United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2023-02-03 19:09:25 -0600 AMPS en hourly 1 BASF Council members tackle chemical sector health and safety in Louisiana https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/basf-council-members-tackle-chemical-sector-health-and-safety-in-louisiana Wed, 01 Feb 2023 08:04:23 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/basf-council-members-tackle-chemical-sector-health-and-safety-in-louisiana Members of the USW BASF Council used their first in-person gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic—held Jan. 24-25 in Gonzales, La.—to build collective strength and learn from each other’s experiences in the diverse chemical sector.

The meeting, hosted by Local 620, was coordinated by District 13 Director Larry Burchfield, who led the group through two days of fruitful discussions on health and safety, staffing, fatigue, and organizing.

“I look forward to working with this council and working through our common issues to tackle this company collectively,” Burchfield told the group on Jan. 24.

BASF is a European multinational chemical company and the world’s largest chemical producer. The BASF group operates in more than 80 countries and owns multiple sites across the United States where USW members work, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia.

The first topic the council discussed was the macroeconomic environment of the chemical sector as the war in Ukraine and inflation led to higher energy costs across Europe, revealing the interconnectedness of the global industry.

Promoting training

Mike Duffy of the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department also talked with the council on the first day about occupational fatalities and injuries. Mobile equipment accidents remain the primary cause of injuries across industries, shedding light on the necessity for modernized equipment and constant vigilance.

Members engaged in a lively discussion about the urgent need for better training to prevent injuries and fatalities, as well as bridging the generational gap as younger workers enter the field.

“We’ve got a lot of new workers and there isn’t proper training for them,” said Unit President Winston Waite of Local 9-562 in McIntosh, Ala. “They’re just thrown to the wolves. I’ve spoken up about that in our workplace because there’s a lot of ‘green-on-green.’”

USW International Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn, who attended the BASF Council meeting, also touched on the need for a sharper focus on health and safety via contract language and joint union-management Health, Safety and Environment committees.

“We need to take action,” said Shinn. “We know how devastating an accident can be in a chemical facility.”

Model language

Shinn informed the group that the International union plans to roll out model safety and health language to make sure every local union in the sector—which include more than 350 units—puts this issue on the table with their employers.

On the second day of the meeting, the council was able to review the proposed language and give feedback on the best way to implement it across sites with the aid of USW staff representatives. Members of other councils and chemical sector sites will also have the chance to make suggestions and express concerns about this model language in future meetings.

Kelvin Bouie, who serves as president of Local 170-01 in Attapulgus, Ga., said that in order for workers to be truly safe, all parties have to be on the same page. This is particularly relevant when it comes to Stop Work Authority (SWA), workers’ right to stop unsafe work and processes until the potential hazard is thoroughly investigated and abated.

“Everyone has to know exactly what they need to do,” said Bouie. “The education part is going to be very important.”

Shinn acknowledged that changing the already established health and safety culture in many workplaces will not be easy but that it’s vital for the union to work together.

“This is sending a message to the sector and to our employers that we’re serious about safety and health,” Shinn said. “We have a responsibility to our members to make sure that they get home safely.”

Director Burchfield returned to the importance of workers tapping into their strength as activists to create sustainable positive change as the industry and economy evolve.

“Our power in bargaining has always been in the mobilization of our members,” Burchfield said. “We need to make a commitment and follow that commitment. That’s how we’ll get to where we need to be in this sector.”

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Activists organize for the future, honor Dr. King’s legacy in Washington https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/activists-organize-for-the-future-honor-dr-kings-legacy-in-washington Tue, 31 Jan 2023 09:15:51 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/activists-organize-for-the-future-honor-dr-kings-legacy-in-washington Labor and civil rights activists from across the United States strategized about the continued fight for economic and racial justice at the annual AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Conference on Jan. 13-6 in Washington, D.C.

The conference theme focused around “Claiming Our Power, Protecting Our Democracy,” reflecting the country’s current crises of extremist politicians, far-right judges and corrupt corporate interests. Participants also spent time in the community, volunteering with nonprofit organizations as well as lending a hand at Eliot-Hine Middle School.

Noted speakers included AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, and A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) President Clayola Brown, as well as new worker-activists from Amazon and Starbucks.

