United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed Liquid error: undefined method `match' for nil:NilClass AMPS en hourly 1 District 8 – SOAR's Cliff Carlton Organizes Roanoke Labor Day Parade for Sixth Consecutive Year http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-8-soars-cliff-carlton-organizes-roanoke-labor-day-parade-for-sixth-consecutive-year Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-8-soars-cliff-carlton-organizes-roanoke-labor-day-parade-for-sixth-consecutive-year Seven years ago, an unnamed reporter from a local newspaper in Roanoke, Va., thought that the labor movement wasn’t as active as some union folks in the area believed it to be, because Roanoke didn’t have an annual Labor Day Parade.

Thinking he could maybe get some legs on the story, the reporter challenged Cliff Carlton – a 23-year Steelworker at Yokohama Tire – with an accusatory question that has stuck with Cliff to this day. “Where is labor?” the reporter said, mockingly.

Cliff did not respond. At least, not with words.

Instead, he started organizing to make sure that there was a Labor Day Parade in Roanoke the next year. Just last month Roanoke had its sixth consecutive Labor Day Parade, and Cliff boasts that the parade is getting better every year.

Needless to say, Cliff hasn’t stopped working, even though he retired in 2015. He’s kept busy organizing the annual Labor Day Parade with some fellow retirees, and he was just recently elected the President of Virginia’s chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans – a national organization that is focused on protecting vital programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Cliff is excited to take on this role with the Alliance, because he sees it as an extension of all the work he does with his SOAR Chapter (8-UR2), and even his time as a Division Chairman and member of his local union’s Executive Board (USW Local 1023). Cliff has also been Vice President of the western Virginia Labor Federation for 15 years.

Cliff knows that not everyone is going to be as active in their retirement as he is. However, he believes everyone should consider getting involved with their local SOAR chapter if they are nearing retirement. Cliff’s SOAR chapter has even supported the bargaining committee at his local union, and has plans to continue doing so in their upcoming negotiations with Yokohama.

“It’s nice to sit back and rest. But, we still need to be involved, if we want to keep our benefits or maybe even improve upon them.”

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USW Asks Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Advance Key National Security Investigations Without Further Delay http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-asks-commerce-secretary-wilbur-ross-to-advance-key-national-security-investigations-without-further-delay Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:23:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-asks-commerce-secretary-wilbur-ross-to-advance-key-national-security-investigations-without-further-delay American steel workers, including members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other key officials to complete vital national security investigations into steel and aluminum imports during an in-person meeting at the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

Responding to an alarming import crisis resulting from global overcapacity, the Trump administration announced the Section 232 investigations back in April and pledged quick action. But delays continue, and steel imports have surged more than 21 percent since the Section 232 investigation was announced.

The 14 workers, who come from steel facilities in states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, Minnesota, Kentucky and Michigan, told Ross how the steel import surge and now the delay in completing the investigation has devastated their communities. As imports continue to rise, major steelmaking operations have idled, and tens of thousands of steelworkers have faced layoffs.

“Steelworkers cannot wait any longer. President Trump and his team promised quick action, and now is the time for them to deliver,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “Jobs and entire communities are at stake, as is our national security. If we don’t get a handle on these imports now, America will continue to lose the steelmaking operations we need for our military and critical infrastructure.”

Along with Ross, who joined the meeting by telephone, the steel workers also met with Earl Comstock, director of Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Commerce Department.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries, including metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, mining and the service and public sectors.  For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

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Union Workers Ratify Contract with ASARCO http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/union-workers-ratify-contract-with-asarco Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/union-workers-ratify-contract-with-asarco More information, contact: Manny Armenta – (505) 878-9756; marmenta@usw.org; Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that members of eight international unions overwhelmingly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement covering about 2,000 workers at five ASARCO, LLC, copper mining and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas.

USW District 12 Director Bob LaVenture, who chairs negotiations with the Grupo Mexico subsidiary, credited local union leaders and volunteer activists who kept the combined union membership together over the course of the long campaign.

“We fought for a fair contract at ASARCO for more than four years, and our hard work and solidarity have been rewarded,” LaVenture said. “We have proven once again that we are strongest when we are united and speak with one voice to demand fairness and equality in our workplaces.”

LaVenture also praised USW District 12, Sub-District 2 Director Manny Armenta and professional and technical staff from the union’s international headquarters in Pittsburgh for their dedication and support throughout the protracted bargaining process.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our staff attorney, Mariana Padias and to our corporate research and benefits expert, Nick Schafer,” LaVenture said. “We also relied heavily on support from the staff of our Strategic Campaigns, Communications, New Media and other departments for the duration of these negotiations.”

During the campaign, the USW and other unions at ASARCO participated in a series of international solidarity actions and cross-border trainings with members of Los Mineros, the union that represents workers at Grupo Mexico facilities in Mexico.

