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 California Legislature extends state's cap-and-trade program in rare bipartisan effort to address climate change http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/california-legislature-extends-states-cap-and-trade-program-in-rare-bipartisan-effort-to-address-climate-change Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:42:57 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/california-legislature-extends-states-cap-and-trade-program-in-rare-bipartisan-effort-to-address-climate-change California lawmakers voted Monday evening to extend the state’s premiere program on climate change, a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown that included unprecedented Republican support for fighting global warming.

In a break with party leaders and activists in California and Washington, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to continue the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The legislation would keep the 5-year-old program operating until 2030, providing a key tool for meeting the state’s ambitious goal for slashing emissions. Cap and trade also generates important revenue for building the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, another priority for the governor. Click here for more.

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Dad, baby battled cancer together now battling Senators for life-saving health care http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/dad-baby-battled-cancer-together-now-battling-senators-for-life-saving-health-care Fri, 14 Jul 2017 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/dad-baby-battled-cancer-together-now-battling-senators-for-life-saving-health-care Maggie and Ryan Link should have been celebrating life as newlyweds and new parents. But instead, this USW family from Ohio faced a nightmare: Ryan was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor first. Then baby Nathan. They thought this was the fight of their lives, but now they're battling U.S. Senators who this week could take away the hard-working family's health care along with 22 million other Americans. Watch their story then make a call to tell these senators to vote NO on the "Better Care Reconciliation Act."  

  • Ohio Sen. Rob Portman 1-844-913-7734
  • Maine Sen. Susan Collins: 1-844-285-0229
  • West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: 1-877-688-6816
  • Your Senator: 1-877-607-0785

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Local 8041 Signs New Contracts http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/local-8041-signs-new-contracts Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:10:26 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/local-8041-signs-new-contracts Two units of Local 8041 in Southern Pennsylvania last month ratified new contracts, increasing wages, preserving benefits, and making gains on non-economic issues.

Negotiations with Mon Valley Hospital, where the union represents some 520 health care workers, and Southwestern Pennsylvania Health Systems (SPHS), where there are another 19 USW members, began in May. The SPHS unit ratified their contract June 20, and workers at Mon Valley ratified ten days later.

Local 8041 President Rich McGinn attributes the smooth negotiations and favorable outcome to hard work and advanced planning on the part of the negotiating committees. “We met quite a few times on our own preparing,” said McGinn. “We went over everything in the contract that’s caused us grief in the past three years, anywhere there was a grey area, and we wrote down what we wanted.”

Members at Mon Valley Hospital fill some 115 separate job descriptions, from environmental aids, CNAs, and unit clerks, to X-ray, CT, ultrasound, and respiratory technicians, to those working in dietary, maintenance and laundry departments and others.

USW members with SPHS also work in a variety of positions, including medical assistants and other support staff and workers staffing the Westmorland County WIC program.

McGinn said that while he was obviously happy about the economic gains the local made, especially at Mon Valley, “I was pleased with some of the language we got into the contract on the non-economic side too.”

Workers at Mon Valley Hospital saw improvements to the attendance policy and better language covering part-time workers, holding the number of part-timers to the current level and providing an avenue for part time workers to eventually bid on jobs. The contract also provides more flexibility in retirement benefits, allowing pre-Medicare retirees to purchase insurance through the company plan. 

“We made important gains, and we hardly had any concessions,” said McGinn. “In this day and age if you can raise wages and hold your health care increases to a minimum you’re doing pretty good.”

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America Needs Fair Trade http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/america-needs-fair-trade Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:35:19 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/america-needs-fair-trade USW International Vice President Tom Conway and progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall last week discussed the national defense consequences of unfair trade and potential actions the administration could take to help remedy the trade imbalance.

One such tool is Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Section 232 authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct in-depth investigations to determine the effects of imports on national security. The president can then take action if the Commerce Department finds that America is threatened.  

“Trade has been fundamentally a broken system,” said Conway. “This 232 can be designed to take a broad look at America’s critical infrastructure and its ability to meet its national defense needs.”

National defense means more than just the military, said Conway, although the military also needs steel and aluminum, two goods that are currently under Section 232 investigations. National defense also requires having stable systems like roads and bridges, electrical grids and water distribution.

“Your national defense should include your national infrastructure and your ability to move your equipment around your country,” said Conway. To do that effectively, the administration must protect America’s capacity to make steel and aluminum.

Conway said that fixing unfair trade could even work within the traditional Republican priority of cutting taxes.

“You want to do something as far as the tax policy? Give a company a tax incentive to move back to America and to set their factory up here,” Conway said.

“There is a core group of people we believe in the White House who understand this is an important fight to carry forward, and hopefully they prevail upon this president to do the right thing,” Conway said.

To listen to the full discussion, click below.

Supplemental Material:

Trump Considers Hard Line on Chinese Steel in Advance of G20 Summit

Update on Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Investigations

Trump Planning Steel Tariffs and Maybe a Trade War, to the Horror of Most of His Cabinet

449 - Remarks Upon Signing the Trade Expansion Act

This remote factory is where Trump may finally draw the line on trade

American Companies Still Make Aluminum. In Iceland.

President Gerard's Blog, "American Workers Seek Enforcement, Not Protection"

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USW Cares: District 8 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Craig Bailey http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-district-8-usw-jefferson-award-winner-craig-bailey Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-district-8-usw-jefferson-award-winner-craig-bailey Craig Bailey of Local Union 1693 is the District 8 USW Jefferson Award winner for starting a hugely popular and successful fundraiser in Louisville, Ky., that helps kids with cancer go to camp.