USW Local 7600 Vice President Norberto Gomez was part of a large delegation of USW members who attended the conference and said every workshop and panel discussion was motivating and inspiring, but that his favorite experience was marching in the 42nd Annual MLK Peace Walk and Parade on Mon., Jan. 16.

“Being out on the street, in Washington, D.C., chanting and hearing the community cheer for the union was the biggest boost of all,” he said.

Gomez, who helps lead Local 7600 in Southern California – which includes more than 7,000 health care workers – also believes labor activists must incorporate honest and open conversations about civil rights on a regular basis.

“The intersectionality of civil rights and labor rights are so important, not only to the community in which we live, but to the union worker,” he said. “In order for the union to be fully encompassing of its members' lives, it must fight for those issues that affect people inside and outside of the workplace.”

USW Vice President at Large Roxanne Brown also attended the conference that bridges the labor and social justice movements, a connection she said is unbreakable.

“Labor and civil and human rights are inextricably linked,” she said. “Both our fights and our foes are common. We are always stronger together.”

Watch a recap of the conference below.

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President Conway Talks Trade on the Leslie Marshall Show https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/president-conway-talks-trade-on-the-leslie-marshall-show Tue, 24 Jan 2023 15:17:53 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/president-conway-talks-trade-on-the-leslie-marshall-show USW International President Tom Conway appeared on the Leslie Marshall Show to discuss the vital role U.S. trade policy play in protecting the nation’s strength and security.

Tariffs enacted through Section 232 of U.S. trade law, Conway said, continue to provide needed relief for domestic steel and aluminum, industries that are both essential to maintaining military operations and critical infrastructure.

Since the measures were put into place, the domestic steel industry has seen the creation of thousands of new jobs and important capital investments to keep America’s steel manufacturing the cleanest in the world.

“What you make is really the backbone of what you are,” said Conway. “And what made America a powerhouse was our ability to do that, and our ability to stand up in industry when we needed to.”

Marshall and Conway also discussed the importance of securing clean energy supply chains as well as building out domestic industry in such a way that the jobs of the future remain good, union jobs.

Even though the U.S. manufacturers face competition from companies in places like China and the E.U., the growing need for minerals like copper, lithium and nickel as well as for products like solar cells and wind turbines present opportunities if the nation acts deliberately.

“This is a long-term project that we’re on, and this is a fundamental change in the way we think about things,” Conway said.

“We can make things pretty competitively in this country, and that makes the country thrive.”

To listen to the entire interview below.

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Workers’ Newest Allies in State and Federal Gov’t (Part 1) https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/workers-newest-allies-in-state-and-federal-govt-part-1 Fri, 20 Jan 2023 14:06:30 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2023/workers-newest-allies-in-state-and-federal-govt-part-1 In the coming months, we will be highlighting the newly-elected, pro-worker lawmakers for whom Steelworkers campaigned during the crucial 2022 midterm elections.

The lawmakers we will be highlighting received our union’s backing after a rigorous, internally developed selection process. Candidates’ beliefs must align closely with our core issues, including collective bargaining, health care, infrastructure, workplace health and safety, trade, and retirement security.  

In order to make this assessment, we look at candidates’ backgrounds and voting records, and we often meet with them. For federal candidates, we also require their response to a lengthy questionnaire developed by the union.

We’ve said it before: if a candidate is anti-union, regardless of party affiliation, they won’t get our support. It’s that simple.

Newly-Elected, Pro-worker Rep. Nikki Budzinski (IL-CD 13)

Last year, our union was proud to endorse Nikki Budzinski in Illinois’ newly-formed 13th Congressional District. Growing up in Peoria, Ill., Budzinski’s parents instilled in her a commitment to community and public service. Her grandfather, a union painter, and grandmother, a public school teacher, helped her understand the important role of unions in building a strong middle class.

After graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Budzinski worked for the International Association of Fire Fighters and the United Food and Commercial Workers, advocating for improvements in pay and benefits, equipment, training, safety and health, and more.

She later served as a senior advisor to Governor JB Pritzker where she helped lead the charge to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Most recently, Budzinski served as Chief of Staff in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget at the White House. The office oversees the implementation of the American Rescue Plan and helped launch President Biden’s historic Made in America Office that seeks to ensure taxpayer dollars support the growth of American companies creating jobs here at home.