Union-represented hourly production and maintenance employees continued to work under the terms and conditions of a labor agreement that originally expired in June 2013 but was extended until the parties terminated it in June 2015. Since then, workers stayed on the job in good faith while negotiations proceeded.

The newly ratified contract will expire on Nov. 30, 2018, a remaining term of approximately 14 months.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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A Dangerous Last-Ditch Effort: New “Graham-Cassidy” healthcare bill is as bad as the previous bills that Americans have rejected http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/a-dangerous-last-ditch-effort-new-graham-cassidy-healthcare-bill-is-as-bad-as-the-previous-bills-that-americans-have-rejected Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:50:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/a-dangerous-last-ditch-effort-new-graham-cassidy-healthcare-bill-is-as-bad-as-the-previous-bills-that-americans-have-rejected The Senate is attempting to force through another terrible healthcare bill by the end of next week, while sidelining bipartisan efforts to improve coverage. This bill will impact nearly every American, and it could be voted on before the official review by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is even complete. That assessment gives us an indication of the real impact to citizens, overall healthcare costs, and resulting potential impact to the economy. This is a disastrous approach to lawmaking.

There’s a limited amount of time to stop this reckless and rushed bill.

THE LATEST

Senators Lindsay Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA), along with Senators Heller (NV) and Johnson (WI), are behind the latest proposal (referred to as “Graham-Cassidy”).

  • We expect millions of Americans will lose coverage given the similarity to past bills. Not only is this cruel, it will drive up costs for those with insurance as providers try to recoup costs.
  • It guts funding for Medicaid, which is critical to the elderly, people with disabilities, and those struggling to get by. Millions of children depend on Medicaid.
  • Protections for those with pre-existing conditions are rolled back.
  • There will no longer be guaranteed essential benefits in plans, such as hospitalization, mental health coverage, and more.
  • Older Americans could get charged up to five times the rates of younger Americans.
  • And, to top it all off, while the bill makes tax cuts, the excise tax that will ultimately impact USW members remains.

CRITICAL DATE: September 30

There is a hard push happening in the Senate to pass this bill by the end of next week before the expiration of a budget rule. Until that time, the Senate can pass it with only 50 votes (and a tiebreaker from the vice president). After that point, it becomes much harder to ram through irresponsible legislation.

WHERE THE VOTE STANDS

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he won’t call for a vote unless he knows he has the support to pass it. A small group of undecided Senators will once again decide the fate of healthcare in the United States.

NEXT STEPS

We will be calling upon USW members in targeted states to reach out to those undecided Senators. But, no matter where you are, you can use our Senate hotline to weigh in against the “Graham/Cassidy” bill.

Dial 877-607-0785, enter your zip code and you will be directed to the correct Senator. Dial a second time to get your other Senator. As always, every call counts!

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Fred Redmond Talks Renegotiating NAFTA and Protecting Workers’ Rights http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/fred-redmond-talks-renegotiating-nafta-and-protecting-workers-rights Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/fred-redmond-talks-renegotiating-nafta-and-protecting-workers-rights USW Vice President Fred Redmond stopped by The Leslie Marshall Show last week to talk about the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations and the request from Canada that the United States roll back all “right-to-work” laws as part of the deal. The neighbors to the north are looking for both Mexico and the United States to improve their labor standards, including strengthening collective bargaining rights for workers, in order for all three countries to remain competitive.

“The United States entered into this renegotiation hoping to get assistance from Canada in order to bring up labor standards in Mexico, and we support that,” Redmond said. “But we think Canada has brought up a legitimate argument in saying that American labor law does not level the playing field for workers, particularly ‘right-to-work’ legislation.”

Click here for the entire interview.

In the United States, the unionization rate has declined to 10.7 percent, including both public and private sector workers. Redmond believes that the rate will shrink even farther if “right-to-work” legislation continues to pass and if Supreme Court cases like Janus V. AFSCME tip the wrong way.

Under current law, every union-represented public service worker may choose whether or not to join the union — but the union is required to negotiate on behalf of all workers whether they join or not. Those workers are still required, however, to pay a fair share fee in order for the union to represent them. Anti-labor lawyers and corporations disagree with this requirement and have pursued the case to reverse it.

“The intent is to weaken a union’s ability to generate the revenue it takes for us to negotiate contracts and to represent workplace democracy and other things that make life better for our workers,” Redmond said.

Click here for the entire interview.

Studies have shown that all workers’ wages decrease as unionization rates decrease. Redmond and the labor movement as a whole believe it is vital for unionization to be protected and that NAFTA renegotiations may be one way to do that.