Six years ago Craig became inspired to make an impact on the lives of kids who are fighting cancer after watching an episode of Extreme Home Makeover where there was a little girl struggling through expensive cancer treatment that created financial strife for her family.

Every year since he started in 2011, Craig has organized a motorcycle poker run, live auction, and raffles as part of the fundraiser he created to pay for kids with cancer to go to Camp Quality Kentuckiana. This year, Craig’s efforts raised $71,000.

That $71,000 will pay for 71 children to go to Camp Quality this summer out of the 95 total attending, as the cost per child is $1,000.

At Camp Quality, children who are usually confined to hospitals and beds get to play outside, go to baseballs games, do crafts, swim in ponds, roast marshmallows by a campfire, bowl, fish and compete in talent shows, all with kids who are going through what they are and six oncology nurses to chaperone the fun.

Craig’s Poker Run, auction and raffles are so successful in large part because he’s partnered with local businesses to have all the prizes, food and venues donated. Participants have the chance to win trips to Cancun, jewelry and other valuables that have all been donated for the cause. With no cost to Craig for the events, one hundred percent of the money goes straight to Camp Quality.

Most of Craig’s support come from friends and their families who ride in the poker run, bet at the auction and buy raffle tickets. “This would not be as successful as it is if it wasn’t for these people,” said Craig, “Their hearts are in it and I have to give credit to them. It’s a team effort.”

Camp Quality Kentuckiana is now the largest camp of its kind because of Craig’s poker run that has raised enough money to send an increasing number of kids to camp each year. With the total funds he’s raised in six years, Craig has paid for 222 kids to attend camp and he has contributed more than any other of the camp’s donor groups.

“We could raise millions and millions of dollars and it still wouldn’t be enough,” said Craig. “I am blessed. My kid’s healthy, my God-daughter’s healthy, and I’m blessed to help anyone else’s sick child.”

Craig gets to know many of the kids at Camp Quality as well as their parents. The first camper he met was Nola, and he’s proud to say that she beat cancer and returned to Camp Quality as a companion.

This year’s poker run was in honor of a 10-year old boy named Sam. “He’s right in the thick of it now,” said Craig, “We did this year’s run to support him.”

Craig Bailey is one of hundreds of USW members making an impact on 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 Awardshttp://usw.to/rq.

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District 2 Leadership Scholarship Applications for Class Year 2018 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-2-leadership-scholarship-applications-for-class-year-2018 Fri, 07 Jul 2017 11:07:14 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/district-2-leadership-scholarship-applications-for-class-year-2018 The USW Leadership Scholarship Program is designed for future leaders.  It is not necessary for individuals to have held office in their local union. Applicants should have a desire to work towards building their Local and the USW. The program focuses on the training of strong activists and, must have the Director’s recommendation and approval to participate in the program.

Interested candidates should forward their completed application to Director Michael Bolton at the District Office (1244A Midway Road – Menasha, WI  54952).   Once the application is received, you will be contacted to arrange for an interview prior to being recommended or approved to participate in the program.

Click Here for the Application

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USW Cares: 2017 District 6 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Darren Green http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-6-usw-jefferson-award-winner-darren-green Fri, 07 Jul 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-6-usw-jefferson-award-winner-darren-green Darren GreenWhen Darren Green noticed his local union hall was run down, he led a project to help spruce them up. When he realized children in his community were going without school supplies, he led efforts to buy more than 1,000 backpacks and load them with educational necessities. When he wanted to change the perception of labour, he created and pushed the #CommunityMatters hashtag on social media.

“To me, it’s the most important thing that we do,” said Green, president of Local 5328 in Hamilton, Ontario. “If people need help, they call me or the Steelworkers.”

For his leadership in his union and his community, Green is District 6’s 2017 USW Cares Jefferson Awards winner.

“Darren is a very respected leader in this community and is always there to support those in need,” said Sylvia Boyce, Green’s union sister and District 6’s Health and Safety Coordinator, “He does all of this for others, not for self-gratification or awards. He’s truly a remarkable human being.”

Green is also president of the Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council, representing workers at ArcelorMittal Hamilton East. As President, he oversees thousands of union members from a variety of employers. He is also currently the labour representative on the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Workforce Development, chairman of the Building Committee at the United Steelworkers Centre in Hamilton, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Golden Horseshoe Credit Union. His involvement with the union began in 1988, and he has since held a variety of executive positions before becoming president in 2007.

Green previously served as chairman of the Political Action and Social Services Committees at the local Labour Council and was director for the local United Way. Upon the creation of the Youth Worker Awareness program, Green organized and taught a group of instructors to educate thousands of local high school students about the importance of health and safety. Green has also organized the Union Kids Christmas Party since 1990.

As President of the Area Council, he noticed some of the spaces they spent their time in could use some updating, so Green worked to renovate the union hall and offices. Because of this, rentals have increased, which helped the Council become more involved in the community.

The Area Council also created a float for the annual Christmas parade, where children from the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs and their parents take part. This effort helped make union members more active in the community. Every year, the Steelworkers look forward to sharing the float with the children and passing out candy.

The Area Council has also created a project known as Operation Backpack, where Green, along with other volunteers, fills backpacks with school necessities to send to needy children. In the first year, he helped to fill 92 backpacks, but the project has attracted attention and has since expanded to filling 1,000 backpacks last year thanks to sponsors and people like Green.

Green also helped to create a sense of community within five local unions in the area by organizing an annual Labor Day picnic, where he provides meals for 200 families while also organizing entertainment and prizes for the children at the event.

One projects closest to Green’s heart is the ‘Community Matters’ program that focuses on assisting people with anything they may need such as collecting donations or organizing events to help bring the community together. The Area Council currently partners with different groups in the community to spread the message.

