United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2021-06-12 11:46:48 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 Roy Houseman discusses infrastructure, job creation on the Leslie Marshall Show https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/roy-houseman-discusses-infrastructure-job-creation-on-the-leslie-marshall-show Wed, 16 Jun 2021 16:14:38 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/roy-houseman-discusses-infrastructure-job-creation-on-the-leslie-marshall-show USW Legislative Director Roy Houseman appeared on the Leslie Marshall Show this week to discuss President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and the opportunity to secure and create good, union jobs as the nation makes long-overdue investments in its infrastructure.  

“One of the neat things about the American Jobs Plan is that it’s a recognition that the U.S. has not been spending enough on its infrastructure over the long term,” Houseman said.

Houseman said the plan would set out funds to tackle long-deferred maintenance projects, which in turn would create jobs for workers like USW members who manufacture the quality materials needed for those projects.

“We’re really excited about his proposals, about creating these jobs, and focusing on union jobs.”

Marshall and Houseman discussed not just the physical infrastructure like roads, bridges and waterways that need attention, but also the need to bolster social infrastructure like schools, communications networks and public health systems.

Houseman said Democrats and Republicans need to work together to pass an infrastructure bill that is comprehensive enough to make substantial change in the lives of constituents, both physically and socially.

“The idea here is our infrastructure is too important to go small. And I think that’s one of the big reasons why we want to move forward.”

Click below to listen to the full interview with Roy Houseman and Leslie Marshall about investing in America’s infrastructure:

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The Oilworker: June 2021 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/the-oilworker-june-2021 Wed, 16 Jun 2021 09:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/the-oilworker-june-2021 Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you to all of you who have lent your support to our brothers and sisters in Beaumont, Texas in the weeks since ExxonMobil locked them out of their jobs. These hard-working members of Local 13-243 have been standing strong as they keep up the fight for a fair contract that protects their safety, security and seniority.

I especially want to commend those of you who joined Local 13-243 members when they took the fight to ExxonMobil’s front door.

The rally at the company’s headquarters during the May 26 shareholder meeting was a huge success. In addition to drawing much-needed attention to the situation in Beaumont, USW members called for and won greater accountability on corporate lobbying as ExxonMobil shareholders approved a resolution introduced by the USW and seven other organizations.

As we continue to support the locked out workers, I urge you all to pledge your solidarity with Local 13-243 members. You can also contact Hoot Landry rlandry@usw.org or Bryan Gross bgross@usw.org for other ways to help.

Fighting for a level playing field on RINs

Our union continues the fight for a more level playing field under the Renewable Fuel Standard and the “renewable identification number” (RIN) system, just as it did under the Trump and Obama administrations.

The Renewable Fuel Standard was established more than a decade ago to cut down on foreign crude by encouraging the use of domestic, environmentally-friendlier renewable biofuels in our gasoline and diesel fuel. Flaws in the original law have long been a problem, however, and now costs for some of our employers are so high USW jobs are at risk.

With the help of our D.C. staff, we’re continuing our work: lobbying members of Congress, meeting with the administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, working directly with our employers, submitting public comments of regulatory proposals and engaging our allies in the environmental movement.

More Shell sales

In the past month, Shell announced that it would sell two more of its U.S. refineries. On May 24, the company agreed to sell its controlling interest in its Deer Park, Texas refinery to Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

On May 27, Shell then announced it would sell its Mobile, Ala., refinery to Houston-based Vertex Energy. We will keep you posted as we learn more about these developments.

Finally, I want to once again remind you that the 2021 National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) conference will take place virtually Aug. 9-13. The policy committee has been reaching out to locals, and I am confident this year’s meeting will be a success.

We’re facing some tough fights right now, but together, we will meet them head-on. Thanks for all your hard work and solidarity, and please stay safe.

In solidarity,

Mike Smith
NOBP Chair
mjsmith@usw.org

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OSHA’s new emergency standard a big step, fight for worker safety continues https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/oshas-new-emergency-standard-a-big-step-fight-for-worker-safety-continues Mon, 14 Jun 2021 16:12:45 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/oshas-new-emergency-standard-a-big-step-fight-for-worker-safety-continues Last Thursday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for health care workers to protect them against the spread of COVID-19.

The union is glad that, after more than a year of advocacy and organizing, these workers will finally have enforceable protections. Far too many health care workers have died since the start of this pandemic, and though the scope of this rule is narrow and does not include all workers, it is a significant step forward.

There is still much work to be done in the fight for worker safety. This pandemic isn’t over, and we must do everything we can as a movement and as a nation to protect all of those who have made great sacrifices and kept America running through one of our darkest times.

To learn all about the ETS, click here.

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Members Produce COVID-19 Vaccines https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/members-produce-covid-19-vaccines Fri, 11 Jun 2021 11:04:27 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/members-produce-covid-19-vaccines

Members of Local 10-00086 this spring joined the growing numbers of Steelworkers confronting the coronavirus pandemic head-on in their workplaces, this time by stepping up to help produce COVID-19 vaccines.

In March, the workers at pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. in West Point, Pa., north of Philadelphia, began assisting in the production of rival Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine. By late May, the workers will be mixing the key drug component with other ingredients and filling vials with the vaccine.

“Our membership is very proud to be a part of the fight to put an end to this pandemic and save the country, and the world,” said Local 10-00086 President Mike Gauger.

‘Adjusting on the Fly’

A line in the facility was already set aside for a potential Merck vaccine, and changes will be made to that line to produce the Johnson & Johnson product.

“We’re really good at adjusting on the fly and meeting a challenge like this,” Gauger said.

Local 10-00086 is far from the only USW unit whose members are contributing to the work involved in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. Not far from their facility, the members of Local 286 played a role in packaging and distributing vaccine doses.

In addition, members of Local 701-01 in New Jersey make glass tubes that are used to produce vaccine vials, and members of 2-432 in Wisconsin made special sleeves and inserts to protect vaccines during shipment.

