United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-03-14 08:04:52 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 SOAR Story: Gary Gaines, Chapter 7-34-2 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/soar-story-gary-gaines-chapter-7-34-2 Mon, 25 Mar 2019 15:02:14 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/soar-story-gary-gaines-chapter-7-34-2

In the 1960's, Gary Gaines was working full-time at then-Granite City Steel and part-time as a police officer; but, when a friend recommended he put in for a USW-represented security officer job at the mill with better pay and benefits, Gary didn’t hesitate. 

He got the job, and through three changes in ownership of the mill, he found security in a union job in one of the first mills in the country to have a computerized hot strip.  At the time, and still today, the USW represents the workers who operate the mill along with those in security. 

After a few years on the job, Gary decided he wanted to run to be President of his local, USW 4063 in Granite City.  He lost his first election by just one vote, but was successful on his second attempt.  Additionally, he was involved in his Central Labor Council, and served as a Peer Safety Trainer and Political Action Coordinator for his local union.

When he retired in 2008, Gary got involved in his SOAR chapter (7-34-2 in Granite City, Illinois), and in 2011, then-District 7 Director Jim Robinson asked if he’d be willing to help establish a SOAR chapter for USW retirees from Honeywell in Metropolis, Illinois (Chapter 7-PC-4).

Steve Lech, who was the President of USW Local 7-669 at the time, was very supportive of the effort, and within a year it was accomplished.  “The enthusiasm of the core group was a pleasure. I just had to give them the "tools" and they took off,” says Gaines looking back with pride. 

“Our SOAR chapters are a great resource for our members and communities,” Gaines asserts.  “Jeff Rains (7-34-2 SOAR Chapter President) does a great job getting topics of interest at our monthly meetings.  Our meeting this coming month is about pensions.  He’s brought in local elected officials and experts on Social Security and state-level issues.  We’ve built a successful scholarship program that awarded five (5) $2,000 scholarships to children or grandchildren of USW members, and we donate money to local food pantries and organizations that provide support to women who have left abusive relationships.”

Following the decision by the USW International Executive Board to open up SOAR membership to “like-minded” retirees of the general public, Scott Marshall (District 7 SOAR Executive Board Member) has been encouraging SOAR members throughout the District to bring friends and family to their meetings. 

“If we’ve learned anything over the last 30 years it should be that it is up to us to grow our union; and, that work can’t end when we retire.” 

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Red Cross Contract Raises Wages, Preserves Health Care https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/red-cross-contract-raises-wages-preserves-health-care Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:43:15 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/red-cross-contract-raises-wages-preserves-health-care Members of Locals 254 and 9287 are working under a new contract they ratified late last year that preserves affordable health care and raises wages in each of the three years of the deal.

The 370 members, spread across Georgia and Alabama, work for the American Red Cross, staffing blood drives.

Negotiations between the Red Cross and the American Red Cross Union Coalition began in May 2018 and dragged through the summer and fall – and for some locals even spilled into the new year.

The coalition, a collaboration between unions representing approximately 4,500 members working under dozens of local contracts, reached a national agreement in September. Individual locals then had to ratify the agreement and resolve their local concerns.

Darryl Ford, president of Local 254, who was among the group who represented the USW at national bargaining, said he was satisfied with the agreements the USW locals reached.

“We held onto what we had with nothing but upgrades,” said Ford. “We had no givebacks this time, and we got three years of raises.”

The coalition is also growing and getting stronger, Ford said. Members voted unanimously this year to include two new organizations, bringing the total number of unions in the coalition to 11.

Still, there’s a lot of work to do to rebuild the relationship between labor and management, Ford said, a process that’s under way, but moving slowly.

Under the terms of their agreement, workers and management must have regular meetings, but Ford said they have a long way to go to establish trust in the relatively new executive board.

“We’re just getting started,” Ford said. “This is an ongoing process.”