After joining the Mayor’s Committee Against Racism in the mid-90s, he helped manage and organize the first International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Hamilton, which helps create a sense of togetherness, acceptance, and friendship. Green hopes that this event will continue to grow in the future.

Green also volunteers at food banks and homeless shelters and supports other charities whenever he can – a perfect example of how much Steelworkers contribute to their local communities.

If you know a Steelworker who deserves recognition for their community service, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate them for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards: http://usw.to/rq.

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Barbecue brings fellowship, bargaining update to 8888 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/barbecue-brings-fellowship-bargaining-update-to-8888 Wed, 05 Jul 2017 14:44:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/barbecue-brings-fellowship-bargaining-update-to-8888 Who knew bargaining and barbecue went together so well? 

Just ask the shipbuilders of USW Local 8888 in Newport News, Virginia. More than 700 union members turned out for a special cookout on June 28 to hear updates from negotiators working on a new collective bargaining agreement. It was a timely show of unity and spirit, because the current contract expires July 9, 2017.  “Rock the Boat” buttons were quickly snatched up and 135 new activists were recruited for solidarity actions at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Local 8888 Negotiations 2017

Local 8888 President Arnold Outlaw fired up the crowd when he said, “This company has made a lot money off of our sweat, and we want our fair share, not excuses!” 

The union’s chief negotiator, Fred Redmond, framed bargaining with the company as “tough, and slow-moving.” 

Rising health care costs are a major roadblock, with the company wanting to shift more burden onto hourly employees.

But Redmond, who negotiated the last two Local 8888 contracts and is the Steelworkers International Vice President for Human Affairs, said the union’s negotiating team is strongly resisting the company’s position. Redmond also assured the crowd that union negotiators would work hard to try to secure fair pay raises. 

He also thanked the membership for showing enthusiasm and solidarity by wearing “Rock the Boat” buttons, participating in sign actions, and passing out flyers.

 “Believe me, it means a lot,” he said. “The company is watching, looking for any weakness or divisions. We’re going to need your support even more as we tackle the big issues to bring back a fair contract for ratification.”

Local 8888 -- one of the USW's largest locals -- represents 9,700 hourly employees at the shipyard, which is the sole designer, builder and refueler of naval aircraft carriers and one of two providers of navy nuclear submarines.

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USW Cares: 2017 District 4 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Brigitte Womer http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-4-usw-jefferson-award-winner-brigitte-womer Wed, 05 Jul 2017 10:06:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-4-usw-jefferson-award-winner-brigitte-womer Brigitte Womer of Local Union 1000 is District 4’s USW Jefferson Award winner for leading the local’s Women of Steel and Next Gen committees in various community service projects that rebranded the union in Corning, N.Y. as community-builders.

In 2016, Womer was Co-Chair to Women of Steel and Coordinator to Next Generation in Local 1000.  She helped lead the two committees through multiple small and large-scale projects that put more than $34,500 into the community just that year. 

They donated gift cards to the local veterans affairs hospital, which helped veterans buy medication and other necessities. They raised $10,000 selling breast cancer awareness shirts for the Susan G. Komen Foundation of the Southern Tier, making them the Foundation’s second largest contributor. They even hosted a Halloween carnival at the union hall for more than 200 kids where games, prizes, cotton candy, popcorn, and drinks were all free to the kids and their families.

Additionally, Womer and her fellow Next Geners started a Global Solidarity Day by going to the homes of retired Steelworkers, veterans and their widows to do physically demanding tasks. The volunteers take care of retirees’ yards, paint houses, build sheds, prepare homes for winter, and cut wood for winter heating.

Womer also participates in the local’s most popular charity, their Holiday Adoption Program.  Every Christmas the entire local ‘adopts’ all of the abused and neglected children in the Schuyler County Foster Care system. “Last year, there were more adopters than kids,” Womer proudly explained, “and our members don’t skimp when it comes to giving these kids a Christmas.”

The kids are asked for a “need” list and a “want” list, and they get pretty much everything that’s on their lists, from clothes and books to iPads and laptops. “Our members look forward to this event and Global Solidarity Day the most,” said Womer, “We love spoiling those kids who would otherwise not even have a Christmas.”

As an organizer, Womer made being on-the-road into an individual service project by traveling with homemade “care bags” full of snacks, soap, water bottles and other things to leave with the homeless she encountered at stop-lights and traffic jams – she lost count of how many she’s given out after 100.

“Between helping organize the Global Solidarity Day, Christmas shopping for children who wouldn't have a Christmas, and carrying around bags of necessities for the homeless, Brigitte has had an extreme impact on our local community,” Crystal Naylor said of her union sister.

Womer gives all the credit to her fellow activists, though: “I can’t say enough about the committee members and our local’s members, honestly. I’m accepting this award on their behalf.”

Brigitte Womer is one of hundreds of USW members stepping-up for their communities. If you know a Steelworker who deserves recognition for their 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 http://usw.to/rq.

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USW Cares: 2017 District 5 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Marien Landry http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-5-usw-jefferson-award-winner-marien-landry Fri, 30 Jun 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-5-usw-jefferson-award-winner-marien-landry Marien LandryMarien Landry, a retired member of USW Local Union 6951 in Quebec, Canada, was the District 5 Jefferson Award Winner for his work constructing education and health care facilities to benefit the children of Guatemala.

Landry worked for 30 years at ArcelorMittal as an inspector and casting tank preparer.

When Landry first visited Guatemmala seven years ago, he recognized the need for school buildings and adequate health care facilities. In an effort to create a better life for the people of the Central American country, he created “The Guatemala Project.”