Thanks to their work and that of thousands of others, as USW@Work went to press, Americans were receiving COVID-19 vaccines at a pace of more than 3 million doses per day, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated people in the country to nearly 200 million by the end of April, well ahead of President Joe Biden’s initial goal of vaccinating 100 million people in his first 100 days, which ended on April 30.

Preventing Virus Spread

Before they could begin their work to help vaccinate the American public, USW members first had to work with their employers to ensure that the virus did not spread through their workplaces.

Thanks to the cooperative, proactive measures members across the continent took to keep themselves and their co-workers safe, employers had thousands of healthy workers ready to contribute to vaccine production and delivery, as well as to manufacture other essential products that Americans needed to persevere through the pandemic.

“Combatting this virus requires a sustained commitment,” said International President Tom Conway. “We’ve learned much during this pandemic, and one of the essential lessons is that America is nothing without its workers.”


‘We Can Get it Done’

The West Point facility, where members are producing Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, employs a total of about 7,300 people, with roughly 4,000 in manufacturing, making it the largest employer in Montgomery County, northwest of Philadelphia. It is also a major research site for Merck and serves as headquarters for its global vaccines business.

“We have a very experienced and devoted work force, and I truly believe when Merck is challenged, they know they can come here to West Point and we can get it done,” Gauger said.

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Solvay Local Resolves Parental Leave Discrepancy https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/solvay-local-resolves-parental-leave-discrepancy Fri, 11 Jun 2021 09:38:09 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/solvay-local-resolves-parental-leave-discrepancy Local 14200’s persistence in resolving a discrepancy between corporate policy and site implementation is helping pave the way for other Solvay locals that may encounter similar problems.

Last February, a shift worker at the company’s Marietta, Ohio, plant approached the local about parental leave pay, saying that the company underpaid him.

Investigation of this issue revealed that the local human resources (HR) manager and the North American corporate office were unaware of the Jan. 1 changes in the company’s Solvay Cares benefit plan.

“This was good work by Local 14200 to get this issue corrected,” said USW Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn, who heads the union’s chemical sector. “Now that Solvay’s North American management understands the corporate policy, it should be easier to resolve any more pay issues regarding parental leave if they crop up at other sites.”

Local investigates contradiction

At issue was whether or not a 12-hour shift worker who averages more than 40 hours a week of pay will receive that same compensation during parental leave.

Local 14200 flagged the pay issue at the February-March 2021 labor-management meetings. The site HR director checked with Solvay’s North American corporate office and was told that all employees only receive 40 hours of pay.

That answer did not correspond with what the Solvay Cares administrator told former Local 14200 president and unit chair Dan Bieniek, or what is stated in Solvay’s corporate policy.

“The parental leave policy says that employees will not lose any base pay during maternity/parental/adoption leave, and that it would be treated like vacation pay,” Bieniek said. “Our 12-hour shift workers receive full base pay on holidays and vacation days at the Marietta site per our collective bargaining agreement.”

Seeing the contradiction, Bieniek requested help from Shinn, who contacted the company’s head of its North American HR operations and labor relations who ultimately confirmed that employees should get parental leave in the same fashion as vacation time for leave starting after Jan. 1.

While the Marietta worker who raised this issue will not receive additional pay because he started his leave before the policy was implemented, new parents moving forward will benefit from the clarity the local gained.

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New USTR Pushes ‘Worker-Centered’ Trade Policy https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/new-ustr-pushes-worker-centered-trade-policy Thu, 10 Jun 2021 11:53:18 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/new-ustr-pushes-worker-centered-trade-policy American workers must be at the center of U.S. trade policy-making so that those decisions ensure that they share in the nation’s economic prosperity, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told union members at a June 10 AFL-CIO virtual town hall meeting.

“We want to make trade a force for good that encourages a race to the top,” Ambassador Tai said as she laid out what she called a worker-centered vision for the Biden administration’s trade policy.

“The first step to achieving this goal is creating a more inclusive process,” Tai said. “In order to understand how trade affects workers, we want to come meet with, listen to, and learn from them.”

That approach has already achieved results, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said as he introduced Tai. Prior to her appointment as USTR, Tai served as chief trade counsel for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, playing a key role in fighting for strong worker protections in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA).

“She was on our side in the trenches every single moment of that fight,” Trumka said.

While the USMCA is not perfect, Tai said, it is a far better deal than its failed predecessor, NAFTA, because it included significant input from working people. That process can serve as a template for the Biden administration to follow as it pursues future trade policies that put people first, she said.

“By bringing workers from all backgrounds and experiences to the table, we will create inclusive trade policy that advances economic security and racial and gender equity,” Tai said. “We want to lift up women, communities of color, and rural America – people that have been systematically excluded or overlooked.”

The focus on lifting up workers rather than on maximizing profits will ensure that the United States doesn’t continue its failed policies of the past, Trumka said.

Those policies resulted in cheap foreign products dumped in the United States, illegal subsidies that unfairly undercut U.S. producers, currency manipulation, offshoring of jobs and other practices that harmed U.S. manufacturing workers and destroyed communities, he said.

“There are consequences of failed trade policies, and we can’t repeat the mistakes of our past,” Trumka said. “Today marks the start of a new era. Ambassador Tai values workers’ voices and truly believes in workers’ rights.”

Following Tai’s opening remarks, she took questions from several rank-and-file union members, the first of which came from Kameen Thompson, president of USW Local 9462 at the Cleveland-Cliffs steel mill in Conshohocken, Pa.

Thompson questioned Tai on how the administration would make sure American workers – and Steelworkers in particular – benefit from the promise of the expanding renewable energy industry.

Tai said the Biden administration would continue to work with labor leaders and global allies to address overcapacity in the steel industry and craft policies at home that promote strict Buy American provisions.