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Union and Community Leaders Push for Georgetown Harbor Revitalization https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/union-and-community-leaders-push-for-georgetown-harbor-revitalization Thu, 21 Mar 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/union-and-community-leaders-push-for-georgetown-harbor-revitalization              

USW Local 7898 President James Sanderson from Georgetown Steel, Georgetown, South Carolina, in conjunction with local and state leaders, has renewed the push promoting Georgetown Harbor and Port.

The committee wants to dredge Georgetown Harbor to allow large shipping and full barge access which would allow industry to thrive. This project would greatly assist the mill’s progress. The mill alone handles many tons of cargo annually from their steel mill pier.

Sanderson, along with SC state Sen. Ronnie Sabb, Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber, Georgetown Steel plant management, and other community leaders recently met with Gov. Henry McMaster. The Governor was impressed by “Team Georgetown’s” Harbor Project presentation. Town Hall meetings will be scheduled soon. “We must be active in securing the longevity of our Mill” Sanderson stated, “we cannot allow the security of our mill to others, we must be active.”

USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo applauds the hard work and dedication by Sanderson. “Fighting for our member’s security, that is the way we succeed, that is USW District 9 in action!”

 

Team Georgetown Committee

 

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Local 288 in Tennessee provides training to area youth https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-288-in-tennessee-provides-training-to-area-youth Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:12:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-288-in-tennessee-provides-training-to-area-youth USW Local 288 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, recently spent the day reaching out and educating the youth at the Tennessee School for the Deaf.

At the National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, our members provided training that was funded by a grant provided by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and a partnership with UCOR. 
 
The training prepares young adults who are transitioning into the workplace with information on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, their rights as workers, the employers' responsibilities, as well as valuable information that will help to keep them safe. 
 
Through this grant, members of Local 288 have been able to provide approximately 300 students at the Union County High School with this vital training. 

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Unity and Strength: Why membership is so important https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/unity-and-strength-why-membership-is-so-important Thu, 14 Mar 2019 10:16:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/unity-and-strength-why-membership-is-so-important By Mike Millsap, District 7 Director

Unity and Strength for Workers. These words are literally in our name, but what do they really mean? I  want to share with you a story out of our district that I think is a good example of why nothing is more important than our unity, our strength and our members. 

This story begins at Batesville Casket in Batesville, Indiana – now a so-called right to work state. Obviously, the plant manufactures caskets with about 320 employees. It’s an open shop where Local 525U has been privileged to represent employees at this plant for about 40 years, and we’re about to begin bargaining there next month.

Over the four decades our union has been here, we’ve had good times and bad times. The difference? The level of our strength and unity. Like at all locals, when our membership is together, when we all have each other’s backs, and when we maintain the ability to be able to withhold our work, we have more leverage. 

Leverage is important especially during negotiations with the company. Three years ago, Batesville Casket’s final company proposal had drastic changes to the healthcare with minimal wage increases. The union’s bargaining committee did not like the proposal and did not take it back to the membership for a vote. At some point some non-members took a petition up for a decertification from the union. In order to block the decertification to keep the USW, the bargaining committee took a not-so-great proposal to the membership, which voted for the agreement – and to keep the union to fight another day.

That day is now here. On April 10, we have our first bargaining session of 2019 with Batesville Casket. It’s important that this time around we send a clear message to the company: we are strong, we are unified and we will stick together to get the best deal we can get for our members. 

We’re in this together so here are some things all of us can do right now to help us achieve this unity and strength:

  • Talk to your co-workers about the benefits of our union and make sure everyone has signed his or her union card.
  • Attend your union meetings to stay updated.
  • If you’re nearby, attend our Local 525U Solidarity Rally at 2:30 p.m. on March 18 at 7 South Eastern Ave., Batesville, Indiana.
  • If you’re a member of Local 525U, join our text updates by texting 525U to 47486*.