Since retiring, Landry has worked on a variety of projects constructing and renovating vital buildings in small communities. He says the children of Guatemala are his main inspiration.

“My main goal is to give education to the greatest number of children by building schools,” said Landry, “Guatemala is very disadvantaged. They have a great need for help to be able to educate their children.”

Landry spends approximately six months a year in Guatemala and has successfully constructed 10 new school houses. In addition, he has renovated dozens of other facilities including an infirmary, physiotherapy and osteopathy center, and buildings to help care for disabled children.

In order to finance these projects, Landry spends a great deal of his time in his hometown Vecheres, Quebec organizing fundraisers for his organization. By selling paintings created by his brother, hosting events such as motorcycle runs, along with the assistance from the USW, he has currently raised over $165,000.

Despite all he has accomplished, Landry, shows no signs of slowing down. He hopes to build new schools in the cities of La Cueva, La Cumbre and Juvente this year. Provided he can continue to raise the funds, he hopes to continue these types of projects far into the future.

“I intend to help these people as long as my health will allow me and as long as I have the funds to carry out the projects,” Landry stated.

The time and effort that Marien Landry puts into his projects in Guatemala is just one example of the amazing things Steelworkers do to help others in need.

If you know a Steelworker who is doing something amazing in their community, we want to know about it! Use the #USWCares hashtag and give a shout-out to @Steelworkers when you post on social media. To nominate a fellow member or local for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards, visit http://usw.to/rq.

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Senate moving fast on health care; please make a call this week http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/senate-moving-fast-on-health-care-please-make-a-call-this-week Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:39:02 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/senate-moving-fast-on-health-care-please-make-a-call-this-week The Senate is pushing hard this week for a vote on their health care proposal, which they are calling the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

The bill shares many similarities with the widely unpopular House bill that the President called “mean.” Millions will lose coverage. The wealthiest get tax breaks. We will pay for it because the excise tax remains.

  • 13: Number of U.S. Senators who shaped the recently-released bill in secret.
  • $5.3 million: Average individual net worth of those Senators.*
  • Billions: Amount of tax breaks going to the wealthiest because of this bill.
  • 40 percent: Union members and others with quality, employer-based health insurance plans will be subjected to a 40 percent excise tax to pay for the Senate bill.**
  • 22 million: Number of people who will lose health care if this bill becomes law according to the Congressional Budget Office. 
  • 0: Number of Senators who will lose their health care if this becomes law.
  • 5x: Rate at which older Americans can be charged more for insurance compared to younger Americans (five times as much).
  • 2 out of 3: Portion of seniors in nursing homes who are served by Medicaid. The Senate bill contains massive cuts to Medicaid.
  • More than 1/3: Number of children covered by Medicaid that this bill puts at risk.
  • 10: Categories of “essential health benefits” that could no longer be included in health care plans if a state decides to opt out (benefits include hospitalization, emergency care, pregnancy and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment and more).

Please join the fight to oppose this bad bill that delivers for the wealthiest, while harming everyone else. 

  • Call your Senators at 877-607-0785. The number will use your zip code to connect you.
  • Make sure to tell them who you are, where you’re from and to oppose the health care bill.
  • Call back a second time to be routed to your other Senator.

Note: There’s potential for high call volume this week, so some calls may not be connected.

*Net worth compiled from 2014 public filing data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
**The excise tax – sometimes called the “Cadillac Tax” – is a 40 percent tax on insurers above a certain dollar limit on health insurance plans. We expect that this tax will be passed on to us.

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USW Cares: 2017 USW Jefferson Awards Champion Volunteer, Nancy McCurrach http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-usw-jefferson-awards-champion-volunteer-nancy-mccurrach Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:33:45 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-usw-jefferson-awards-champion-volunteer-nancy-mccurrach Nancy McCurrach of Local Union 1944 is the District 3 USW Jefferson Award winner and the USW Champion Volunteer. She will represent the Steelworkers at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony on June 22 where she will be eligible to win one of their top awards.

In December 2015 while attending an Amnesty International fundraiser, Nancy heard heart-breaking, first-hand stories from people of foreign countries, including a man named Mohamad Khadmyani, who were imprisoned and tortured for years because they protested civil injustices or had opposing political views.

Around that time, she heard news that thousands of Syrians would arrive in Canada as they fled their war-torn homeland -- 2,400 people were destined for sanctuary in British Columbia, 680 of whom were government-assisted refugees.

Nancy and her friends who are active in the community were moved by the stories they heard at the fundraiser and knew they had to find a way to help the ~20 Syrian & Turkish families taking refuge in and around Port Couquitlam, Nancy’s hometown.

Through their efforts, the Tri-Cities Refugee Welcome Wagon was established. The group tries to make displaced people feel welcome in Canada by integrating them into the culture and lives of their community members and providing them with basic essentials.

For their first fundraiser, they invited local politicians to speak and share information about what different levels of government are doing to support refugees entering Canada.  They raised $4,500 which paid for urgent medical treatment and staples for the families, including car seats, transit passes, food, etc. Beyond that, the group takes time to befriend and support their new neighbors by eating meals with them, driving them to school, and teaching them English.

Khadmyani, who now works for an immigrant and refugee settlement agency in British Columbia, acts as Nancy’s liaison to the refugees; he connects Nancy with those in her area who would be receptive to help from the Welcome Wagon.

Currently, the group is building a network of people who get refugees involved in the community and who refugees feel comfortable going to for help.

Nancy is a 4-time cornea transplant recipient due to a rare disease called Keratoconus, and despite her own adversity, she works tirelessly as a volunteer, leader and member to many community and labor organizations outside of the Welcome Wagon. 