“There is no mechanism in this country that has built the middle class more than collective bargaining,” he said. “We’ve been able to negotiate wages and benefits to ensure our members share some of the wealth that they help to create every day.”

Redmond also believes it’s important to have new language for labor standards in a new NAFTA in order to do things like raise workers’ wages in Mexico but that it must also be paired with actual penalties when countries fail to meet those standards. Otherwise, the U.S. economy will continue to suffer like it has over the past 23 years.

“U.S. companies have flocked south to the border, and, as a result, hundreds of thousands of American workers have lost their jobs,” he said. “Lack of a border adjustment tax leads to American manufacturers producing their products in Mexico for cheap labor, bringing them across the border, and selling them to U.S. consumers at top rates.”

To hear more about NAFTA and “right-to-work legislation,” click here for the entire interview.

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District 9 Pulp and Paper Mill Conference – October 18-19, 2017 Cancellation http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-9-pulp-and-paper-mill-conference-october-18-19-2017-cancellation Sat, 16 Sep 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-9-pulp-and-paper-mill-conference-october-18-19-2017-cancellation September 15, 2017

 

 

TO:      USW District 9 Presidents and Recording Secretaries

 

Greetings Sisters and Brothers:

 

Re:  District 9 Pulp and Paper Mill Conference – October 18-19, 2017 Cancellation

 

Building strength and solidarity within the District 9 Pulp & Paper Mill Conference (PPMC) is very important to increasing unity within our Locals and the District.  This is why we have a District Pulp & Paper Mill Conference every other year.  

 

However, I regret to inform you that due to circumstances beyond our control the District 9 PPMC Conference scheduled for October 18-19, 2017 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee has been cancelled.  With the ongoing devastation following Hurricane Irma, especially within our District, we have decided to postpone our District 9 PPMC Conference until next year.

 

I apologize to all our members who, like us, were looking forward to the 2017 PPMC Conference. However, our first priority is, and must be, to focus on assisting as many members as possible within District 9 in the aftermath of Irma’s destruction. At a time when hundreds, possibly thousands, of District 9 members are dealing with personal loss and loss within their communities, we want them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.  An injury to one is an injury to all and, as our show of support as they rebuild, we will cancel and reschedule the District 9 PPMC Conference.

 

As soon as details are finalized we will notify all District 9 Locals of the rescheduled date.  Locals submitting Conference Registration Fees will be refunded and/or checks returned. We have asked that the Embassy Suites cancel all reservations in conjunction with the Conference for your convenience. For any questions, please feel free to contact the District 9 office at 205.631.0137.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Daniel Flippo

District 9 Director

 

c:             Mark Cochran

                Sub-Directors

                Staff Representatives

                Support Staff

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District 9 Women of Steel Conference - October 16-17, 2017 Cancellation http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-9-women-of-steel-conference-october-16-17-2017-cancellation Sat, 16 Sep 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-9-women-of-steel-conference-october-16-17-2017-cancellation September 15, 2017

 

 

TO:      USW District 9 Presidents and Recording Secretaries

 

Greetings Sisters and Brothers:

 

Re:  District 9 Women of Steel Conference - October 16-17, 2017 Cancellation

 

Building strength and solidarity within the Women of Steel of District 9 is very important to increasing unity within our Locals and the District.  This is why we have a District WOS Conference every other year.  

 

However, it is with regret I inform you that due to circumstances beyond our Control the District 9 Women of Steel (WOS) Conference scheduled for October 16-17, 2017 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee has been cancelled.  With the ongoing devastation following Hurricane Irma, especially within our District, we have decided to postpone our District 9 WOS Conference until next year.

 

I apologize to all our members who, like us, were eagerly anticipating the 2017 WOS Conference. However, our first priority is, and must be, to focus on assisting as many members as possible within District 9 in the aftermath of Irma’s destruction. At a time when hundreds, possibly thousands, of District 9 members are dealing with personal loss and loss within their communities, we want them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.  An injury to one is an injury to all and, as our show of support as they rebuild, we will cancel and reschedule the District 9 WOS Conference.

 

As soon as details are finalized we will notify all District 9 Locals of the rescheduled date.  Locals submitting Conference Registration Fees will be refunded and/or checks returned. We have requested that the Embassy Suites cancel all reservations in conjunction with the Conference for your convenience. For any questions, please feel free to contact the District 9 office at 205.631.0137.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Daniel Flippo

District 9 Director

 

c:             Mark Cochran

                Sub-Directors

                Staff Representatives

                Support Staff

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Steelworkers and Allies Rally in Support of Dreamers http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/steelworkers-and-allies-rally-in-support-of-dreamers Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:11:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/steelworkers-and-allies-rally-in-support-of-dreamers The United Steelworkers (USW) and allies, including the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and Casa San Jose, took to the streets on Friday, Sept. 15, in support of compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that incorporates and strengthens protections in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The rally took place in downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square and was followed by a march to Sen. Pat Toomey’s office where the activists chanted and called upon the Republican politician to protect America’s Dreamers.