We should all remind each other often that despite what companies may say, there are no guarantees without a union contract. There is no way to have a say in wages, healthcare, benefits, health and safety and other issues at work without a union. The gains we win when we negotiate together as a union often outweigh the cost of dues, and these are gains we would not likely win without a union. Make no mistake about it, that is why companies want to keep us divided, weak or keep us out altogether. 

Our unity and strength at Batesville or anywhere gives us leverage, and it sends clear message that if anyone takes us on, we will stand up and fight back!

*Message and data rates may apply. You can opt out of texts at any time. For full terms: usw.com/text

 

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Possible District 10 Bass Tournament https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/possible-district-10-bass-tournament Wed, 13 Mar 2019 14:04:38 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/possible-district-10-bass-tournament Director Bobby “Mac” has asked Jeff Kipe and Mike Lapsansky to see if there would be and interest in having a Bass Tournament for the members of our District.

Due to the amount of work involved we are asking our members to see if there is an interest in having such an event.

If there is an interest we would hold the tournament at a location in the center of the state somewhere between the east and west. The tournament would be held sometime during mid to late August or early September (Great time for smallmouth).  If we have enough members interested we will follow up with the rules and regulations along with the location.

Please respond by calling the numbers below with a rough number of member interested no later than April 30, 2019 for this will give us enough time to put it together. 

Jeff Kipe, North Versailles, (814) 934-4784

Mike Lapsansky, Berwick, (570) 752-7716

Should you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact Jeff or Mike at their District Offices.

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Stat Facts: March 11, 2019 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/stat-facts-march-11-2019 Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:34:58 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/stat-facts-march-11-2019 Local 9899 Donates to Saginaw Veterans Hospital

Representatives from Local 9899 in Saginaw, Mich., took up a collection this winter in support of the area veterans hospital. Last week, they were able to donate nearly 100 pairs of socks. 

Local President Jackie Anklam said the local plans to continue supporting the hospital and the effort to provide veterans – and especially homeless veterans – with personal items they may need, including deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste as well as gloves, hats and socks.

Occupational Safety and Health Commission Upholds Ruling on Workplace Violence

The Occupational Safety and Health Commission last week upheld a ruling and citation against Integra Health Management, finding that the home health care service committed a serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The case involved a 25-year old service coordinator who was assigned to a patient with schizophrenia and a history of violent criminal behavior. She told the company she was uncomfortable going to his home alone. On the third visit, the patient stabbed her to death on his front lawn.

The Commission found that workplace violence is a hazard under the OSH Act, that the company was aware of the hazard, and in failing to address the hazard, it had violated the act.

Though the case did not involve any USW members, the union filed an amicus brief in support of the case. An amicus brief is a legal document that provides information that may be helpful in making a decision. In this case, the USW was able to attest to the threat of violence health care workers face on the job.

To read more about the decision, click here


TELL US YOUR STORIES!

Has your local done something outstanding? Have you had a great solidarity action? Done something huge to help your community? Made significant connections with other labor groups? Is your Women of Steel or Next Gen committee making waves? Tell us about it!

Contact Jess Kamm Broomell at jkamm@usw.org or at 412-562-2446.


SHARE STAT FACTS

Please encourage any of your union brothers and sisters who do not currently receive the newsletter to text HCWC to 47486 if you’re in the United States or 32323 if you’re in Canada.

Questions? Contact Jess Kamm Broomell at jkamm@usw.org or at 412-562-2446.

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Occupational Safety and Health Commission Upholds Ruling on Workplace Violence https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/occupational-safety-and-health-commission-upholds-ruling-on-workplace-violence Mon, 11 Mar 2019 13:00:48 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/occupational-safety-and-health-commission-upholds-ruling-on-workplace-violence The Occupational Safety and Health Commission last week upheld a ruling and citation against Integra Health Management, finding that the home health care service committed a serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The case involved a 25-year old service coordinator who was assigned to a patient with schizophrenia and a history of violent criminal behavior. She told the company she was uncomfortable going to his home alone. On the third visit, the patient stabbed her to death on his front lawn.