Budzinski’s top priorities in Congress include:

  • expanding access to affordable health care and prescription drugs;
  • strengthening workers’ rights and expanding unions;
  • fighting for a tax code that puts poor and working families first; and,
  • ensuring world-class health care, rehabilitation and job-training services for veterans.

Chris Frydenger of USW Local 7-838 and Aaron Sutter of USW Local 4294 led our efforts to help secure a victory for Budzinski last year.

When Budzinski was sworn in during the first week of January 2023, we asked Frydenger and Sutter to reflect upon their experiences over the course of the campaign, and why they believe victories by labor-friendly lawmakers like Budzinski matter so much to Steelworkers.

“I think it is important to elect lawmakers that support workers because all it takes is one bad piece of legislation to greatly reduce our rights as workers,” said Frydenger. “As far as the work we did for Nikki, it was very easy to get motivated and stay motivated because I know that she values the same things that the labor movement values.”

Sutter added, “It’s crucial to support politicians that will serve the working class and fight for legislation that puts our rights as workers before the corporate greed that runs this country. It was great working with Nikki knowing that she supports our right to collectively bargain. The fact that she comes from a union background herself made it easy to explain to fellow Steelworkers why she was our best choice for Congress.”

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Workers at Kane Community Living Centers achieve multiple gains with first USW contract https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/workers-at-kane-community-living-centers-achieve-multiple-gains-with-first-usw-contract Mon, 26 Dec 2022 09:19:14 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/workers-at-kane-community-living-centers-achieve-multiple-gains-with-first-usw-contract Roughly 500 workers at Kane Community Living Centers in western Pennsylvania have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement since unanimously voting to become USW members in January 2022.

The bargaining unit consists of Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), recreation aides, dietary and housekeeping workers, and material handlers at the Allegheny County-run assisted living and senior facilities in four different townships.

“This is the best contract I can remember us having,” said Desirae Beatty, who has worked at Kane for 18 years as a CNA. She and her co-workers were previously represented by another union. That contract expired in December 2021. “I mostly wanted to make sure we didn’t lose anything, and we ended up gaining a lot.”

As part of the four-year agreement, LPNs will receive an hourly raise of $3 immediately; by the end of the contract, they will receive another $2 an hour. Workers with at least three years of service will also now receive longevity raises, and the uniform allowance is increased to $400.

Part-time workers will also now be represented by the union, another major win, according to Beatty, who served on the bargaining committee for the first time. She also said one of the biggest victories this time around was clearer communication and a sense of true solidarity.

“Our staff rep made sure our voices were heard and that we all were involved in the process,” said Beatty. “It made me feel like I’m part of this union, and I’m excited to see us all more united.”

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Local 13-1 members in Texas ratify new four-year contract with Dow https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/local-13-1-members-in-texas-ratify-new-four-year-contract-with-dow Fri, 23 Dec 2022 19:01:49 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/local-13-1-members-in-texas-ratify-new-four-year-contract-with-dow More than 200 members of Local 13-1 at Dow-Deer Park, Texas, have obtained significant wage increases and other vital wins in their latest contract approved on Dec. 9.

The union agreed to enter into early negotiations and their contract was not set to expire until March 11, 2023. Dow earlier gave the union a last, best and final offer which was rejected by the membership by a 2-to-1 margin.

“Our main objective was a fair contract,” said Local 13-1 President Harold Scott. “We were locked out in 2019, and we didn’t get a fair contract then. The members wanted a contract that was comparable to other chemical plants and refineries in the area.”

Highlights of the agreement include first-year wage increases of 7 percent, followed by 3 percent for each of the remaining three years of the contract. Members will also receive a ratification bonus of $1,500 and lump sums of $2,000 for the first year and $2,000 for the second year.

The bargaining team was also able to obtain two additional bereavement days, along with seniority rights and increased financial incentives for the Emergency Response Team (ERT).

“Dow plays hardball, and we just have to learn their game and educate each other by networking,” said Scott, who kept the membership engaged via social media, texting, and e-mail.