She is a 7-time Community Spirit Award and belongs to a women's group that supports young women who struggle with poverty and addiction. Once a month, she prepares meals to feed more than 60 women and children at a women’s shelter called Warm Place. There, she also plays games, converses and shares compassion with those who are suffering in her community.

UPDATE: Nancy won a National Jefferson Award at the ceremony on Thursday, June 22. For more information, click here.

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USW Cares: Member from Canada Wins Top Jefferson Award Honor for Community Service Nancy McCurrach Wins for ‘Refugee Welcome Wagon’ http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-member-from-canada-wins-top-jefferson-award-honor-for-community-service-nancy-mccurrach-wins-for-refugee-welcome-wagon Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-member-from-canada-wins-top-jefferson-award-honor-for-community-service-nancy-mccurrach-wins-for-refugee-welcome-wagon Contact: Connie Mabin, USW, 412-562-2616, cmabin@usw.org

A United Steelworkers member from Canada who leads efforts to help refugees has won top honors from the Jefferson Awards Foundation, marking the second year in a row the union has taken a national prize for its community service work.

Nancy McCurrach, a member of Telecommunications Workers USW Local 1944 in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, on Thursday night was among more than 11 local grassroots heroes honored for the significant impact they had in their communities.

McCurrach founded Tri-Cities Refugee Welcome Wagon, a group of friends and co-workers who felt compelled to help Syrian and Turkish refugees who are making Port Coquitlam their new home. The group raised $4,500 to pay for refugees’ urgent medical needs and to buy strollers, transit passes, food, and more. The group befriends and supports their new neighbors by eating meals with them, driving them to school, and teaching them English.

“Nancy and her project represent what our union is all about: welcoming all with open arms and working for better lives for all people, regardless of where they come from,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. “We are humbled that the USW has taken the Jefferson Award’s top award for the second-straight year, but the recognition isn’t why we’re so active in our communities. It’s because it’s the right thing to do.”

McCurrach is a four-time cornea transplant recipient due to a rare disease called Keratoconus. Despite her own adversity, she volunteers tirelessly for many community organizations, including a group that uplifts women and girls who struggle with poverty and addiction. She also prepares meals to feed more than 60 women and children and plays games, mingles, and shares compassion with those who are suffering in her community. 

“I’m so grateful that my union supports members like me who want to make a difference through community service,” McCurrach said. “I’m so honored to be a national Jefferson Award winner, but even more honored to be a member of an organization that shares my values and works tirelessly to make the world a better place – at work and in the places where we live and work.”

The USW is a Champion with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to building a culture of service through a variety of programs and awards. As a Champion, the union was able to create a formal structure to allow members and retirees to be nominated for Jefferson Awards and put a spotlight on USW Cares efforts in communities across North America. The program includes training to help build leadership and other skills through effective community service.

Thursday’s Jefferson Awards Foundation gala in Washington, D.C., also honored co-founder of BET Sheila Johnson, Major League Baseball executive and MLB Hall of Fame inductee Joe Torre, former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, and Black Lives Matter Founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi.

McCurrach was selected as the USW’s overall Jefferson Awards Foundation Champion volunteer for 2017. The union had over 150 nominations from each of its districts in the United States and Canada and from among its Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR). The 2017 winners are:

District 1 (Ohio):  Deidria Collins, Local 731;  volunteers with Five Loaves Chillicothe to aid the less fortunate through twice-monthly food donations, providing children with necessities, and providing meals to local homeless community.

District 2 (Michigan, Wisconsin): Jackie Anklam, Local 9899; led Women of Steel efforts to provide clean water and lead testing kits to those affected by the Flint water crisis.

District 3 (British Columbia, Canada): Nancy McCurrach, Local Union 1944; created “Tri-Cities Refugee Welcome Wagon,” a group of friends and co-workers who are committed to helping Syrian and Turkish refugees feel welcome in their new community.

District 4 (New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Puerto Rico): Brigitte Wormer with Women of Steel and Next Gen, Local Union 1000, where a core value is helping others in need; in 2016, the committees contributed over $34,500 to the community through various events.

District 5 (Quebec, Canada): Marien Landry, Local Union 6951; collected $165,000 in donations for humanitarian projects, built 10 schools and renovated several others in Guatemala.

District 6 (Ontario, Canada): Darren Green, Local Union 5328; leads efforts to feed the homeless and volunteers at local shelters. He raised over $400,000 for food banks and organized a backpack event for underprivileged children in the community. Green also instructed anti-harassment courses at over 50 workplaces in Ontario and Alberta and leads anti-racism efforts.

District 7 (Indiana, Illinois): Ephrin Jenkins, Local Union 1014; lead organizer of "Black Labor Week" in Gary Indiana, a weeklong event to uplift, validate, and empower the black community and educate and engage everyone on civil rights, labor and social justice issues.  

District 8 (West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky):  Craig Bailey, Local Union 1693; created Poker Run, Live Auction, cookout and raffles to raise money for Camp Quality Kentuckiana, an organization that provides kids with cancer a weeklong camping experience with a mentor and also provides families assistance with meals and needs during their hospital stays.

District 9 (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee):  Linnea Hector, Local Union 9489, U.S. Virgin Islands; part of team that got Virgin Islands’ minimum wage raised; active in Women of Steel, which partners with local nonprofits such as the Women's Coalition Against Domestic Violence and youth violence.

District 10 (Pennsylvania): John and Jim Beidler, Local Union 10-00086; through their local’s Next Generation committee, they lead several projects including roadside clean ups, fundraisers for charities including ACCT, which feeds and shelters animals and stocks food pantries for low-income pet owners.