The Commission found that workplace violence is a hazard under the OSH Act, that the company was aware of the hazard, and in failing to address the hazard, it had violated the act.

Though the case did not involve any USW members, the union filed an amicus brief in support of the case. An amicus brief is a legal document that provides information that may be helpful in making a decision. In this case, the USW was able to attest to the threat of violence health care workers face on the job.

To read more about the decision, click here.

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Local 9899 Donates to Saginaw Veterans Hospital https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-9899-donates-to-saginaw-veterans-hospital Mon, 11 Mar 2019 12:58:44 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-9899-donates-to-saginaw-veterans-hospital Representatives from Local 9899 in Saginaw, Mich., took up a collection this winter in support of the area veterans hospital. Last week, they were able to donate nearly 100 pairs of socks. 

Local President Jackie Anklam said the local plans to continue supporting the hospital and the effort to provide veterans – and especially homeless veterans – with personal items they may need, including deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste as well as gloves, hats and socks. 

 

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The Oilworker: March 2019 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/the-oilworker-march-2019 Fri, 08 Mar 2019 11:10:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/the-oilworker-march-2019 FROM THE UNION

March Update from the NOBP Chair

As we move closer to ratification of our on-date National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) contracts, I want to thank the policy committee members – Steve Bohney, DeVon Crawford, Robert Cammarn, Ryan Anderson and Clay Bonin – for their hard work and support during the bargaining sessions with Shell.

The members had not served on the policy committee before, so this was their first time being involved with the national bargaining process. They brought a lot of insight concerning the needs of the membership by conducting regular conference calls with their regions and getting that information back to Vice President Tom Conway and myself, as well as Mike Smith who assisted us at the table.

Click here to continue reading the message from NOBP Chair Kim Nibarger.

Three-Year Pattern Agreement Advances National Oil Bargaining Achievements

Oil workers joined in solidarity to achieve a pattern agreement that adds to the list of accomplishments the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) gained over its 54-year history.

The pattern for the next three years advances wages, health and safety, fatigue management and training. It strengthens the use of USW workers for routine, daily maintenance, maintains health care provisions, and continues no retrogression on contract items the union has gained over the years.

Click here to continue reading.


IN THE NEWS

Click to read more from From Hydrocarbon Processing
U.S. EPA ‘very likely’ to finish E15 gasoline rule by summer

Expect to see more ethanol in your gasoline this summer. Last October President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow year-round sales of E15. The EPA told U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue it would “very likely” finish its rule in time for the summer driving season. This same rule will include measures to curb speculation of Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs.

Click to read more from From Hydrocarbon Processing
Mexican judge rules against higher ethanol mix in gasoline

A judge in Mexico, concerned that increasing ethanol levels in gasoline could worsen air quality and negatively affect people’s health, ruled against a 2017 measure that increased the cap on ethanol in gasoline from 5.8 percent to 10 percent.

Click to read more from RigZone
Alberta Eyes $1.7 Billion Profit From Crude-by-Rail Project

The Canadian province of Alberta is taking advantage of a pipeline crunch to help its oil-sands producers get their product to the Gulf Coast via a giant crude-by-rail operation. The province will lease 4,400 rail cars over three years from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and Canadian National Railway Co.

The goals are to add 120,000 barrels a day of crude-by-rail capacity over three years and to shrink the Canadian crude discount by $4 a barrel over two years.

Click to read more from Gippsland Times
Esso protest ticks over 600 days

Solidarity from USW members in Texas is helping bolster former Longford Gas Plants workers in Australia as their “EssoUGLY” dispute numbers over 600 days. It is the second longest running dispute in Australia’s history.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is lobbying Parliament to change labor law so a similar dispute does not happen in the future.


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Has your local organized a group of workers, won an award, participated in a community event, won an arbitration, helped achieve a legislative victory, settled a safety issue, etc.?