 

 

 

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USW Delivers Winter Clothes to Pittsburghers in Need https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/usw-delivers-winter-clothes-to-pittsburghers-in-need Fri, 16 Dec 2022 15:26:33 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/usw-delivers-winter-clothes-to-pittsburghers-in-need Staff of the United Steelworkers headquarters today delivered two carloads full of winter clothing and other essential items donated by USW members to St. Mary of Mercy Church for people in need of warm clothing.

The church, just a block away from the USW building, operates the Red Door Pittsburgh, which provides daily meals and other services to needy Pittsburghers. The region saw multiple winter weather warnings this week, and many of the people who seek services from St. Mary’s do not have permanent housing, leaving them especially vulnerable to the cold.

Members donated hundreds of winter clothing items, including coats, hats, gloves, mittens, boots, socks, backpacks and sweats. 

USW staff Gina Hackett and Matt Becker spearheaded the clothing drive effort after seeing many people frequently waiting outside St. Mary’s to receive hot food, drinks, clothes and other essential goods.

“We see the need every day – we can see it from our windows in the building,” said Becker.

Sister Pawla Witula, assistant coordinator of The Red Door, said the donations will be key to getting through the holiday season. She also thanked the Steelworkers for their generosity.

“It will be a huge blessing to the homeless here and we hope this will help us get through the next few weeks,” said Witula.

Hackett said she hopes the donations will help people to be warmer and more comfortable, especially during the holiday season.

Donations for men’s winter clothing, men’s shoes and backpacks can still be dropped off through Mon., Dec. 19, in the lobby of USW headquarters, at the corner of the Boulevard of the Allies and Stanwix Street in Pittsburgh.

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Local 9-675 members at 3M in Alabama score wage and scheduling wins with new three-year agreement https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/local-9-675-members-at-3m-in-alabama-score-wage-and-scheduling-wins-with-new-three-year-agreement Fri, 16 Dec 2022 08:13:21 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/local-9-675-members-at-3m-in-alabama-score-wage-and-scheduling-wins-with-new-three-year-agreement Members of Local 9-675 in Guin, Ala., held the line during their recent contract negotiations with 3M to ratify a new three-year agreement that includes the highest wage increases the workers have seen.

The local entered bargaining with 3M on Sept. 26 with a focus on wages and language clarification. After rejecting the company’s first offer, the membership ratified their final contract on Nov. 30. They were able to secure significant wage increases for each year of the agreement and multiple improvements to the benefits book, including up to three weeks of paid parental leave for qualified employees.

The new contract also includes an increase to shift premiums, as well as much-needed updates to scheduling and overtime.

Local 9-675 members manufacture reflective road signs and pavement marking materials; reflective products for advertising on trucks and trailers and for improved visibility of emergency response vehicles; glass bubbles for lightweight filler material, and ceramic microspheres that are a filler in paints and coatings.

First organized in 1956, today the local represents around 250 production, warehouse and maintenance workers.

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Hall to Serve on New Governor’s Transition Team https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/hall-to-serve-on-new-governors-transition-team Tue, 13 Dec 2022 13:31:07 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/hall-to-serve-on-new-governors-transition-team Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Austin Davis named USW District 10 Director Bernie Hall to the administration’s transition team as the new leaders prepare to take office on Jan. 17.

Shapiro has assembled seven transition advisory committees, each focusing on one of the new administration’s priorities, including promoting economic growth, ensuring safe communities, and promoting high-quality education for all Pennsylvanians.

Hall, who will focus on transportation and infrastructure as part of his duties on Shapiro’s economic development committee, is among several labor leaders from across the state working on the new governor’s transition.

“Voters elected Josh Shapiro to move this state forward, and his dedication to making sure working people are a part of that progress is clear in the selections he’s made for this group,” Hall said. “I look forward to working with a diverse group of leaders from across Pennsylvania to ensure a smooth transition for our new governor, and to make sure that he and his administration can hit the ground running in January to fight for working families.”

Shapiro said that his team will help him build a strong economic future for all workers in the Keystone State, a priority he developed over the past 14 months traveling across the state.

“Wherever I went, Pennsylvanians wanted the same thing: an economy that works for everyone, good schools and a quality education for their children, and safe communities for their families,” Shapiro said. “These advisory committees will play a key role assisting the Shapiro-Davis administration get to work on day one to turn that vision into a reality.”

