October Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta

Why We Do What We Do at Election Time

As the president of SOAR, I write this article as a person who believes in and supports the labor movement, the USW and SOAR.

That means I believe every worker should be able to join a union, with fair bargaining, a livable wage, a safe work environment, and have retirement security.

As a member of our Union, I never felt it was enough as a union member to just pay dues.  

Jerry Fallwell, Jr., President of Liberty University (an evangelical institution) asks more of his members than to just make donations. Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, wants dues as well as member support on NRA issues. At Election time, this includes asking their membership to vote for candidates who support them on their issues. Why would the leaders of the USW and SOAR behave any differently? 

SOAR’s purpose as an organization, in part, is to advance the policies of the USW and to engage in political and legislative action.  There are no union members without jobs; and no need for union leaders who have no members. There is no reason for SOAR if we do not work towards maintaining a decent standard of living for our retirees. We must help to defend vital programs like Social Security and Medicare. We must remain active and involved as we continue fighting to protect and enhance our labor rights, including retirement security. 

For 35 years, SOAR has always required that any decisions made on actions be based on the best interest of our members and the USW has done the same - only for a much longer period of time. At Election time, this includes endorsing labor-friendly candidates who support us on labor issues, worker’s rights, and retirement security. To make it clear, SOAR does not support a candidate who is not endorsed by the USW.

While SOAR has members who are deeply religious and/or members of the NRA, we do not ask SOAR members to quit the NRA or their church because their leaders do not walk with us on the picket lines or take a position on recent NLRB decisions. I have not heard Fallwell or LaPierre speak out or demonstrate against the illegal dumping of steel or tires or the closing of our paper mills. Nor have I read anything about their position on pension reform or increases in Social Security. I don’t expect them to take a position on our issues, and no one should expect the USW or SOAR to take a position on their issues.

I am proud to state that for over 35 years SOAR has been supporting USW-endorsed candidates who support our issues and the issues important to the working and retired members of our Union, and will continue to do so.

With Election Day coming soon I ask all our SOAR members to please vote for USW- endorsed candidates.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222