Please contact Lynne Hancock at lhancock@usw.org, (Office) 412-562-2442 or (cell) 615-828-6169.

Get bargaining updates via text! Text OIL to the phone number 47486.  

By opting-in, you agree to receive recurring messages from the USW; message and data rates may apply. To opt out, text STOP. For help, text HELP. Full terms and conditions at usw.org/text. No purchase necessary.

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Three-Year Pattern Agreement Advances National Oil Bargaining Achievements https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/three-year-pattern-agreement-advances-national-oil-bargaining-achievements Thu, 07 Mar 2019 13:22:02 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/three-year-pattern-agreement-advances-national-oil-bargaining-achievements Oil workers joined in solidarity to achieve a pattern agreement that adds to the list of accomplishments the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) gained over its 54-year history.

The pattern for the next three years advances wages, health and safety, fatigue management and training. It strengthens the use of USW workers for routine, daily maintenance, maintains health care provisions, and continues no retrogression on contract items the union has gained over the years.

The pattern agreement began Feb. 1, 2019 and continues through Jan. 31, 2022. Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, hourly wages increased by 3.5 percent. Wages increase 3.5 percent the second year and 4 percent the third year. This is a total of an 11 percent raise over three years.   The health insurance split remains 80-20 with workers paying 20 percent of the premiums.

No retrogression language is maintained for letters of agreement on layoff notice, plant closure, rate retention, national health insurance, health and safety, successorship and job security.

Process Safety Addressed System-wide

Process safety management (PSM) affects all refinery and chemical plant sites, no matter their size. This round of bargaining established a full-time healthy and safety (H&S) representative for refineries and chemical plants with less than 150 bargaining unit employees. This role combines the duties associated with process safety management and general health and safety.

If a site becomes part of the USW’s Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program, the PSM and H&S duties may be combined by mutual consent into the new TOP representative role.

The smaller refineries and chemical companies have 60 days from the date the contract is ratified to work with the local union to create and finalize the responsibilities and duties of the new combined role. The local submits candidates and both parties choose who will be the representative.

For the larger refineries and chemical plants that already have a PSM representative, a review of the unit size, number of employees and existing ability to handle PSM activities is mandatory. This review by the local union and management ensures each facility has the resources necessary to optimize employee involvement in PSM and add another PSM representative if it is determined the need exists.

Fatigue Management Improved

Being fatigued is like being drunk. It impairs a person’s judgment and causes them to make fatal errors. It can lead to horrific incidents that impact you, your coworkers and the surrounding community. That is why it is important for every unit at every facility to have a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) and to create it with employee involvement. Plenty of help is available from the International.

While some locations have systems in place to address fatigue, others have not done so. These sites shall implement a FRMS that aims to meet the principles and intent of the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommend Practice 755 and includes provisions from the 2012 and 2015 NOBP letters of agreement. The union and the company have 90 days from contract ratification to develop such a program, and one year to implement it.

Participating in Training, Curriculum Development

To have a safe, efficient and productive facility, workers have to be up-to-date on technological advances, possess critical facility knowledge and have extensive experience. This requires training and development of appropriate curriculum.

Locally, management and the union shall select one operations and one maintenance representative who is knowledgeable about training in the oil and petrochemical industries. Either party can request a meeting. The representatives set a time and place to meet no later than 60 days from the original request, and have to meet at least quarterly to discuss training and curriculum development.

Doing Routine Maintenance

The letter of agreement on routine maintenance craft utilization solidifies our work to ensure USW workers handle routine maintenance. We understand our facilities better than any temporary contract worker. When equipment, technology and processes are introduced and modified at our refineries and chemical plants, skilled company employees doing routine maintenance work are essential to keeping our facilities safe, productive and efficient.