“The steel industry is critical to our economy and our national security. It’s also a crucial component in solar and in wind,” she said. “We will be better able to respond to overcapacity if we consult closely with the United Steelworkers and partner with our allies.”

In addition, Tai said, the administration must continue to pursue other policies to lift up struggling Americans, such as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, tax reform that eases the burden on working people, and a platform to advance racial and gender equity.

The people-first vision that Tai laid out on behalf of the Biden administration is one that “workers have yearned for years to hear,” Trumka said.

Tai, who took office as the U.S. Trade Representative in March following unanimous confirmation in the U.S. Senate, said that she looks forward to continuing her outreach to workers as she works to reform U.S. trade policy.

“It is still the early days, and we have far more to do,” she said. “By working together, we will achieve a trade policy that prioritizes the dignity of work and workers, that promotes shared prosperity and racially inclusive, equitable economic growth here at home and abroad.”

Click here to watch the full virtual town hall.

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EPA Solicits Comments on Risk Management Plan Rule https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/epa-solicits-comments-on-risk-management-plan-rule Wed, 09 Jun 2021 15:03:24 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/epa-solicits-comments-on-risk-management-plan-rule The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding two virtual public listening sessions this summer as it evaluates changes the Trump administration made to the Risk Management Plan rule.

The USW plans to voice its suggestions to improve the rule so that it better protects workers, communities and the environment. This includes adding greater transparency, commonsense requirements for companies to prevent future catastrophic events, worker involvement in preventing incidents and use of inherently safer materials.

The original rule grew out of section 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments and requires certain industrial facilities to prevent air releases of hazardous chemicals that could cause deaths, injuries, property and environmental damage or evacuations in surrounding communities.

These facilities must develop a Risk Management Plan that identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident, outlines what the facility is doing to prevent an incident, and details the emergency response procedures should an incident happen.

These plans give needed information for first responders to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community, and are available to the public.

After a series of catastrophic chemical plant incidents, President Obama issued an executive order to strengthen the rule. EPA finalized these changes 2017, but the Trump administration refused to implement the strengthened rule, so the USW and its allies sued the agency in 2018.

On December 19, 2019, the Trump administration finalized its own RMP Reconsideration Rule, which  threw out many of the major incident prevention program initiatives in the 2017 RMP amendments, such as third-party audits, use of safer technology and chemicals, and incident investigation using root cause analysis.

President Biden signed an executive order  on Jan. 20, 2021, mandating a review of the RMP rule.

Make your voice heard

USW locals and members can give their views on the revisions made to the RMP rule since 2017 at two virtual public listening sessions scheduled for June 16, 2021, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time and July 8, 2021, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time.

Sign up for a 3-minute speaking slot on EPA’s website.

Written comments can be submitted via the docket at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0312 until July 15, 2021.

OSHA will also participate in the listening sessions and receive comments on its Process Safety Management standard, which has similar requirements to the Risk Management Program rule.

More information available

  • To get more information on the virtual public listening sessions, go HERE.
  • To learn about the EPA’s Risk Management Plan rule as it is currently written, go HERE.
  • To read OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard, go HERE.
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Young Steelworker Uses Union-Negotiated Benefit to Earn Bachelor's and Master's Degrees https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/young-steelworker-uses-union-negotiated-benefit-to-earn-bachelors-and-masters-degrees Wed, 09 Jun 2021 13:29:07 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/young-steelworker-uses-union-negotiated-benefit-to-earn-bachelors-and-masters-degrees USW Local 6115 member and District 11 Next Generation Coordinator Emily Bombich recently completed her bachelor's degree and master's degree using Tuition Assistance through her union-negotiated Institute for Career Development (ICD) benefit.

Bombich's great-grandfather and grandfather were miners. Her dad, Dave, has 43 years at Minorca Ore and is currently Local 6115 Vice President. She knows the value of a union.

When she was offered a job in the mines, even though she was in school and halfway to her bachelor’s, the job offer was too good to pass up, so she came home and started online classes at the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

Using her union-negotiated ICD benefit, she graduated with her bachelor’s in quality management in 2016. From there, she enrolled in the master’s program at Bemidji State University in 2018. She was awarded her master’s degree in business administration on July 31, 2020.

Watch the video to learn more about her story and the ICD benefit that helped her along her journey.


MORE ON ICD

The ICD is a contractually negotiated benefit for eligible members of the United Steelworkers and the companies that employ them.

ICD is a joint labor-management training program in which members participate in self-directed learning opportunities on their own time. Members can choose from a wide range of course offerings to learn new skills or simply brush up on old ones.

Currently, ICD has 65 locations in the steel, tire & rubber, glass, container and utility sectors and 16 participating companies.

Click here to learn more.

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Review USW’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/review-usws-covid-19-vaccine-recommendations Mon, 07 Jun 2021 13:07:40 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/review-usws-covid-19-vaccine-recommendations Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said, once again, that companies could mandate COVID-19 vaccines as a requirement for coming into the office.

The USW wants to remind all of its members that we believe vaccinations should occur in a just, fair and equitable manner that ensures that communities that experience the most risk of severe disease and death are prioritized for access to vaccinations.

The USW also supports CDC recommendations that health care workers receive the COVID-19 vaccination to protect themselves and vulnerable members of the community and that, as it becomes available, it should be free of charge for everyone with no out-of-pocket costs.

However, the USW does not support mandatory immunization as either a condition of employment or as a state or federal mandate. As with other vaccines, our union believes that COVID-19 vaccination should be voluntary, and the union intends to continue fighting for vaccination policies that include informed consent and education regarding vaccination benefits and risks.

“Vaccines are highly effective, but we still believe firmly in bargaining over this issue,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond. “Workers must be at the center of this conversation.

Members who experience an employer attempting to mandate should reach out to their staff representatives and the USW legal department.

To read our full policy on vaccinations, click here.