Sister Janice Vanderneck, director of Casa San Jose, a community resource center that links Latino neighbors in need with service providers, spoke to the crowd as well as Dreamer Rosamaria Cristello.
 
“DACA recipients are young people who were brought to the U.S., like myself, by their parents at a very young age without proper documentation,” Cristello said. “Calling a country ‘home,’ the only country you know, implies that this country will protect you and make you feel safe. That is not the message we are sending to the 800,000 young DACA recipients by ending the program.”
 
While many advocates focus on the massive economic damage the program would cause, Cristello wants to remind the community that the financial effects pale in comparison to the real tragedy.
 
“We need to remember that at the end of the day, we’re talking about people’s lives,” she said. “We’re talking about the health of our communities.”
 
Outside Sen. Toomey’s headquarters on Grant Street, USW Vice President Fred Redmond spoke to the crowd by touching on the urgency and significance of the battle to save the program that has given so many young people a chance at the American dream.
 
“The fight for DACA is the fight for the soul of America and a test of the morality of America,” Redmond said.
 
Like the AFL-CIO, the USW supports immigration reform with a path to citizenship for these young people and their hard-working parents, some of whom are USW members. If a comprehensive agreement is impossible, Congress should quickly find a way to adopt a narrower measure to protect the DACA recipients.

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Local 9899 Showcases Past and Future of Organized Labor http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/local-9899-showcases-past-and-future-of-organized-labor Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:00:29 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/local-9899-showcases-past-and-future-of-organized-labor Union members built the city of Saginaw, Mich., and organized labor is now just as essential as the community begins its revitalization.

That was the message that members of Local 9899 wanted to communicate as they participated in the dedication of The Last Whistle, a statue honoring workers that was unveiled outside the Saginaw Art Museum as part of the community’s Labor Day festivities.

The 600 members of Local 9899 don’t necessarily look like the subject of the statue—a gritty blue collar worker that evokes the city’s history in lumber and manufacturing.

Instead, they’re health care workers who staff nearly every part of St. Mary’s Hospital as nursing assistants, phlebotomists, pharmacy technicians, sterile processing technicians, communications workers and more.

Local 9899 President Jackie Anklam said that the statue dedication was an important opportunity for the local to show people who they were and what they do. “It brought a lot of people out from the community,” she said. “People were so intrigued, coming up and talking to us.”

The local set up a table to hand out t-shirts, buttons, key chains, lanyards and other USW items. Anklam said that they were well received: “I had a lot of people say, ‘I will wear this with pride!’”

Other unions in the area also participated, including the IBEW, the UAW and LUNA. The event was so successful that Saginaw is now considering its fi rst Labor Day parade for next year.

Anklam said that their participation in the statue dedication was part of a wider outreach effort, which has included area locals speaking in front of the city council to explain the importance of organized labor in their community.

Anklam recently took her turn, and after thinking over what she wanted to say, she decided she simply wanted her people recognized. “I told them where we were and who we were. I told them that almost every hand that touches you in that hospital is a union worker until the time you go out that door.”

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District 12 – SOAR’s Joel Buchanan Represents USW at Pueblo Pride Festival http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-12-soars-joel-buchanan-represents-usw-at-pueblo-pride-festival Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:48:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-12-soars-joel-buchanan-represents-usw-at-pueblo-pride-festival “Our union is one of inclusion. America has always been a country that celebrates diversity, and SOAR needs to reflect that,” says Joel Buchannan, a 43-year USW member and retiree from Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel (formerly Oregon Steel).

In August, 2017 he represented the USW and the Pueblo Central Labor Council (PCLC) at the Pueblo LGBTQ Pride Festival. This annual event is held to bring together members, friends, family and supporters of the LGBTQ community to celebrate acceptance and diversity. This is the second consecutive year that the USW and the PCLC has participated and supported the festival. The festival also received support from AFSCME, the Fire Fighters and Colorado WINS, which represents more than 31,000 state employees.

“We’ve thought it was important to be here not just to support the (LGBTQ) community, but to also promote the labor movement to groups that aren’t always associated with us,” remarked Buchannan on why it is important that the USW maintains a presence at the festival. “Being here helps broaden support for our issues, while also raising our awareness of others who are being taken advantage of or discriminated against in our communities.”

Throughout his 43 years as a USW member, Joel has never passed an opportunity to get his hands dirty; whether it was in the mill or in the streets working to improve things for fellow Steelworkers. For the majority of his work he was a mechanical technician, but retired as an operator in the tube mill.