District 11 (Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa):  Local Union 105 Women of Steel Committee; raised over $16,000 this year through bake sales for various charities including breast cancer and women’s heart disease awareness, homeless veterans, animal shelters, and the elderly.

District 12 (California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho): James Williams, Local Union 8599; worked with Women of Steel and other locals to collect over 4,000 pairs of socks for the homeless. He also organized backpack drives and worked with a group of unionized dental offices to distribute more than 1,700 toys and gifts to 450 needy families in Fontana, Calif.

District 13 (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas):  South Louisiana Women of Steel Regional Council; works on various community projects, including helping renovate a domestic violence shelter.

SOAR (tie):  Don Kellner, Chapter 8-1 in Maryland; during the steel crisis of the 1980s, he organized a food bank for unemployed steelworkers, working with the Maryland Food Bank; continued working with food bank for decades after.

Lena Sutton, Chapter 10 in Ontario, Canada; leads several volunteer projects, including raising $30,000 through motorcycle poker runs, assisting USW retirees with tax filings and helping retirees live in own home.

Staff: Paulette Batissti, International Organizing Department, Local Union 3657; among other projects, she sits on several boards for nonprofits to help guide them, including the Center for Hope and Just Harvest, organizations dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty. Through Women of Steel and other programs, she also helps train hundreds of members to do effective community service.

About the USW: The USW is North America’s largest industrial union, representing 1.2 million active and retired workers in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply, and the energy-producing industries. For more information: @Steelworkers on social networks and www.usw.org

About the Jefferson Awards Foundation: The Jefferson Awards Foundation is committed to tapping into the incredible capacity and spirit of Americans. Its youth programs, Students In Action, LEAD360, and GlobeChangers, support, train and empower youth to be leaders and changemakers. Its vast network of Media Partners honors local unsung heroes who are the best of their communities. Its Champions and National Partners are engaging, activating and celebrating their millions of constituents and employees. All together, working to build a culture of service in the country. For more information: www.jeffersonawards.org, @JeffersonAwards.

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USW and Partners Open Computer Lab in Local Pittsburgh Neighborhood http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-and-partners-open-computer-lab-in-local-pittsburgh-neighborhood Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:34:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-and-partners-open-computer-lab-in-local-pittsburgh-neighborhood The United Steelworkers (USW) partnered with several local organizations to open a computer lab in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Monday, June 19, as part of a larger initiative to form a community workforce alliance in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The coalition so far consists of the USW, PACE (Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise), Mon Valley Circles, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Its goal is to better the lives of those living in disadvantaged communities in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by improving educational outcomes and providing professional opportunities and resources. Comp Lab

“People have been pushed out of the city due to gentrification and now live out in the valley,” said DeWitt Walton, vice president of the Pittsburgh A. Philip Randolph Institute. “We need to reach out to them and create opportunities for them. This is where the alliance comes in.”

Erica Maloney from Mon Valley Circles, which works to connect people across socioeconomic lines in an effort to move people and families out of poverty, emphasized the necessity for groups like hers and the Steelworkers to come together and the power that comes along with it.

“We are working with a lot of folks in disadvantaged areas who don’t have access to a lot of services,” Maloney said. “This is giving us an opportunity to really have some synergy.”

The ten computers donated by the USW will reside at Brothers and Sisters Emerging, a nonprofit that serves as an umbrella organization to Garfield Youth Sports. Their vision is that through sports, mentoring, and advocacy, youth and their families can achieve successful educational performance and attain a solid economic future. This is one of the common goals shared by all of the organizations involved in this budding workforce coalition.

“We need citizens to come together to build the next generation of kids,” said Leo W. Gerard, president of the USW. “Education is one way to do that. It’s about building alliances and making a statement about where our society ought to be.”

The alliance plans to expand their reach into the greater Pittsburgh and Allegheny County areas, but starting locally in a neighborhood full of promise that was so hard hit by gentrification was a critical first move.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to work with all of these amazing organizations,” said Walton. “This is just another step on our journey.”

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Send a note to the White House to protect America’s critical infrastructure and defense needs http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/send-a-note-to-the-white-house-to-protect-americas-critical-infrastructure-and-defense-needs Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:24:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/send-a-note-to-the-white-house-to-protect-americas-critical-infrastructure-and-defense-needs In April, we stood with President Trump when he called for an investigation to examine the importance of steel to our national security.

We said then and believe now that it’s about time we have actions such as this from the White House to remind people that a strong steel industry, from the mines to the mills, is the backbone of our country, our infrastructure and our military.

We want to let President Trump know we’re still with him on this action and urge him to keep his promise to America’s working people to protect and create family-sustaining manufacturing jobs.

Click here to send the President a note letting him know you support this investigation. 

On Twitter?

You can also send a note to the President on Twitter! Copy and paste the tweets below when you’re drafting a new tweet. Feel free to download the graphic to include in your tweets. 

We’re with you on this @realDonaldTrump. Please enact a strong 232 solution & protect America’s national security interests.

A healthy, vital steel industry will protect our nation & help grow manufacturing, @realDonaldTrump. Please enact a strong 232 solution.

. @realDonaldTrump, I agree we need a strong & broad 232 steel study outcome that protects America’s critical infrastructure & defense needs!

Click the picture to download.

232 Investigation Share Graphic

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USW Helps ‘EMS Workers Bill of Rights’ Advance to California Senate http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-helps-ems-workers-bill-of-rights-advance-to-california-senate Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:20:50 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-helps-ems-workers-bill-of-rights-advance-to-california-senate Health care workers marked a huge accomplishment last week when the California Assembly overwhelmingly passed AB 263, also referred to as the EMS Workers Bill of Rights.