The union and management at each site will meet at least semi-annually to review items such as hiring plans for daily maintenance workers, use of contractors performing routine maintenance and identification of routine maintenance work that the company’s craft employees can do. Their first meeting must occur within 90 days of contract ratification.

Members wanting details about the 2019 NOBP pattern agreement can contact their local union officers.

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March Update from the NOBP Chair https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/march-update-from-the-nobp-chair Wed, 06 Mar 2019 14:41:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/march-update-from-the-nobp-chair As we move closer to ratification of our on-date National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) contracts, I want to thank the policy committee members – Steve Bohney, DeVon Crawford, Robert Cammarn, Ryan Anderson and Clay Bonin – for their hard work and support during the bargaining sessions with Shell. 

The members had not served on the policy committee before, so this was their first time being involved with the national bargaining process. They brought a lot of insight concerning the needs of the membership by conducting regular conference calls with their regions and getting that information back to Vice President Tom Conway and myself, as well as Mike Smith who assisted us at the table.  

Another thank-you goes to the committee alternates who, like the committee members, were all new to the process this round. They assisted with information-gathering, policy-setting and managing calls at times when the committee members could not be present. The alternates are Eric Sweeny, Kevin Herbein, Robin Tokach, Casey Wardell and Bryan Gross.

While every employer has so far put the NOBP pattern on the table, we have a number of local tables with outstanding issues.  Currently, there are five locations whose membership has voted down the proposal that has been put on the table. A couple of those sites have rejected a proposal more than once.  The issues range from changes in drug and alcohol testing programs to job consolidations and job elimination. 

Please be mindful that there are locations still struggling with local issues, and be aware that you may be asked to support them in the future through your policy member or council coordinator.  Talks are continuing at all locations that haven’t settled yet, and the off-date sites are coming up in the next few months, so we will be watching their progress closely as well.

Thanks to the staff, some of them working multiple NOBP tables during these last months, as well as the local leadership, who have taken the time and energy to get agreements on local issues that are helpful to their groups.  Without you all this process wouldn’t work.

In Solidarity,

Kim Nibarger
NOBP Chair
knibarger@usw.org
(Office) 412-562-2403

 

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Take Action to Protect Our Pensions! https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/take-action-to-protect-our-pensions Mon, 04 Mar 2019 13:51:16 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/take-action-to-protect-our-pensions Over a million Americans who worked their whole lives and deferred wages for retirement security are now at risk of losing their pensions. Thanks to a perfect storm of the Great Recession, changing industries, unbalanced trade policies, and other factors outside of our control, some distressed multiemployer pension plans are at risk of going bankrupt unless Congress takes action.

If nothing is done – or the wrong thing is done – the effects on retirees will be devastating. Please write your U.S. Representative and urge them to do all they can to support H.R. 397, legislation we're counting on to protect pensions. The bill would extend long-term loans to financially troubled plans. This legislation would help avoid pension cuts and provide certainty to pensioners. 
 
  

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Do you or someone you care about have a story about violence in a health care setting? Let us know. https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/do-you-or-someone-you-care-about-have-a-story-about-violence-in-a-health-care-setting-let-us-know Mon, 04 Mar 2019 13:26:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/do-you-or-someone-you-care-about-have-a-story-about-violence-in-a-health-care-setting-let-us-know Kicked. Punched. Verbally Abused. Choked. Shoved.

These things should never be “all in a day’s work.”

For tens of thousands of USW members working in hospitals, nursing homes, emergency response, and similar workplaces, this is too often the reality. The rates of violence in health care workplaces is 12 times the rate of other sectors, and it is rising sharply. Health care workers suffer more workplace injuries than any other profession, with about 654,000 people harmed per year on the job.

This violence poses a wide threat to nurses, physicians, healthcare staff, patients, and visitors. It also drives up costs and undermines both the quality of care and patient outcomes. Ultimately, it impacts us all.

Here’s the good news: There are proven strategies to reduce violence, like appropriate staffing, trained security staff, and other protocols. This week, the U.S. House held a hearing on The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309), a bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) that would instruct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue much-needed standards.

