PPRC Fly-In: The Face of Our Industry at Work

Feb 16, 2016
Dennis-PelotBy Dennis Pelot
PPRC 2016 Fly-In Participant

Last week, I joined the Pulp and Paperworkers’ Resource Council (PPRC) for their 25th Annual Washington, D.C. Fly-In. It was my first time joining them, and it was an eye-opening experience.

The PPRC is a grassroots organization made up of hourly employees like me who work in the forest products industry. I work as a wash and press operator and a digest cook at Domtar’s pulp and paper mill in Nekoosa, Wis. This is my 40th year with the company — I started just four months out of high school. The industry is very important to me and my family, and I was pleased to be able to attend this year’s Fly-In.

I have to say — I had no idea what to expect in D.C., and I was shocked at how little some of our lawmakers understand our industry. Over the course of three days, we visited 518 offices, and I think we made a real difference.

Some of the most important issues that we lobbied on in D.C. this year were what we call “paper options.” It is becoming more and more common for Americans to be denied the option to receive federal services and communications such as social security documents, tax documents and savings bonds in a paper format. The truth is that millions of Americans simply cannot access information in electronic formats. In D.C. last week, I was proud to ask members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 1652 and S. 2478, which allow those Americans who prefer paper savings bonds to continue to have that option.

I want to thank the other PPRC members that I worked with last week — I was very impressed with them and the time and effort they put into the Fly-In. They truly have a passion for it!

Lastly, I want to say how much I hope I can attend next year’s D.C. Fly-In. And I want to encourage other hourly employees in the forest products industry to talk to their managers about joining our efforts. The work that the PPRC does when we go to D.C. and educate our lawmakers is critical to protecting our jobs. Think about the change we could make if we had an even larger group!

If you are interested in joining the PPRC or want more information, I encourage you to contact our Chairman David Wise at david.wise@westrock.com.