Members from across District 12 began mobilizing in February to help push the bill, which formalizes workplace rights and protections for first responders, including prescribed meal breaks and rest periods, more rigorous safety standards, and greater access to mental health resources.

The USW is now gearing up for the second phase of getting the bill passed into law as it heads to the California Senate.

Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, who himself spent 32 years working as an EMT, unveiled the Bill of Rights at a press conference, just as District 12 was holding its Health Care Workers Council (HCWC) meeting. The group viewed this as a perfect opportunity to advance one of their longstanding goals.

The council lobbied at legislative offices in the state capitol and called upon locals throughout California to help.

“A group of us went in February and spoke with Mr. Rodriguez, and it was very empowering because he understood, not just in a hearsay way but because he had actually been in the field,” said Shawna Shovelski, site vice president for USW local 12-911.

“It is so great to find someone who is listening to our voices about what’s happening to us out on the streets.”

In addition to lobbying lawmakers, Shovelski said they also began to spread the word to other USW members in their local’s EMS units. “We started talking about it amongst ourselves, and we put it all over our companies’ Facebook pages to spread the word.”

Members also worked to sustain the lobbying effort, building on the momentum from the District 12 HCWC meeting. Diana Gandara, Rapid Response coordinator for USW local 7600 and a Kaiser Permanente employee, spent months spreading the union’s message lobbying in Rodriquez’s district, where she resides.

“We are fortunate to have a close relationship with Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez,” Gandara said. “Freddie uniquely understands the issues and connections between us. These EMS protections benefit all of us. We are in this together.”

District 12 Rapid Response Coordinator Catherine Houston kept district activists both in and outside the health care sector up to date on the bill’s progress. When it finally came up for a vote in the assembly, the union set up a toll free number so that members throughout California could call and express support for the bill.

“Last week was very critical for us because we needed to ensure we had the votes to get this passed out of the assembly,” said Houston. “We activated all our amazing members, asking them to please make calls so we could see AB 263 successfully advance. Now we can lay the groundwork to maximize our efforts on the senate side. Our goal is to see this signed into law by the governor this year. That will be our true victory for EMS workers.”

“Even a small number of people personally contacting their representatives via a phone call or in a district visit can make a big difference in passing a crucial bill like this,” Houston said. “Our members are their constituents, and they hold more power with their legislators than they realize.”

First responders working for private companies often work long hours under stressful conditions, and, as several recent studies have shown, this takes a considerable toll on workers’ physical and mental health. On a day-to-day level, first responders are often posted for long hours in unsafe areas, without access to food or restrooms. The stress wears on many first responders. This has made protections like those in the EMS bill all the more important.

“You have no idea what you’re walking into you when you respond to a call,” said Shovelski. “Maybe someone’s drunk and irate. Some units have even been shot at.”

The EMS bill addresses many of these concerns, but there is still more work to be done if the bill is to pass the California Senate.

Anyone living or working in California can help to pass AB 263, the EMS Workers Bill of Rights, by calling your state senator toll free at 855-572-9543. The system will automatically route you to the appropriate office based upon your zip code. You should also ask to speak to the office of the Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León to express your support for the bill. Calls should be made prior to July 21, when the Senate summer recess commences.

If the bill is successful in California, the union plans to work for similar legislation in other places. “I would love to see this bill replicated in every state,” Houston said.

“Every day first responders put their lives on the line just doing their jobs,” said District 12 Director Bob LaVenture. “Our members take great pride in their work, and it is imperative that they be safe and protected. The passage of this bill would be the first step toward securing protections for all EMS workers in California.”

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USW Cares: 2017 District 2 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Jackie Anklam http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-2-usw-jefferson-award-winner-jackie-anklam Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:41:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-cares-2017-district-2-usw-jefferson-award-winner-jackie-anklam Jackie Anklam of Local Union 9899 was chosen as District 2’s USW Jefferson Award winner for her heroic work bringing safe drinking water to the people in Flint, Mich., when a state of emergency was declared due to water contamination.

Anklam is an environmental technician at Saint Maries Hospital in the city of Saginaw, Flint’s neighbor to the North West.

“When the Flint water deal happened here, I grew up outside of Flint, I sat back and analyzed the situation and thought to myself: nobody in America should turn their faucet on and have contaminated water come out. So, I decided to do something.”

At the height of the crisis, the people of Flint couldn’t drink tap water, wash their dishes, wash their clothes or brush their teeth for fear of further harm from the lead-contaminated water.

Anklam contacted District 2 Women of Steel Coordinator Linda Lucas and asked if there were any lead-detection kits left over from the USW’s “Get the Lead Out” campaign in 2008. The two women took the leftover kits and got to work coordinating a water drop-off at Local 12075 in Flint.

She then appealed to her own county’s health department for help, and they agreed to provide faucet filters for the homes of Steelworkers affected by lead-contaminated water.

Union Bond

Anklam began collecting money, cases of water, clothes and baby wipes from USW locals and other unions in her area.

“Locals from all over poured in money. We used it to purchase Brita water filters, cases of water, sanitary wipes, paper plates… Anything we could think of that they [Flint residents] were living without because using faucet water wasn’t an option.”

For the first drop-off, 45 Women of Steel and their families along with Saginaw County Health Department staff gathered at Local 12075’s hall in Flint for a membership meeting where Anklam gave a “Get the Lead Out” presentation, the health department explained how to install and use the water filters and the local was treated to pizza and cookies.

Volunteers made a total of three drop-offs to Flint. United Autoworkers, LIUNA, and United Food & Commercial Workers Union locals in the area not only helped by donating but by storing water, arranging for trucks to transport it and loading it into members’ and residents’ cars.

Due to the generosity of unions in the Western Michigan area, the project overflowed with water and filters, so Anklam was able to extend aid to the broader community of Flint.