There’s a saying that OSHA rules are written in blood. For too long, health care workers have paid the price of inaction. Please watch for ways you can get involved in the coming weeks.

Do you or someone you care about have a story about violence in a health care setting? Click here and let us know.


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Unity in Copper: Asarco's Initial Economic Proposal is Insulting https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/unity-in-copper-asarcos-initial-economic-proposal-is-insulting Thu, 28 Feb 2019 19:16:34 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/unity-in-copper-asarcos-initial-economic-proposal-is-insulting Click here to download a PDF of this update.

Unity in Copper Update:

We were scheduled to meet with the company on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. The company cancelled our meeting on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday afternoon the company gave us their first economic proposal. This initial proposal had no wage increases and significant changes to the healthcare and benefits plans. Instead of including a proposal on the Copper Price Bonus they left it simply as “TBD”.  They also proposed that the union withdraw all of its proposals with the exception of TAs that have already been agreed to and that the union accept all open proposals from the company. We made it clear to the company that this initial proposal is insulting and far from what our members deserve. 

We know that without appropriate wage increases and protections it will be difficult for the company to retain a skilled and talented workforce that can operate efficiently and safely. 

The union has requested key information from the company. Getting this information is an important part of the negotiation process. 

We will keep you posted on future meeting dates. In the meantime, keep working and stay safe.  

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Stat Facts: House Democrats Reintroduce Legislation to Protect Health Care Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/stat-facts-house-democrats-reintroduce-legislation-to-protect-health-care-workers Mon, 25 Feb 2019 12:28:36 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/stat-facts-house-democrats-reintroduce-legislation-to-protect-health-care-workers Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives last week introduced legislation directed at curbing rates of workplace violence against health care and social service workers. 

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a standard requiring employers in these industries to protect workers from violence in the workplace, including creating and instituting workplace violence prevention plans.

The bill, spearheaded by Rep. Joe Courtney, mirrors one with the same name that was introduced late last year. 

“We applaud the introduction of this bill requiring OSHA to finally address the epidemic of workplace violence against health care and social service workers,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. 

“For too long, our members working across health care settings and job classifications have lived with the knowledge that they could fall victim to violence just by doing their jobs. Workplace violence is preventable, and our union supports this bill.”

Health care workers suffer one of the highest rates of workplace violence of any occupation, with a marked increase in serious injuries as a result of this violence last year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

To read more about the bill, click here.

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New Legislation in Kentucky Would Slash Unemployment Insurance; Take Action Now to Stop It! https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/new-legislation-in-kentucky-would Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:20:50 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/new-legislation-in-kentucky-would A devastating legislative bill has been filed to dramatically lower unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky.
 
The Republican majorities in Frankfort filed simultaneous bills, HB-317 and SB-171, backed by Governor Bevin, that would cause union members who work under a union referral procedure to suffer a 32% cut in unemployment benefits. Every other Kentuckian would suffer up to a 40% cut in unemployment benefits. 
 
The attacks on Kentucky’s working families continue as these bills would lower the unemployment weekly benefit by 11.5% and cut off benefits at 20 weeks instead of 26 weeks.
 
You can read more about how these bills would leave Kentuckians stranded in this report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy here: https://kypolicy.org/new-bills-would-slash-unemployment-insurance-and-leave-kentuckians-stranded/.
 

TAKE ACTION NOW

Share this information with fellow union members and urge them to call 1-844-641-3862 to tell their Legislator to VOTE NO on HB-317 and SB-171.
 
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USW's Garza among delegation to offer solidarity to striking Mexican workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usws-garza-among-delegation Wed, 13 Feb 2019 12:56:01 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usws-garza-among-delegation

This article is courtesy of the AFL-CIO.