In the late 1990’s, he was heavily involved in our union’s efforts against an illegal lockout at Oregon Steel that lasted seven years – one of the longest in USW history. During this time he was also working to raise his three sons, who are now parents to his three grandchildren.

In retirement, Joel has continued to do everything he can to improve the lives of not just Steelworkers, but all working families across Colorado. In addition to serving as a SOAR Executive Board Member in USW District 12, Joel was appointed in 2015 by Governor Hickenlooper to the Colorado Workforce Council and the Colorado Workforce Grant Review Committee. He also serves on the State Executive Board for the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“Retirement doesn’t have to be all about taking it easy if you don’t want it to be,” Joel explains about why he stays involved in so much. “Workers aren’t the only ones under attack. We have a lot of people we can be supporting and organizing with – there is strength in numbers.”

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USW Cares: SOAR’s USW Jefferson Awards Winners Lena Sutton and Don Kellner http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-soars-usw-jefferson-awards-winners-lena-sutton-and-don-kellner Sun, 10 Sep 2017 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-soars-usw-jefferson-awards-winners-lena-sutton-and-don-kellner Lena Sutton

Lena Sutton is the President of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 10 in Hamilton, Ontario and is one of SOAR’s USW Jefferson Awards winner for her continued commitment to those in need.

Sutton joined USW Local Union 7711 in 1974 and was elected President of the area’s SOAR Chapter in 2006. In her more than 40 years of activism, she’s held multiple positions at the local level, including recording secretary, shop steward, health and safety rep and was a member of the negotiating team.

She continues to be involved in the Hamilton Area Women’s Committee and raises money for the United Way and other local charities. It is estimated that she’s helped raise more than $100,000 and prepare and serve thousands of meals for the needy and homeless in her area.

Most remarkably, though, each year Sutton dedicates hours of her time as a volunteer tax preparer for low income families and retirees in her area, often visiting individuals in their homes many times to complete their paperwork. She also conducts seminars to help educate people about the Disability Tax Credit and other services that can help reduce income tax for those who are eligible.

When asked why she’s so committed to service, she says, “I witnessed my parents helping many families in our small town during times of need. And now I do it because I care about my neighbors and I believe community matters.”

Don Kellner

Don Kellner began working at Bethlehem Steel in 1955 and got more involved in the union during the strike of 1959, a 116-day strike that idled the steel industry throughout the U.S. “This was a very tough time for lots of folks and I knew I needed to do something,” said Don.

Kellner was elected as Local Union 2609’s recording secretary, went on to be a grievance committeeman, chairman of the grievance committee, vice president and served three terms as president before retiring in 2001.

Kellner wasn’t just a dedicated union officer, though, he was also a leader in his community. He coached a local softball team, umpired for Little League, volunteered with Baltimore County Recreation and Parks youth and adult programs and worked with local groups and lawmakers to connect youth with good jobs.

One of the most notable community service projects he spearheaded was the food bank he began during the steel crisis of the 1980’s for laid-off members. Since then, the program has been adopted by activists outside the union and has grown to serve the eastern Baltimore County community.

After retiring, he became the president of his local’s retiree committee and was quickly recruited as a member of SOAR Chapter 8-1, of which he currently serves as President of both groups. Kellner continues to engage with Steelworkers, community members and local lawmakers to push for programs and legislation that serve working people in his area.

Lena and Don are just two of the many Steelworkers making a difference in the lives of others. If you know a Steelworker who deserves recognition for commendable community service, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards by clicking here.


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USW Cares: 2017 District 13 USW Jefferson Award Winner, the South Louisiana Women of Steel Regional Council http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-13-usw-jefferson-award-winner-the-south-louisiana-women-of-steel-regional-council Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:11:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-13-usw-jefferson-award-winner-the-south-louisiana-women-of-steel-regional-council The South Louisiana Women of Steel (WOS) Regional Council pulled resources from its locals to completely refurbish a “living room” at a women’s shelter in their area. For their hard work and compassion, the council is District 13’s 2017 USW Jefferson Award winner.

Last year, the council “adopted” Room #13 at the Iris Domestic Violence Center in Baton Rouge, La. What started out as small idea to spruce-up the room with some cleaning and fresh paint turned into a year-long project that transformed barren living quarters into a safe space for someone to call home.

USW locals in the council donated $3,200 to make Room #13’s renovation possible.

Women in the council invited their husbands, families and fellow union members to help rip-up old carpet, install new wood flooring, paint walls and remove old furniture. Then, the volunteers brought in new furniture, replaced all the bedding, and decorated with lamps, rugs and pictures. They even bought and installed a closet door that was missing.

“Upon entering the room it was not very appealing and rather depressing. There were no curtains and old blinds on the windows. We added color and life to the room,” said Diane Babin, District 13 WOS Coordinator.