 

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Honoring ChangeMakers: USW hosts Multiplying Good award winners https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/honoring-change-makers-usw-hosts-multiplying-good-award-winners Fri, 09 Dec 2022 11:51:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/honoring-change-makers-usw-hosts-multiplying-good-award-winners We were proud to host the inaugural Multiplying Good ChangeMakers class of Jefferson Award winners at our USW headquarters. The USW has parnered with Multipying Good since 2016 to help celebrate community service, servant leadership and doing good for others

International Vice President for Human Affairs Kevin Mapp welcomed the group, which included the USW's own Brittani Murray, a staffer in the union's Civil and Human Rights Department and member of USW Local 3657. She was named a ChangeMaker Jefferson Award recipient after being nominated for her community activism in the union and across the Pittsburgh region.
 
"The core of who we are and what we do is making lives better – not just for us, but for everyone. Using our collective voices, brave action and our power, we’ve been able to secure dignity for millions of working families for generations by winning decent wages, health care, safety conditions and retirement security at the bargaining table with employers. But our union doesn’t just work hard in factories and hospitals and schools and offices. We roll up our sleeves and get to work in our communities – Steelworkers indeed have big hearts," Mapp said.
 
Originally known as “the Nobel Prize for Volunteerism," the Jefferson Awards are the country's highest honor for service. Some Jefferson Award honorees you may know include Harry Belafonte, Oprah Winfrey, Elie Wiesel, Larry Fitzgerald, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Branford Marsalis, Venus Williams, Coach Dawn Staley and three Steelworkers who have taken national prizes: Priscilla Puente of Local 227 in Texas; Marc Scott, a retiree from SOAR Chapter 15-20 in Pennsylvania, and Nancy McCurrach of Local 1944 in Canada. Puente is now on the national Multiplying Good Board of Selectors, representing our union.
 
"We are honored to celebrate our union members who do amazing works of community service," Mapp said. "Through our daily work and our USW Cares program, we’ve been able to recognize our members, retirees and staff for the life-changing service our union family does in the communities where we live and work."
 
Multiplying Good's Pittsburgh Director Jodi Klebick thanked the Steelworkers for supporting the organization and being leaders across the country, particularly with developing the youth and working people.
 
"Through our ChangeMakers platform, we highlight the leadership and service of professionals and community leaders each spring and celebrate the positive change they've brought about in our communities. In honoring their achievements, we elevate the transformative power of their service, inspiring more people to serve and multiplying the impact of their efforts," she said.
 
Murray was nominated for her work fighting for Black lives, women, LGBTQ rights, and so much more. She served on the board of SisTers PGH, a transgender-centered resource provider and shelter transitioning program. She is a co-founder of OKRA Ethics, a Black-femme-led coalition that facilitates classes and actions. She is also a member of the USW LGBTQ Advisory Committee formed to address queer members’ needs through education, advocacy, and resource support. She is a member of the Allegheny County Black Activist/Organizer Collective who has been instrumental in organizing actions, rallies, and mutual aid initiatives across the county.
 
Fellow ChangeMakers in the inaugural class are:  
 
• Tiffany Castagno, CEO & Founder of Cephr, LLC 
• Tressa Glover, Actress & Host of the Yinz Are Good Podcast  
• Nelson Cooper IV, Relationship Manager for PNC Corporate Banking, and Executive Director and Students In Action Advisor of Pittsburgh Hardball Academy 
• Bradley Wilkins, AVP Branch Manager and Greater Pittsburgh PRIDE Chair for Key Bank  
• Dr. Crystal Smith-Rose, Director, FAME Academy, at the Fund for the Advancement of Minorities Through Education. 
• Gabrielle "Gabby" Demarchi, Assistant Director of Community Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh 
• Jasmine Cho, Author, Artist, & Cookie Activist at Yummyholic  
 

Check out our photos from the inspiring event: 

2022 Multiplying Good ChangeMakers

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December Update from SOAR Director Julie Stein https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/december-update-from-soar-director-julie-stein Mon, 05 Dec 2022 10:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/december-update-from-soar-director-julie-stein Seniors Have Reason to Celebrate 

I wish you all Happy Holidays!  Also, I’m pleased to report that seniors and proponents of Social Security and Medicare have reason to celebrate the outcome of the 2022 midterm election, which concluded on Tuesday, November 8. 

