then go through a screening system to separate "fines" and "overs" (sawdust and chip chunks) and then are stored in a Silo where they are taken as needed by the Digester.

The "ramps" we now have are literally chips that have been formed into an incline to drop chips onto the turntables. The higher the ramps, the longer the turntable "hole" will last. (More Butt time for 990 Cat operator) The problem with using chips as a ramp, is that the 990 is so heavy that it destroys the chips and turns them into sawdust. Our CEO figures that we have lost around 4 million dollars in chips since Evergreen took over. So a Return On Investment (ROI) for building concrete ramps would be quick.

Not A Native said...

Thanks, I sort of get the picture. After all these years of plant operation, I'd have thought those kind of efficiencies would have already been implemented. Clearly with 200,000 yearly tons of product and more in input, materials handling should have gotten a lot of attention.

BTW, it looks like the Evergreen pulp website was pulled down, just happened today.

Anonymous said...

What the hec is Rex doing through all this?

samoasoftball said...

4:33pm-I totally agree, and have been vocal about efficiency needs of the Chip Handling department. Lots of wasteful operating procedures. When you talk about capital expenditures, they always want the bang for the buck. But I digress. If the concrete ramps go up, look for us to start operations quickly after.

Rex can still be found almost every evening at Cutten Fields. He is resilient and will find new work when he wants. I hope he returns to Evergreen though. I hope everyone comes back. We are a pretty close knit work force.

Anonymous said...

A,R.M.S., the health insurance provider canceled Evergreen's health insurance plan for non payment as of Wednesday. The remaining 22 employees at the mill do not have health insurance anymore. More importantly, COBRA will not be available for laid-off workers since the plan has been canceled.

It is hard to get the policy reinstated once it is canceled.

samoasoftball said...

5:47am-That, hopefully, is just a rumor. And illegal.

Anonymous said...

Does sound fishy, but rumors are a lot of what blogs are about. Its also possible that Evergreen has changed insurance carriers. In that case the rumor would be true but not such a big deal.

Would be pretty easy for anyone who is in the plan to confirm or dismiss it. Would only take a phone call to the insurer asking if they will accept a new claim....

Anonymous said...

Rumor- The Chinese want to sell to someone else. Don't want to work with the Union Shop. If you think about the way they have maintained the mill. They are looking for a sucker. Don't count on ramps until you see them completed.

Anonymous said...

ARM has not been the insurance carrier for over a month now. The employees have all had WSIS and we have not had any problems with insurance. Perhaps, some employees are on a different insurance carrier-not likely. Just wanted to stop the rumors.