“As we worked on our Room #13, women and children from the shelter would stop by to see our progress. It was a drastic change from what the room looked like before. They all wanted our room!”

In addition to totally refurbishing Room #13, over the holidays the council collected bath towels, bed sheets, baby diapers, baby wipes, paper towels and personal hygiene items for the shelter; they even managed to donate a television.

Sandie Melancon, who chairs the council, said they never had a problem getting people to lend a hand, “People are compassionate. If they can get time away from work, I never find it hard getting people to volunteer.”

Melancon was surprised, though, by how the project helped their community in more ways than one, “Whoever is in the room can feel safe & comfortable after leaving a dire situation. But also, everybody participated and it spread word of the shelter. A lot of women looking for help didn’t even know this place existed.”

The council’s adoption period ended in June, and they are currently thinking of what project they’ll tackle next. “Maybe we’ll adopt another room!” said Melancon.

If you know an individual or committee that does impressive community service like the South LA Regional WOS council, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards by clicking here.

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USW Cares: 2017 District 11 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Local Union 105 Women of Steel http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-11-usw-jefferson-award-winner-local-union-105-women-of-steel Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:02:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-11-usw-jefferson-award-winner-local-union-105-women-of-steel In the past year, Local Union 105 Women of Steel (WOS) raised more than $16,000 to help those in their community who needed it most. For their relentless compassion and giving, they are District 11’s 2017 USW Jefferson Award winners.

Local 105 WOS are very good at using raffles to maintain a cycle of giving. Co-Chairs Sandy Conway and Jane Bailey said that they are almost always selling raffle tickets to help one of the many different causes they support. Most of the raffles’ profits are donated depending on where the women see the greatest need. whether it's retirees, military veterans or seniors in the community.

“The seniors get forgotten about,” said Conway, “so we fill that need.”

The women do more than take care of the elderly, though. They raised $5,300 from bakes sales that went to foundations for breast cancer awareness & women’s heart disease; $3,300 from taco sales went towards replacing the homeless shelter’s roof when it was ruined in a storm; and $4,700 through quilt raffle ticket sales went towards helping homeless veterans and the less fortunate.

They ran item-collection and cash-donation drives that raised $1,000 to buy hygiene products for low income families plus donations of soaps, shampoo, lotion, etc.; $500 for “Senior Secret Santas” plus donations of blanks and personal care items on the seniors’ Christmas lists; and $1,000 worth of pet supplies and cash donations for the local no-kill animal shelter.

“We’ve had the highest level of participation in community service that I’ve seen,” said the President of Local 105 Brad Greves. “It’s great they get recognition for this work. The local supports it and understands the importance of bringing the union together, as group, to lend their skills and help others.”

The women often partner with their company’s salaried-employee volunteer group for certain projects, like placing flags at memorials and hosting a hot-dog dinner where the profits buy service dogs for veterans with PTSD.

“It’s good when we team-up with them,” said Conway. “It shows that we can work together and it doesn’t have to be a contentious relationship.”

“We really do try to help as many people as we can,” said Bailey. And it’s true; they never miss an opportunity to help someone out. They donate leftover food from fundraising dinners to a shelter, make sure elderly community members receive a present on Christmas and are always searching for new ways to help even more people.

If you know an individual or committee that does impressive community service like Local 105’s Women of Steel, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards by clicking here.

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USW Cares: 2017 USW District 9 Jefferson Award Winner, Linnea Hector http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-usw-district-9-jefferson-award-winner-linnea-hector Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:22:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-usw-district-9-jefferson-award-winner-linnea-hector After uniting the eight Steelworker locals in the Virgin Islands to form a regional Rapid Response committee, Linnea Hector of Local Union 9489 took lead in a campaign that won the Virgin Islands a three dollar increase in minimum wage. Because she represents all working people, whether they are union or not, Linnea Hector is the USW Jefferson Award winner for District 9.

Hector sought guidance from her staff representative, Jerry Jackson, to unify the Rapid Response committees of eight locals in her territory and form a regional committee that she now chairs.

Her committee monitors bills scheduled to come before Virgin Islands legislature and lobbies for or against the ones that affect working people. Hector herself testified at the hearing for a minimum wage bill, which resulted in a three dollar minimum wage increase across the Islands.

“I want to get our name out there to show we are doing more than collecting dues,” said Hector. “The union is helping the community.”

As Local 9489 President and as a sub-committee member on every committee in her local - Women of Steel, Rapid Response, and Grievance - Hector encourages members to get involved with the union by taking a position, joining a committee and participating in local events that benefit the community. To help members who are new to their positions be successful leaders, she conducts regular executive board and shop steward trainings.