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June Update from SOAR Director Julie Stein https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/june-update-from-soar-director-julie-stein Thu, 03 Jun 2021 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/june-update-from-soar-director-julie-stein A Defining Moment

In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act (SSA), which significantly reduced poverty among disabled Americans and nearly eradicated it among senior citizens for generations to come.  Nearly 90 years later, the SSA is arguably the most popular legislative accomplishment in American history.

At the time, the SSA was a trailblazing effort because it completely changed the realities of work in America.  Americans could actually retire, and those who were unable to work because of a workplace injury or disability became eligible for unemployment and health insurance. 

Today, America again faces a unique generational crisis where the population of seniors will double by 2050, while the number of people older than 85 will almost triple. 

Retired Americans are at a particular risk because, unlike most industrialized nations, the United States does not provide a publicly-funded long-term-care benefit for older adults. 

The changing nature of our society, whereby most families cannot survive on just one income, has made it largely unsustainable for working-age Americans to take care of their elders as they have in previous generations. 

Additionally, the median salary for home-care workers is approximately $17,200 per year, making it extremely difficult for the profession to attract a well-trained and sustainable workforce. 

Many experts fear that failing to address this collision of factors “threatens to strain an already limited workforce of caregivers; complicate the retirements of millions of people; and force many children, particularly daughters, out of the labor market to care for their parents.”  (washingtonpost.com, 4/2/21)

President Biden has proposed that the American Jobs Plan should include a $400 billion investment in home- or community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. 

This would nearly double what is spent annually on home care for vulnerable populations, which would help expand access to more Americans, raise the wages of caregivers, and potentially drive down costs as a result of increased competition. 

Our union strongly supports the President’s proposed investments in home- and community-based care, and other efforts to adequately meet the care needs of retirees and Americans with disabilities.  

The goal of ensuring retirement security has broad support across our union.  In fact, a survey that was circulated in 2019/2020 found that retirement security ranked among the top three most important concerns of USW members and retirees, with 86 percent of respondents saying it was “very important.”  Healthcare came in 1st with 87 percent, and workers’ rights was 3rd with 81 percent. 

When our nation faced the generational crisis of the 1920’s and 30’s, we didn’t choose to abandon our fellow Americans who were most vulnerable.  Rather, we created Social Security. 

We face a similar crossroads today, and we must not be afraid to act boldly.

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June Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/june-update-from-soar-president-bill-pienta Thu, 03 Jun 2021 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/june-update-from-soar-president-bill-pienta Changes in Leadership Provide Opportunities to Build Lines of Communication and to Grow SOAR

Recent USW local union election results show a number of new officers have been elected to lead their locals. Also, due to incumbents deciding to retire, there will be at least two new District Directors and a National Director of Canada after the International Officer elections are held this fall.  These changes provide obstacles as well as opportunities for SOAR.

After being in isolation due to COVID-19, we in SOAR are just beginning to hold in-person meetings and reorganize our chapters.  The time is now to reach out to your local union leadership to develop or reacquaint a working relationship with them.  We must take this opportunity to explain the three-fold purpose of SOAR.  We must also explain how the locals can help build our membership by making sure they are aware of the USW resolution passed to pay the first-year membership in SOAR for all retirees.  As union members get closer to retirement (age 45 or older), we can encourage them, including spouses, to join our SOAR chapters, as well.

To further strengthen the relationship between the chapters and their locals, SOAR leaders and members can attend their local union meetings, when possible, and make sure the membership knows that we stand ready to help them when needed: Whether through Rapid Response, volunteering with the Community Service Committee or assuring the local union that we are anxious to help them if they need turnout for rallies and manning of the picket lines during negotiations.  There are many ways for chapter members to be involved and stay connected to the union.

Further, to establish a good line of communication between the SOAR chapters and their locals, the local unions are encouraged to select a representative to serve in an advisory capacity to the SOAR chapter. And, SOAR chapters are encouraged to select a designee to serve in an advisory capacity to the local union.

We also need better communication among ourselves. District SOAR board members should develop a system of regular contact with their chapter presidents (leaders) and coordinators.  If you don’t have a coordinator in your sub-district or area and are interested in serving as one, talk to your SOAR District Board Member.  (Directors appoint coordinators in their respective districts. Board members will notify them of any potential new coordinators for their consideration.) 

Finally, SOAR board members should develop a relationship with their new director and establish a plan to get active in their districts. There are many opportunities for SOAR to become involved at the district level.  Still, if we are not aware of any organizing drives, strikes, rallies or demonstrations, we cannot participate. That’s why good communication is needed between SOAR and our union leadership throughout. 

We in SOAR need to take advantage of the resources provided by our districts and local unions so that we may continue the fight to improve the lives of workers and retirees TOGETHER.

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USW Member Veterans Resources Available https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/usw-veterans Thu, 03 Jun 2021 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/usw-veterans Veterans of Steel

We want to honor and support our veterans every single day. That’s why we formed our Veterans of Steel committee to provide resources for those who served. If you are a veteran in need, or if you know veterans in your local union, please visit our Vets of Steel resource page for links to mental health and other services: usw.org/vetsofsteel.

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Local 9450 keeps cooking up support for Michigan health care members https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/local-9450-keeps-cooking-up-support-for-michigan-health-care-members Tue, 01 Jun 2021 13:34:55 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/local-9450-keeps-cooking-up-support-for-michigan-health-care-members On Wednesday, May 26, USW Local 4950 continued its commitment to the members they represent in the health care sector by serving a hot dog luncheon.

Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, the local had meals delivered from local restaurants in an ongoing plan to support not only its members who work in health care, but their surrounding communities as well.

Local 4950 is an amalgamated union that represents a diverse group of workers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at the Empire Mine, Eastwood Nursing Center, Bell Medical Center, Ishpeming Medical Center, Negaunee Public Schools and Malton Electric.