Undeterred by the polling and the knowledge that midterm elections are historically difficult for the incumbent president’s party, active and retired Steelworkers set out to defend those legislators who have helped secure monumental pro-worker, pro-retiree victories, which include: 

  • a massive win on retirement security that protected the pension benefits that 120,000 active and retired Steelworkers had fought for and won at the bargaining table;
  • the passage of the once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill that will mean continued investments in Steelworker jobs, the products we make, and the services we provide;
  • a new, pro-worker vision in the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board that has already helped more workers achieve the protection of a union contract;
  • and more. 

Our efforts helped to not only retain a pro-retiree majority in the United States Senate, but expand it by at least one seat. (Georgia run-off election to take place December 6.)

While our allies in the U.S. House of Representatives lost their majority, the margin currently stands at 220 to 213, which means no mandate exists to override a Presidential veto.

Therefore, President Biden will retain a significant amount of leverage when it comes to debt ceiling negotiations, among other things.  

In fact, the day after the election, Biden said, “I want to be very clear: Under no circumstances will I support the proposal put forward by Senator Johnson (WI) and the senator from down in Florida to cut or make fundamental changes in Social Security and Medicare.  That’s not on the table.  I will not do that.” 

Outside of Washington, D.C., labor’s efforts also helped secure victories for allies in state legislatures who will stand with us in the fight to combat soaring prescription drug costs and address other issues impacting seniors.

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December Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/december-update-from-soar-president-bill-pienta Mon, 05 Dec 2022 09:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/december-update-from-soar-president-bill-pienta It’s a Strange, Strange World

You have probably seen reports about the snow we recently received in Western New York. While waiting for the snow to stop falling, I spent some time thinking about some things I usually would not waste my time thinking about. But, since I did, I thought I would share them with you.

I decided to do a little math once I heard that Jeff Bezos gave away $100 million as he made the decision to give away his money. I understand he didn't need to do anything, and it is more than other wealthy people do, but for him, it is not a lot of money. He will need to change his strategy if he plans to give away $100 million per year, as he would need to live another 1,223 years and still die as a billionaire. I wonder what an extra 100 billion dollars would do for the Social Security Trust Fund?

I also wonder if anyone really thinks that all those phone calls that Seniors are receiving are actually from Medicare? Why would the Government hire so many people who have such a poor command of the English language? If they are from Medicare, why do they need your Medicare number? Don't they already have it?

What about TV commercials? Is there anyone who really believes that an insurance company, which exists to make a profit for the owners/shareholders of the company, really wants to provide you with excellent coverage for free? If it were true that one insurance company provided the best coverage and was free, I don’t think they would need to advertise.

Finally, political advertisements really bother me. The people running for office are applying for a job, and they want us to hire them. Would you hire someone who came in for a job interview and all they did was talk about how bad your current employee is?

Please stay safe and enjoy this Holiday Season! And thank you for all that you do to promote and support SOAR.

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Against All Odds, Steelworkers Prevail in 2022 Election! https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/against-all-odds-steelworkers-prevail-in-2022-election Wed, 30 Nov 2022 11:10:36 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/against-all-odds-steelworkers-prevail-in-2022-election The long list of pro-worker victories from the November 8 election continues to grow, particularly in states where Steelworkers devoted a lot of time and energy in recent months.

When we launched our 2022 electoral program in August, our union focused our efforts to elect pro-worker lawmakers in competitive state legislative districts, congressional districts, and states where voters were set to choose their next governor or United States Senator.

Undeterred by the polling, and the knowledge that midterm elections are historically difficult for the incumbent president’s party, we set out to defend those legislators who have helped secure monumental pro-worker victories, which include:

  • a massive win on retirement security that protected the pension benefits that 120,000 active and retired Steelworkers had fought for and won at the bargaining table;
  • the passage of the once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill that will mean continued investments in Steelworker jobs, the products we make, and the services we provide;
  • a new, pro-worker vision in the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board that has already helped more workers achieve the protection of a union contract;
  • and more.