In addition to being a workers’ rights and union activist, Hector also helped Local 9489’s Women of Steel in organizing a community health fair where people could get screened for diabetes and have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked.

Hector also serves the community through her church: she feeds the homeless, helps the elderly, and mentors youth. She is on the executive board of peer ministry and counsels young people through hard times - very appropriate volunteer work for her since, professionally, she works for the Virgin Islands government as Treatment Director in Juvenile Rehabilitation.

Hector believes that her life was meant to be one of service: “I have dedicated myself to helping others in my professional and private life. ...I enjoy helping others because it gives hope to those who need it.”

If you know an individual who does impressive community service like Linnea Hector, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards by clicking here.

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Continued Donations Needed For Our Members In The South http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/continued-donations-needed Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:34:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/continued-donations-needed

Unfortunately, with the clean-up of Hurricane Harvey just beginning, one natural disaster after another threatens our sisters and brothers in the South and Caribbean. By the time they have passed, these storms will have ripped the roofs off of homes, uprooted trees and brought down power lines. While some members and communities were blessed to have their homes and property spared, many others have suffered crippling losses from the storms.

We made the request earlier for donations to help those impacted by Harvey’s devastation in District 13, but unfortunately, the need continues. Whether it’s Steelworkers in the path of destructive storms, or future disasters, we need to band together to help where we can. The USW has set up an online fund for members to donate money directly to the United Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Fund. Every dollar raised will go to our many brothers and sisters in crisis.

Any amount you decide to donate will be very much appreciated and will make a huge difference to those whose lives have been upended. Again, thank you for your solidarity and generosity in this time of need.

Please click here to make your donation: http://www.usw.org/relief

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New Contract at St. Mary Medical Center http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/new-contract-at-st-mary-medical-center Wed, 06 Sep 2017 13:06:57 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/new-contract-at-st-mary-medical-center Some 750 members of Local 183 in Apple Valley, Calif., ratified a new contract on Aug. 17 that raises wages, increases retirement contributions and retains medical benefits without any change in premiums.

Local 183 President Alma Garzon said that while wages were a big priority going into negotiations, the local, which staffs St. Mary Medical Center, was also successful in achieving some of its other goals, like the addition of President’s Day as a new paid holiday.

Garzon attributed the success to preparation and solidarity between the members who work in a wide variety of jobs and departments in the hospital, including radiology, pharmacy, lab, the emergency room and many others.

“We had a lot of communication with our members. We also had our stewards work hard to get the information out across the hospital. We passed out flyers, did pins,” Garzon said. “The whole negotiating team worked tirelessly to accomplish what we got.”

She also said the local benefited from watching the nurses’ union go through negotiations last year, which helped them stave off many of the hospital’s concessions. “We knew what management wanted to take away and what to put on the table. It helped a lot that someone had negotiated ahead of us,” said Garzon.

The new contract ultimately made important gains, including a ten percent wage increase over the three-year life of the agreement, a bump in standby pay and a ratification bonus.

“This agreement is another win for our members,” said District 12 Director Bob LaVenture. “They are a vital part of keeping their patients safe and healthy, and they deserve fair compensation for their work.”

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USW Hurricane Harvey Victims Need Our Help http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-hurricane-harvey-victims-need-our-help Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:23:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-hurricane-harvey-victims-need-our-help Harvey

Our sisters and brothers in USW District 13 are once again in the throes of a natural disaster, this one caused by Hurricane Harvey. Although the full extent of the storm’s disastrous effects won’t be known for weeks, we already know that members of our USW family are in crisis right now. Thousands live and work in the direct path of this hurricane and from early reports, some have already lost their homes and vehicles. In some places, entire neighborhoods are under water.  Unfortunately, with more rain expected this week, the worst still may be yet to come. We are asking for your help with donations.

Donate

At times like these, our union tries to help as much as it can, and in the coming days and weeks, we will assess the needs of our members and their families.  When our members and communities are suffering, we must do our best to serve our sisters and brothers during the most difficult times of their lives.

The need is immediate, so please treat this as urgently as possible.  The USW has set up an online fund for members to donate money directly to the United Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Fund. Every dollar raised will go to Steelworkers in crisis.

In the past, we have overcome natural disasters by standing together and supporting each other. On behalf of the entire Steelworker family, Director Ruben Garza and District 13, thank you for continuing to prove that we are strongest when we are united.

Please click here to make your donation: http://usw.to/harveyrelief

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Letter from Director Ruben Garza - Our Brothers and Sisters Need Your Help http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/letter-from-director-ruben-garza-on-how-you-can-help-our-brothers-and-sisters-affected-by-harvey Tue, 29 Aug 2017 08:25:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/letter-from-director-ruben-garza-on-how-you-can-help-our-brothers-and-sisters-affected-by-harvey  

 

August 29, 2017

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Once again District 13 is being affected by a natural disaster, this one caused by Hurricane Harvey.  The flooding rains associated with this Hurricane on the Texas Gulf Coast is causing many of our members to suffer significant losses, and at this time is continuing to cause flooding across this area of Texas.