Pictured below is President Chad Korpi serving lunch to Unit Chairperson Peggy Kangas; also pictured are Vice President Dan Ruokolainen, Recording Secretary Rich Helgren, and retiree volunteers John and Beverly Korpi at Teal Lake Senior Living Community.

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Hierarchy of Controls Protects Against Exposure to Occupational Hazards https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/hierarchy-of-controls-protects-against-exposure-to-occupational-hazards Wed, 26 May 2021 12:40:08 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/hierarchy-of-controls-protects-against-exposure-to-occupational-hazards USW atomic workers eliminate hazards to the community when they clean up America’s most toxic and radioactive sites, but they also need protection themselves from such exposure.The hierarchy of controls can help them do that.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health developed the Hierarchy of Controls to help protect workers from exposure to occupational hazards. Companies use this model to put into action different levels of hazard control.

The idea behind this hierarchy is that the control methods at the top of the graphic are potentially more effective and protective than those at the bottom. A visual representation of the Hierarchy of Controls is included for your reference.

Following this method normally leads to enacting inherently safer systems, where the risk of illness or injury is substantially reduced.

The control methods include: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE). Elimination and substitution, while most effective at reducing hazards, also tend to be the most difficult to implement in an existing process. However, if the process is still at the design or development stage, elimination and substitution of hazards may be inexpensive and simple to enact.

Engineering controls are preferable over administrative changes and PPE for controlling existing workplace exposures because they are designed to remove the hazard at the source, before it comes in contact with the worker. Administrative controls and PPE programs may be relatively inexpensive to establish, but over the long term, they can be very costly to sustain.

For more information about the Hierarchy of Controls, go HERE.

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International Officers Answer Questions about Infrastructure During Virtual Meetings https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/international-officers-answer-questions-about-infrastructure-during-virtual-meeting Wed, 26 May 2021 09:46:32 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/international-officers-answer-questions-about-infrastructure-during-virtual-meeting The USW held its first virtual session about its infrastructure initiative, We Supply America, on May 10 when International President Tom Conway and International Vice President Roxanne Brown provided an overview and answered members’ questions.

Conway and Brown discussed the importance of infrastructure investment for USW jobs, rebuilding the nation, jumpstarting the economy and revitalizing communities across America.

During this session, USW members Glenn Troup (LU 4950), Kelly Vereb (LU 2227), Justin Donley (LU 912), Alycia Allen (LU 8888) and Montrell Steib (LU 5702) asked a broad range of questions from how infrastructure investment will help the country recover from the pandemic to whether these jobs will go to union members.

If you missed this meeting, you can still view it HERE.

The second virtual session on June 3 featured International Vice President Leeann Foster and Mike Noll, a USW Local 1237 member, asking how the infrastructure bill helps industries like paper and health care.

Foster explained how infrastructure spending impacts many industries and how these sectors interconnect in today’s complex economy.

If you missed this session, you can still view it HERE.

Members' Role

Infrastructure spending directly impacts USW chemical workers—from the chemicals they produce for pharmaceuticals to the supply chain products, such as reflective road signs and pavement marking materials, that help make America safe.

A key part of the We Supply America campaign is mapping out how USW members intersect with infrastructure, both in their jobs and in their communities. The union will then use that information when engaging with elected officials and calling for key investments.

That’s why it’s important that all USW members, including chemical workers, complete this short survey about how their work and lives intersect with infrastructure upgrades.

Additional information

The USW will hold additional virtual sessions regarding the union’s We Supply America campaign.

Stay tuned for more infrastructure Facebook events at Facebook.com/steelworkers/live.

More information about the USW’s We Supply America campaign can be found at www.uswvoices.org.

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DOE Introduces Strategic Vision for Nuclear Waste Cleanup https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/doe-introduces-strategic-vision-for-nuclear-waste-cleanup Wed, 26 May 2021 09:36:48 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/doe-introduces-strategic-vision-for-nuclear-waste-cleanup The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management introduced in early May its 10-year plan to reduce the federal government’s nuclear waste footprint.

Environmental Management’s cleanup priorities include conducting its work in a safe, secure and regulatory compliant manner; stabilizing, treating and disposing of radioactive tank waste; managing and disposing of spent (used) nuclear fuel and nuclear materials; disposing of transuranic and mixed low-level nuclear waste; remediating soil and groundwater contamination, and deactivating and decommissioning  excess facilities, all of which will ensure plenty of work for USW atomic workers.

The strategic vision document is one of several tools Environmental Management uses to guide its priorities. It provides a concise summary of the cleanup progress DOE anticipates to complete over the next decade. The document highlights Environmental Management’s significant cleanup accomplishments to date from the time the program started in 1989, as well as the remediation achievements at each DOE site.

Environmental Management Acting Assistant Secretary William “Ike” White told more than 180 community stakeholders, members of intergovernmental groups and others in a May 6 virtual meeting that Strategic Vision is a roadmap to even greater success in the nuclear cleanup program. He emphasized that the DOE was transparent in the plan’s creation, having received input from regulators, tribal nations, local communities and other groups.

Some of the cleanup progress the office anticipates in the next 10 years includes initiating radioactive tank waste treatment at Hanford; completing the new ventilation system and other infrastructure upgrades at WIPP; finishing the treatment of remaining liquid sodium-bearing waste at INL; demolishing two of the three former uranium enrichment process buildings at Portsmouth, and completing deactivation activities at the C-333 uranium enrichment process building and demolishing the C-400 cleaning building at Paducah.

To read more about the cleanup goals for each USW-represented nuclear clean-up site go HERE.

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A Solid Foundation: USW Cement Workers Key Part of Infrastructure Push https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/a-solid-foundation-usw-cement-workers-key-part-of-infrastructure-push Tue, 25 May 2021 09:56:34 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/a-solid-foundation-usw-cement-workers-key-part-of-infrastructure-push

From his perch nearly 500 feet in the air, atop the preheater tower at Lehigh Cement, Jay Trankley can get a good look at all 2,500 acres of his employer’s sprawling operation, as well as the small town of Union Bridge, Md., that many of its workers call home.