On election night, USW-endorsed candidates were declared victorious in:

  • Pennsylvania, where voters overwhelmingly elected a governor, Josh Shapiro, who has consistently pledged to defend union rights. Further, voters across the Commonwealth elected John Fetterman to the United States Senate. He has walked countless picket lines with striking Steelworkers and has made clear that he is an unwavering ally of workers. Pro-union representatives were also elected in a number of very close Congressional races, including Chris Deluzio (CD-17), Susan Wild (CD-7) and Matt Cartwright (CD-8);
  • Michigan and Minnesota, where voters delivered pro-worker majorities in the state House and Senate, along with reelecting pro-union governors Gretchen Witmer (MI) and Tim Walz (MN). This is especially historic in Michigan, where this had not been accomplished in nearly 40 years; and,  
  • Ohio, where voters not only reelected longtime allies like Marcy Kaptur (CD-9), but also chose to increase the number of pro-worker Congressional representatives with the election of USW-endorsed candidates like Emilia Sykes (CD-13) and Greg Landsman (CD-1). While his campaign for the U.S. Senate came up short, our close friend Tim Ryan garnered national attention for his relentless focus on the need to strengthen unions and rebuild Ohio’s middle class.

Our union also celebrated our contributions to the successful campaigns of close friends like Jahana Hayes (CT-5), Wes Moore (Gov.-elect, Maryland), Wiley Nickel (NC-13), Jeff Jackson (NC-14), Laura Kelly (Gov. of Kansas), Angie Craig (MN CD-2), and Lina Hidalgo, who won a very competitive campaign for her second term for Harris County Judge (Texas).

In the following week, close races were also decided in:

  • Nevada and Arizona, where pro-worker Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Mark Kelly were reelected, assuring a labor-friendly majority would continue in the chamber. USW members and retirees were also engaged in the successful effort to reelect Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire) to the U.S. Senate; and,
  • A number of important Congressional races, where vote totals confirmed victories for our friends Frank Mrvan (IN-1), Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), Hillary Scholten (MI-03), Elissa Slotkin (MI-7), Dan Kildee (MI-8), and many more.

This is far from being a complete list of all the reasons Steelworkers are celebrating the outcome of the 2022 midterm election. But, we wanted to share this list of victories because we are proud of the tireless work of USW members who, against all odds, helped ensure an election outcome that will mean working people will be well represented in local, state and federal government.

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Tamara Lefcowitz talks health care workers’ safety on the Leslie Marshall Show https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/tamara-lefcowitz-talks-health-care-workers-safety-on-the-leslie-marshall-show Mon, 21 Nov 2022 14:47:19 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/tamara-lefcowitz-talks-health-care-workers-safety-on-the-leslie-marshall-show Tamara Lefcowitz, coordinator for the USW’s Health Care Workers Council, appeared on the Leslie Marshall Show last week to discuss how health care workers are taking safety into their own hands, organizing and collectively bargaining for better working conditions and protections on the job.

Violence against health care workers was already a serious concern before the onset of the pandemic, and threats against health care workers continue to rise. 

Legislation like the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would provide baseline support for health care workers by compelling OSHA to establish an enforceable workplace violence standard. But health care workers also need more, Lefcowitz said.

“Health care is made up of mission-driven people who do this work because they love it, they care about people, and they’re driven to service,” said Lefcowitz.

“But that doesn’t mean that we can do them a disservice by not offering them protections, by not paying them appropriately, and by not making sure these are family-sustaining, community-sustaining jobs.”

The good news, according to Lefcowitz, is that health care workers across the country are organizing for a voice on the job, and unionized workers are winning big with good contracts that not only provide wage increases but also establish safety committees with frontline workers at the helm.

“Our working conditions are your healing conditions as a patient, and that directly impacts the patient experience,” said Lefcowitz.

“Health care workers are the social infrastructure that holds America together.”

To listen to the full interview with Tamara Lefcowitz on the Leslie Marshall Show, click below:

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Steelworker Activism Pays Off for Veterans in NY https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/steelworker-activism-pays-off-for-veterans-in-ny Fri, 18 Nov 2022 16:02:44 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/steelworker-activism-pays-off-for-veterans-in-ny Steelworker activism paid of in New York, USW District 4, where we teamed up with Rapid Response to help pass a first-of-its-kind law helping our veterans that was signed into law this week.
 