“It was hard-working union members going door to door to get safe water to these people. We loaded their cars with as much water as they wanted and still had pallets left over that we took to the Michigan Eastern Food Bank where we gave lines of cars as many cases as they could hold.”



Keeping the Legacy Strong

Anklam inherited her love and loyalty for the union from her father, who was a member of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

“When I left my house for the first day of my first job, my dad said to me, ‘You’re going to a non-union shop. Keep your mouth shut and your head down, because you don’t have a voice there.’”

Anklam was very active in organizing Saint Maries in 2003 and serves as the president of her local. She still carries the sentiment her dad gave her a long time ago: “Without a union you don’t have a voice. Without our union, the working class wouldn’t be where they are today. I love my union, and I couldn’t imagine my life without my union.”

USW Cares

Jackie Anklam’s response to Flint, Mich.’s water crisis is just one example of the impressive work hundreds of USW members do to give back to their communities.

If you know a Steelworker who is doing something amazing in their community, we want to know about it! Use the #USWCares hashtag and give a shout-out to @Steelworkers when you post on social media. To nominate a fellow member or local for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awards, visit http://usw.to/rq.

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USW Members Attend Tesla Meeting http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-members-attend-tesla-meeting Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:56:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/usw-members-attend-tesla-meeting Local 326 members, from left, Mike Miller, Mike Avila, and Tyson BagleyThree USW members who work at the Phillips 66 oil refinery in Rodeo, Calif., attended the Tesla annual shareholders’ meeting on June 6 to deliver a message of solidarity with workers at Tesla’s SolarCity solar roofing tile factory in Buffalo, N.Y.

Local 326 President Mike Miller, along with members Mike Avila and Tyson Bagley (pictured, from left) and USW staff member Shawn Gilchrist, sought to confront the company’s leaders over wages and working conditions for Tesla employees in Buffalo as the USW attempts the organize the factory.

The opening of the Buffalo factory faced a number of delays since Tesla, the electric vehicle maker led by inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk, acquired the solar panel producer in November. Originally, jobs at the factory were expected to pay about $65,000 per year. Now, Tesla says it intends to pay wages of $12.50 per hour, or $26,000 per year.

The company required questions to be submitted several days in advance via Twitter, which ultimately prevented the USW delegation from asking questions about the situation in Buffalo. Still, Miller, who has served as Local 326 president for 8 years, said he was proud to stand up on behalf of his fellow workers at the meeting, held in Mountain View, Calif.

“They say an injury to one is an injury to all, so we need to have solidarity always,” Miller said. “When people need help, we need to step up to the plate.”

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Return Comp Time Petitions by June 23 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/return-comp-time-petitions-by-june-23 Thu, 08 Jun 2017 09:05:31 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/return-comp-time-petitions-by-june-23 If your local hasn’t yet turned in petitions to oppose the misleadingly-named “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1180/S. 801), please make sure that you do so as quickly as possible and no later than Friday, June 23.

We’re starting to set up meetings and deliveries with Senate offices now. The more opposition we show them, the greater our chances of stopping this bill.

This action is about protecting our premium pay for overtime. It’s about ensuring that companies don’t have one more way to squeeze profit from us at our expense. It’s about ensuring that our schedules don’t get even more unpredictable.

Print out petitions to circulate in your workplace!

Please return completed petitions to your District Rapid Response Coordinator or get them to the International office by one of the following methods by Friday, June 23.

Scan & Email: uswrr@usw.org
Fax: 412-562-2266
Mail: USW Rapid Response, 60 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Additional Resources

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Good Jobs and a Clean Environment http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/good-jobs-and-a-clean-environment Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:20:54 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/good-jobs-and-a-clean-environment USW International President Leo W. Gerard and progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall this week discussed President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and the pressing need for both good jobs and a clean environment.

The president’s decision was foolhardy and shortsighted, Gerard said, because it misses opportunities to do the right thing on both employment and climate change.

“So global warming’s happening, and we take the next step and say ‘well are we contributing, yes or no?’ And clearly the answer is yes,” said Gerard. “So if the answer is yes, why don’t we say, ‘what can we do to remove carbon from the atmosphere and do it in a way that protects and maintains jobs?’ There are so many things that could be done in a positive, constructive way.”

Gerard cited wind power as a place where traditional manufacturing easily intersects with the green economy. “There’s more steel in a wind turbine than there is in a bunch of cars,” he said.

Yet in withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the president is ceding the lead in the green economy and the jobs that go with it. “A lot of companies will now move to someplace else whether it’s Europe or China or other parts of Asia,” Gerard said.  

The USW has long understood that labor and the environment go hand in hand. More than ten years ago, the USW founded the BlueGreen Alliance with the Sierra Club “because we did not believe that it was either good jobs or a clean environment. It was either over the long haul and the midterm we’d have both good jobs and a clean environment, or in the long term we’d have neither,” Gerard said.

In the end, it falls to the American people to counteract Trump’s folly. “I’ve got faith that the institutions of America, the governors, the municipalities, the educators, the labor movement, will come together and will move the agenda forward,” Gerard said. 

Listen to the full discussion below:

Background

AFL-CIO Press Release on Paris CLimate Agreement

‘Climate Change is Real’: Business Leaders React to President Trump’s Withdrawal from Paris Agreement

How Cities and States Reacted to Trump’s Decision to Exit the Paris Climate Deal

USW's statement

Trump Hands the Chinese a Gift: The Chance for Global Leadership

Climate change: Why isn't Nicaragua in the Paris agreement?

USW President Gerard in a blog titled : “Workers Want a Green Economy, Not a Black Environment.”

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