Trankley, a process utility person at the plant for the past 15 years, helps to maintain the massive kiln that is central to the cement-making process and to the production site. He is one of more than 110 members of Local 8-00031 who work at the state-of-the-art Union Bridge facility.

The basic recipe that Trankley and his USW co-workers follow to make their product is the same as it has been for hundreds of years, but the processes, technology and quality control at Lehigh are as modern as any in the industry.

“It’s a better quality product,” said lab automation tech Lorne Keefer, who oversees some of the high-tech equipment that monitors samples and flags imperfections to ensure a top-of-the-line end result.

‘We Supply America’

Their commitment to excellence puts the workers at the Lehigh plant, along with the 160 other units in the USW cement council, on the front lines of a union-led campaign to secure trillions of dollars in federal infrastructure investments and ensure the growth of good union jobs for decades to come.


“We need it to happen,” Local 8-00031 Grievance Chair and 10-year member Tom Eyler said of the USW’s infrastructure push, dubbed “We Supply America.”

Because cement is a key component of the materials used to construct buildings, build dams, pave roads and erect bridges, workers like those at Lehigh are a big part of making sure that the supplies needed for a comprehensive infrastructure overhaul will be made in the United States with union labor.

That would be good news for Local 8-00031 members, company management, and all of the residents of tiny Union Bridge, which, according to the most recent census data, is home to only about 250 families and fewer than 1,000 people.

“It’s critical for the local economy,” Eyler said.

That point was proven many years ago when the company, under scrutiny from a group of local residents who questioned whether the town truly needed an industrial plant to sustain its economy, conducted an experiment by paying the work force with stacks of $2 bills. The notes began filling up the cash registers of every business in town.

“If this place didn’t exist, the town wouldn’t exist,” Eyler said.

‘To The Next Level’ 

A major infrastructure program is likely to be a shot in the arm for Lehigh’s business, which has already been steady even throughout the COVID-19 recession, said assistant plant managerChad Mullican.

President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” jobs and infrastructure program, which includes a major push toward greener technology, would also shine a light on the advances that the cement industry, and Lehigh in particular, has made over the years to control emissions and ensure that the production process has the smallest possible environmental footprint.

“The thing that sets us apart is our willingness to grow and adapt. This is going to take us to the next level,” Mullican said of the infrastructure proposal. “It would be huge for both us and the environment.”

Lehigh’s current position is solid enough that the company recently opened a second quarry in nearby New Windsor, about six miles from the plant, and constructed an advanced conveyor system that carries stones from the quarry to a storage facility on the plant grounds in Union Bridge. Between the new quarry and the original one, the company estimates that it has enough limestone available to last at least another 87 years.

Always in Motion

Some of the stones that USW members take out of the quarry are as large as compact cars, even after they are blasted loose from the earth. Workers then truck those boulders to a machine that crushes them into small enough pieces to be placed onto the closely monitored conveyor.

Once they reach the plant, they are ground down and precisely blended with a mix of sand, iron slag and ponded ash. That mixture is heated and formed into nuggets known as clinker, which then goes to a finishing mill where it is combined with other elements to optimize the quality and strength of the final product.

The cement-making process demands that there is always something in motion at the plant, and USW members are a key part in every step of the operation. Throughout the day, 10,000 points of data churn through the plant’s computerized monitoring system, which workers constantly track to ensure the product they are making is the best it can be before it is sealed into bags and shipped to customers, which include hardware retailers and builders at construction sites.

“It’s astounding,” Eyler said of the size and complexity of the operation. “You take it for granted.”

Generations of History

The original factory, known as Tidewater Portland Cement Co., was built in 1910. Lehigh purchased the facility in 1925 and invested in several major modernization efforts over the years. Today, the plant, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is able to produce more than 2.5 million metric tons of cement each year.


In the early days, most of the work now carried out by computers was done by hand, but the increased automation in recent years creates a more consistent, stable output, said Keefer, who has worked at the plant for 27 years.

He is one of many workers at the site who have lengthy terms of service. Mullican has been with the company for 25 years, the first 10 or so as a USW member before he joined management. It’s a common story at Lehigh for the company to promote union members through the ranks.

“We grow our talent from the inside,” Mullican said.

Family Atmosphere

Local 8-00031 President Brad Llewellyn works in a control room with more than a dozen screens of data on the Lehigh operation. He has been with the plant for 23 years and has known Mullican since the two were in elementary school.


That closeness makes for a family-like atmosphere that spreads throughout the factory and into the community, Llewellyn said.

“To me, our plant is like a small community, like our community itself,” he said. “To see this community be able to contribute the way that we do, to have that much of an impact, it makes you stick your chest out with pride.”

District 8 Director Ernest R. “Billy” Thompson, whose district includes the states of Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, said he was proud of the work USW members perform in Union Bridge.

“The hard-working members of Local 8-00031 have spent decades working hand-in-hand with the company to continuously improve their product,” he said, “and working with each other to ensure a better quality of life for themselves and their families.”  

That spirit of collaboration with the company extends to the bargaining table, Llewellyn said, noting that the relationship between labor and management in Union Bridge is productive, particularly in the all-important area of health, safety and environmental issues.

Eyler said that having a strong union committed to a safe workplace was essential as he pointed out the massive, constantly moving parts and intense heat involved in the various stages of the cement-making process.

Collaborative Efforts

In addition to working hard to prevent on-the-job incidents, the union and the company also collaborated through the coronavirus pandemic to implement a rigorous program of testing and other joint efforts that kept the facility running and kept the virus from spreading through the plant.


“The union and the company did a great job working together,” said electrician Marty Hildebrand.