A delegation of union leaders from the national AFL-CIO, the Texas AFL-CIO, the UAW and the United Steelworkers (USW) traveled to Matamoros, Mexico, last week to support tens of thousands of factory workers who have launched a wave of strikes to demand wage increases and democratic control of their unions.

Since Jan. 25, at least 48 factories that produce auto parts and other goods for export to the United States have signed agreements to increase wages by 20% and pay a bonus of 32,000 pesos (about $1,750). This is a huge victory for the workers, most of whom make around $2 per hour. In the past week, the strike wave has spread beyond the factories to supermarkets and other employers, with all the workers demanding "20/32." The leaders of the Matamoros unions, which historically have been close to the employers, were forced to endorse the workers’ demands.

The delegation visited the picket line at Advanced Scientifics, a subsidiary of Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientifics, which produces medical supplies. Some 70 workers have been camped outside the plant 24 hours a day in near-freezing temperatures.

"It’s heartbreaking to see workers who make life-saving equipment treated with so little respect," said USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza. "This is what happens when we sign trade agreements like [the North American Free Trade Ageement] that have no real protections for workers’ rights."

While the wage increase and bonus are a huge victory, the employers and the Confederation of Mexican Workers unions are striking back already. In the past week, as many as 2,000 strike leaders have been fired and blacklisted, despite legal prohibitions and non-reprisal agreements signed by the employers. The U.S. delegation met with fired leaders from several factories who are planning a public protest to demand reinstatement. Here are their testimonies:

  • "We were told we were fired because we offended the company."
  • "The union never helped us, they deceived us. So we had to put our own courage on the line to confront them."
  • "We need to be firm. I have a family, too. My greatest wish is that justice is served. I don’t want just a salary, I want justice!"

"These workers—many of whom are working mothers—are fighting for the pay they’re owed, for better working conditions and for respect on the job," said Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay. "They are using their voices, and it is time to listen. The Mexican and U.S. governments must both demand that these U.S. companies honor their agreements and stop firing and blacklisting these courageous workers."

 

Matamoros Strikes

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DeWALT recalls drills due to shock hazard https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/dewalt-recalls-drills-due-to-shock-hazard Tue, 12 Feb 2019 12:37:46 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/dewalt-recalls-drills-due-to-shock-hazard From the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Name of product:
DEWALT DWD110 and DWD112 drills

Hazard:
The drill’s wiring can contact internal moving parts, posing a shock hazard.

Remedy:
Repair

Recall date:
February 5, 2019

Units:
About 122,000 (in addition, about 8,000 were sold in Canada)

 DeWALT recalls drills due to shock hazard 1 DeWALT recalls drills due to shock hazard 2

Photo left: Recalled drill, the DWD110 and DWD112 drills are similar in appearance. Consumers should check the label to determine their specific drill.

Photo right: Recalled DWD112 Drill showing location of model number and date code. The date code pictured is not within the recall range.

Photos courtesy of www.cpsc.gov.

For more information regarding the recall, click here.

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Accreditation Organization Issues Advisory on De-escalating Patient Aggression https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/accreditation-organization-issues-advisory-on-de-escalating-patient-aggression Mon, 11 Feb 2019 11:23:37 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/accreditation-organization-issues-advisory-on-de-escalating-patient-aggression Citing the increasing violence against health care workers, the Joint Commission, a health care accreditation organization, last month issued a “Quick Safety” advisory, offering suggestions to help de-escalate aggression in patients and keep workers safe.

Though the Joint Commission acknowledges that there is no single model that has proven to be completely effective, it offers tactics that can help increase communication and maintain the safety of staff and patients.
 
Interventions for defusing aggression include engaging in risk assessments for early intervention, implementing environmental controls such as minimizing loud conversations, calmly responding to patients’ requests to foster a sense of trust, as well as setting clear limits with patients. 
 
There also needs to be a commitment from senior management, according to the Joint Commission, which should include giving staff adequate training and resources.
 
To read the “Quick Safety” advisory, click here.
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