We will, as in the past, help out as much as we can and in the coming days try to see what the needs of the members and their families are.  We are asking for Locals not affected to consider sending donations.  Monetary donations can be sent to Jordy Richardson, Secretary/Treasurer of the District 13 Council, with a notation that it is for USW District 13 Disaster Relief Victims and mail to:

USW District 13 Council
P.O. Box 490
Gonzales, LA 70737

In the past whether it was hurricanes or tornadoes the members and Locals of District 13 and throughout the USW when asked have responded to help their fellow Union Brothers and Sisters in needWe are asking once again that those not affected please consider sending a donation.  You can also send donations to the USW Charitable Fund.  Donations can be made payable and mailed to the following:

United Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Fund
60 Boulevard of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Money can be raised through plant gate collections or from the Local’s General Fund.  The need is now so please treat this as urgently as possible and keep in mind it could be you or your Local in the future asking for assistance. Please let’s help our Brothers, Sisters, and their families in their time of need.

WE SAY WE ARE UNION LET’S ACT AS A UNION

In Solidarity,

 

Ruben Garza                                                 John H. Link, Jr.
       Director                                                  Assistant to the Director

 

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Local 12911-11 Ratifies First Contract http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/local-12911-11-ratifies-first-contract Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:18:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/local-12911-11-ratifies-first-contract Members of Local 12911-11 last week ratified a first contract that raises wages, maintains benefits and greatly improves working conditions.

The 12 members work in the nutrition and dietary departments at Hy-Lond Health Care Center in Modesto, Calif., a long-term elder care facility.

Local 12911 President Robert Easter said that one of the biggest concerns going into bargaining was the company’s desire to cap workers’ hours at 30-32 per week. The new contract maintains the 40-hour work week and standardizes other benefits and working conditions that were previously haphazard.

“They didn’t have any rules. The rules were whatever the company wanted them to be. The contract makes their jobs more sound,” Easter said.

The new agreement also includes a substantial raise in wages that is effective retroactively to January.

The workers were originally part of Local 12911-09, the unit that covers roughly 100 workers at Hy-Lond that ratified their first contract in January 2017. In April, Hy-Lond outsourced the nutrition and dietary jobs to Sodexo, necessitating a new unit and new negotiations.

Easter said they were able to time the expiration of the two contracts so that the two units can support each other in bargaining, even if they aren’t covered by the same agreement.

“The workers came out of this better than they were—much better,” Easter said.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the negotiating committee, this process went quickly and smoothly,” said District 12 Director Bob LaVenture. “This contract is the result of everyone pulling in the same direction.”

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USWCares: 2017 District 12 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Jim Williams http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/uswcares-2017-district-12-usw-jefferson-award-winner-jim-williams Fri, 25 Aug 2017 15:54:05 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/uswcares-2017-district-12-usw-jefferson-award-winner-jim-williams Jim Williams, president of Local 8599 in Fontana, Calif., is this year’s District 12 Jefferson Award winner for the seemingly endless list of projects he helps lead to benefit his community. To him, it’s more than just a pastime—it’s a calling.

“As a member of the community, I believe that we all should care and support each other wherever possible,” Jim said. “I believe we have an obligation as human beings to do this.”

Two years ago, Local 8599 combined the charitable efforts of their Women of Steel and their Civil and Human Rights committees to partner with the District 12 Civil and Human Rights committee to raise money to buy socks and other items for homeless shelters as well as the Child Welfare and Attendance Community Clothes Closet of the Fontana School District. Since starting the project, they have collected over 6,500 pairs of new socks in all sizes.

Jim’s local is also the founder of the Community Alliance for Fontana Students (CAFFS), which holds quarterly events for parents and students in their community. Their primary goal is to focus on the need for bilingual support for families within the school district as well as basic needs in the classroom, such as paper and pencils. The local also supports the 24-hour American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Fontana every year. There they participate in activities including supplying volunteers, serving food and selling toys.

None of the many charitable events Jim helps lead could be accomplished without all of the hard work for Local 8599 members. He loves being able to step out of the way to allow others to take initiative and to bring new ideas to the table. For him and for his fellow Steelworkers, the goal is always to do the greatest amount of good.

“My personal belief is that a local union is a crucial and dependable part of the community around it,” Jim said. “I am proud to say that the members of Local 8599 make this true every day.”

Jim Williams is just one of the many Steelworkers making a difference in the lives of others. If you know a Steelworker who deserves recognition for commendable community service, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards by clicking here.

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