Local 8-00031 leaders also work closely with other union members in the industry, negotiating their collective bargaining agreements jointly with workers at two other Lehigh facilities.

That collaboration, both with management and within the union, has helped to deliver the good wages, strong benefits and a secure retirement that keep USW members on the job for the long haul. It has also helped the company become a leader in an industry that is positioning itself for a solid future.

“This is a place where you can grow and raise a family,” Eyler said.

The USW is committed to making sure that remains true for decades to come, said District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, who serves as chair of the USW cement council. 

“The USW is proud of the relationship we have built with Lehigh and our other partners in the cement industry,” Ramirez said. “Our union’s push for long-term sustained investments in our national infrastructure will ensure that future generations of USW members continue to produce quality products while enjoying the security and benefits that the workers at Lehigh have earned.”

Making sure the future is secure for upcoming generations is something that is important to both management and USW members in Union Bridge. Mullican’s son recently started a USW-represented job at the plant, making his one of many multi-generational families working there.

“The sky’s the limit here,” said Eyler, who has lived in the area since he was 8 years old and is now a father himself. “We are providing a better life not just for ourselves and our families, but for generations of families. The future is bright.”

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USW, labor allies seek clarity from CDC on new mask guidance https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/usw-labor-allies-seek-clarity-from-cdc-on-new-mask-guidance Mon, 24 May 2021 17:09:53 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/usw-labor-allies-seek-clarity-from-cdc-on-new-mask-guidance The USW has joined other labor allies in signing a letter urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to clarify what the CDC’s new mask guidance for fully vaccinated people means for workers and employers, and how they could implement it.

The letter was delivered to the CDC and U.S. Department of Labor last Tuesday, May 18.

Click here to read the letter.

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Information on emergency legislative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2020/information-on-emergency-legislative-responses-to-the-covid-19-pandemic Tue, 16 Mar 2021 10:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2020/information-on-emergency-legislative-responses-to-the-covid-19-pandemic So far, five bills have passed through the House and Senate and are now signed into law.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319)

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, legislation that is historic for its breadth and ambition but more importantly because, unlike previous stimulus efforts, the direct beneficiaries of this legislation are working families.

The package is rightly getting a great deal of attention for the direct payments of up to $1,400 to lower- and middle-income Americans, but it also accomplishes much more, providing aid on a variety of fronts that will help keep workers safe and secure now and into the future. Below are some of its most significant accomplishments.

  • Pension protection: provides up to $86 billion for struggling multiemployer pension plans, which will directly protect the futures of 120,000 active USW members and retirees. The legislation stabilizes the pension system that has 10 million union members, widows, and retirees.
  • Public health: provides $48.3 billion for testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment (PPE); $7.5 billion for vaccine distribution; and $5.2 billion for procurement of vaccines and supplies, as well as $10 billion to expand domestic production of PPE, vaccines and medical supplies under the Defense Production Act.
  • Workplace safety: grants $150 million for COVID-19 worker protections, with $75 million dedicated to OSHA enforcement in high-risk sectors including those where USW members work. This has been a USW priority since the pandemic began.
  • Direct payments: provides for direct payments of up to $1,400 to Americans who need it the most.
  • Tax cuts for families: low- and moderate-income households (those making $91,000 or less) would receive nearly 70 percent of the tax benefits from the measure. Families with children would get an average tax cut of more than $6,000 under the bill.
  • Unemployment benefits: enhanced unemployment benefits through September, provide an additional $300 per week on top of all state unemployment benefits. Also included is a provision to waive taxes on the first $10,200 in unemployment income for those who made less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income in 2020. This means so much to the thousands of USW members who were laid off or lost their jobs during the pandemic.
  • Full COBRA subsidies: extends COBRA coverage for uninsured workers with a 100 percent subsidy; this is vital for many of our Steelworker siblings.
  • Education: provides for $130 billion to help schools. This funding will allow the CDC’s recommended steps to go forward, ensuring students, educators, and employees, including USW members and our children, can return to the classroom safely.
  • Relief for State and Local Governments: provides $350 billion in aid to state, local, tribal and territorial governments to help deal with the budgetary impact of the pandemic, including $195.3 billion for states and Washington, D.C.; $130.2 billion for local governments; $20 billion for tribal governments; and $4.5 billion for U.S. territories.
  • Veterans: provides $386 million to create a rapid retraining program for veterans who are unemployed because of the pandemic.

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act - CARES 3.5 (H.R. 266)

Click here to download this summary as a printable PDF.

On April 24, 2020, the 4th emergency supplemental plan became law to provide additional aid for the COVID-19 pandemic. Commonly known as CARES 3.5, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act is dramatically shorter bill (HR 266).

The two sections of the bill are focused on the following: 

Increases authority for commitments and appropriations for Paycheck Protection Program

The legislation increases the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by $321 billion.

  • $60 billion is reserved for smaller lending institutions
  • $50 billion for the Disaster Loans Program Account
  • an additional $10 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. To learn more about EIDL grants, click here.

The health provisions in the bill provide $100 billion in new health care funding, in addition to new requirements for a national testing strategy.

  • $75 billion is provided for the purpose of reimbursing hospitals and health care providers for additional expenses related to COVID-19 care, treatment and prevention, as well as foregone revenue due to the pandemic.
  • $25 billion is provided for COVID-19 testing
  • $11 billion for states, localities, territories, tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes for necessary expenses to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID–19 tests.
  • more than $8 billion remains undesignated, and HHS has discretion to spend it on various Covid-19 testing needs.
  • the roughly $6 billion remaining is then broken into seven pots of funding focused on National Institutes for Health, Centers for Disease Control, Federal Drug Administration, Health Resources Services Administration, rural health clinics, and Research & Development. 

The bill requires a number of testing and data collection requirements. First being a national strategic testing plan that details how the Administration will increase domestic testing capacity, address disparities, and provide assistance and resources to states, localities, territories, and tribes.

