Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We’ve been busy this fall. We conducted four chemical council meetings, all of them well-attended and very informative.
We also had a chemical sector meeting during the USW’s health, safety and environment conference. The discussion at this meeting centered on training of new employees and fatigue resulting from excessive overtime. Many chemical workers are nearing retirement and the chemical companies need to create mentorship programs so the “old hands” can share what they have learned over the years with new employees.
These meetings are important because they allow chemical workers to network and learn about each other’s contracts They often hear about other locals’ issues that might be identical to their own and discover how other locals handle them. Many times, they plan strategies together for the council to speak as one voice.
Next February, Local 9-675 in Guin, Ala., will host the 3M Council meeting. My office will send out a council meeting notice to the council members.
Two years ago we had a chemical conference in Atlantic City, N.J., for Districts 4 and 10. Many chemical workers attended, and members said they did not realize other locals had the same issues as their local. This conference encouraged local union leaders to continue talking and helping one another. We hope another such conference can be scheduled sometime next year if there is enough interest.
Our chemical sector has come a long way from the time I was assigned to lead it. The local unions in our councils are working better together, starting to speak as one voice, and are engaging in solidarity actions to support one another.
We have the opportunity in the chemical industry to organize it and increase our bargaining strength and unity. In 2019, our local unions need to get involved in organizing drives at their companies. The best organizing happens when chemical workers organize other chemical workers.
In the meantime, let us enjoy our families and friends during this holiday season. It is a time to strengthen our family ties, reconnect with old friends, enjoy holiday activities and reflect on the meaning of the holidays. Be sure to connect with those who have lost loved ones because this time of year can be very difficult emotionally for them as they remember past holidays with those who have passed on.
May 2019 be a year of continuing to build our local unions and the USW chemical sector!
International Vice President Carol Landry
Head of the USW’s chemical sector