There are also requirements to do regular reporting of demographic data, including on race, ethnicity, age, sex, geographic region, and other factors for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and epidemiological analysis of such data.

Finally the bill requires states, localities, territories, and tribes to submit to the Secretary information on tests needed, laboratory and testing capacity, and how it will use provided resources.


Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act - CARES Act (S. 3548)

Click here to download a PDF summary of the CARES Act you can share with members of your local.

The bill has more than ten times the amount spent on the first two coronavirus bills combined. It's more than double the cost of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was the most significant stimulus bill enacted following the 2008 financial crisis.

Here are a few key provisions:

  • Additional Income Assistance – A $1,200 one-time payment per adult (up to $75,000 in annual income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers) and $500 per child. Families should expect these checks in the next three weeks. Find more information on that HERE.
  • Improvements to Unemployment Insurance (UI) - $600 per week in addition to state UI benefits for four months, a temporary UI program for the part-time, self-employed, gig economy, and other workers excluded from regular UI, 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits, and federal funding for states to waive waiting weeks. These provisions will be eligible through December 31, 2020. The bill also allows for $360 million for worker training and support and implementation costs at the Department of Labor. (*Find state-specific UI resources HERE.)
  • Other Consumer Financial Protections - Suspends adverse consumer credit reporting until 120 days after pandemic in the case of forbearance of payment modification. Student loan interest accrual and payments are also suspended for six months. 

What's Missing: 

  • No OSHA emergency standard to better protect frontline workers. See a recent letter HERE denouncing recent attempts to cover up PPE shortages by muzzling health care workers who are on the front lines of fighting the pandemic. 
  • No fix for paid leave exemptions for employers who have more than 500 employees. We are working diligently to engage at state levels to get this exemption lifted – look for more information from Rapid Response next week on that.
  • Nothing to protect at risk pensions or help laid-off workers with COBRA premiums. 

The bill is massive, and we are still trying to unravel it, but we also know we need to continue to push for more relief and economic stimulus. We will continue to get information to you as the situation changes.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)

This is a critical first step in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance we need.

  • Provides for Free COVID-19 Testing – Private insurance companies and government programs like Medicaid/Medicare/TRICARE are now required to cover testing of COVID-19 with no cost and no cost-sharing, and reimburse labs for testing of the uninsured.
  • Implements Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Employers having less than 500 employees are now required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular pay for quarantine, treatment or care of a family member related to the coronavirus.
  • Provides for Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion – This legislation ensures 12 weeks of protected job leave for workers to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed as a result of the coronavirus.
  • Provides Additional Resources for Unemployment Insurance – An additional $1 billion in 2020 for emergency administration grants will be available to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits.

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074)

This is an emergency spending bill that was signed into law March 6, 2020.

It allocates $8.3 billion for help to fund vaccine development, treatment, and public health efforts. You can find a breakdown of where that money is going HERE.


What we still need

H.R. 6559, the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020 

Click here to read our letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to pass this legislation. It is essential that Congress ensures all essential workers are protected during this national pandemic. The COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020 would require OSHA to take the emergency action necessary to protect our nation’s vital workforce, and we urge Congress to pass or include this legislation in the next COVID-19 related package. 

H.R. 6390/S. 3568The Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act of 2020 

Click here to read our letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to pass this legislation. The Mediacl Supply Chain Emergency Act would ensure critically needed medical supplies are produced and delivered in a rapid, efficient manner by utilizing the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up manufacturing. 

Other items

We have outlined a number of asks on what federal assistance looks like in response of COVID-19 and a possible recession.

Additional Union Resources

USW COVID-19 Resources

Position statements on trade and health and safety.

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USW Supports Jennifer Granholm for the Secretary of Energy https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/usw-supports-jennifer-granholm-for-the-secretary-of-energy Wed, 27 Jan 2021 16:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2021/usw-supports-jennifer-granholm-for-the-secretary-of-energy

The union today supported Jennifer Granholm for the Secretary of Energy.

USW International President Tom Conway wrote to the U.S. Senate, "Our union also represents several thousand members engaged in clean-up activities at Department of Energy sites across the country. Strong leadership at DOE is critically important to ensuring that those workers continue to have the resources to safely clean up our nuclear fuel and weapons legacy. We are confident that Granholm will work to ensure that these workers are fairly treated and compensated by the contractors at DOE sites."

Here is the full text of the letter, which can be downloaded for printing here:

Via Email

U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20515

January 27, 2021

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the members of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW), I write to support the confirmation of Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy. 

Our union represents a wide variety of workers in the energy and manufacturing sectors. As we look to economic recovery and the technologies of the present and future, the Department of Energy (DOE) will play a critical role in the research, development, deployment, and manufacture of technologies that ensure that the United States remains globally competitive. 

In her hearing, Granholm said, “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America. We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America. We can allow other countries to corner the market on carbon reduction technologies like carbon capture utilization and storage, or we can put our workers in good-paying jobs manufacturing and installing those solutions in America, and we can export them all as well.” 

Energy independence of the future means that we must work to maintain and grow domestic manufacturing jobs in clean technology supply chains. If confirmed, former governor Granholm will come to the role of Secretary of Energy as an experienced leader who helped rebuild the auto industry. We are confident that Granholm knows that domestic manufacturing must be a priority and that it is necessary to balance environmental progress with preserving and growing union manufacturing jobs. 

Our union also represents several thousand members engaged in clean-up activities at Department of Energy sites across the country. Strong leadership at DOE is critically important to ensuring that those workers continue to have the resources to safely clean up our nuclear fuel and weapons legacy. We are confident that Granholm will work to ensure that these workers are fairly treated and compensated by the contractors at DOE sites. 

USW urges you to promptly vote to confirm Jennifer Granholm as the Secretary of Energy. 

Sincerely,

Thomas Conway International President

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