We are happy to report that on Veteran’s Day, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed New York Assembly Bill A3913B into law. The first of its kind in our nation, this bill requires employers to display a poster containing information on veterans’ benefits and services, which shall be created and distributed by the Department of Labor. 
 
The law comes two years after USW activists gathered at a Rapid Response conference in the district and made helping those who served in our armed forces a legislative priority for our union.

For months, we met legislators and pointed out that the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) helps veterans to secure jobs, but it does not offer details on available benefits and services. These benefits and services consist of programs that assist veterans and their families with things like education and training, job placement and employment preferences, healthcare, and more.  

The various programs for which veterans are eligible help ease the transition back into civilian life and ensure that families and communities are supported after giving selflessly for our country. District 4 activists urged elected officials they met with to join us in supporting our nation’s veterans by making information on benefits and services they are entitled to more available to those who need it. They asked legislators to create and pass legislation to require standardized workplace postings that include basic information about veterans’ benefits and a way for veterans to learn more about the programs available to them.
 
We are excited to have had a part in the creation and passage of this legislation and look to 2023 to push for similar bills across the nation.

  

How did your legislators vote? 

In a rare occurance, all members of the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate present for the vote, voted in support of the bill. 

To learn more about the USW’s Veterans of Steel program and the resources available to all veterans and their families go to usw.org/vetsofsteel or contact Cary Eldridge, District 4 Veterans of Steel Coordinator, at celdridge@usw.org. For more information on Rapid Response and how you can get involved contact Mark McDonald, District 4 Rapid Response Coordinator, at mmcdonald@usw.org.

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Women of Steel come together in Canada to “Raise the Bar” https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/women-of-steel-come-together-in-canada-to-raise-the-bar Fri, 18 Nov 2022 14:08:44 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/women-of-steel-come-together-in-canada-to-raise-the-bar Members from across Canada and the United States brought their energy and activism to Quebec City the week of October 17 for the USW National Women’s Conference.

This year’s event, organized by many siblings including Conference Chair and Assistant to the National Director Meg Gingrich and Education and Equality Department Head Adriane Pavo, focused on the union’s Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety campaign.

Adriane Pavo (far right) moderates a panel on Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety.

The USW’s National Policy Conference in 2019 unanimously passed a resolution calling for action, and this campaign, which has also been launched in the United States, was the result.

The campaign aims to increase awareness of women’s health and safety issues, making them core USW health and safety issues; to boost women’s participation in activism, including on committees and in USW courses; and to increase respect and space for women’s voices and ideas in workplaces and our union.

An incredible moment of solidarity around this campaign at this year’s conference occurred when hundreds of activists rallied together bright and early on October 19 to break the silence on domestic violence.

Click here to view all of the photos from the National Women’s Conference.

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Copper Country Mental Health workers score multiple wins in new contract https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/copper-country-mental-health-workers-score-multiple-wins-in-new-contract Tue, 15 Nov 2022 11:57:25 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/copper-country-mental-health-workers-score-multiple-wins-in-new-contract Members of Local 7798-1 at Copper Country Mental Health in Houghton, Mich., won wage increases along with solidified workplace violence language in their latest three-year collective bargaining agreement. 

The essential care workers will immediately receive a 4.5 percent wage increase, and the contract also includes an annual wage opener.

The workers are also proud that the workplace violence language they fought so hard to obtain in their 2019 agreement has now officially been added to the CBA. This agreement committed the employer to appoint a committee, including two members of the local, to draft a workplace violence policy. The guideline also includes the definition of aggression and an outline of procedures, all of which will be reviewed yearly.

Another big win includes a commitment from new administration to reduce the amount of “24-hour eyes on residents” in group homes where only one member is working. Members with 15+ years of service will also now receive an extra week of vacation.

The members ratified the agreement unanimously on Monday, Nov. 14.

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USW activists talk community, bargaining power at District 10 Civil and Human Rights Conference https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/usw-activists-talk-community-bargaining-power-at-district-10-civil-and-human-rights-conference Wed, 09 Nov 2022 12:00:32 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/usw-activists-talk-community-bargaining-power-at-district-10-civil-and-human-rights-conference Members and activists of USW local unions across Pennsylvania gathered at Linden Hall for the District 10 Civil and Human Rights Conference the week of Oct. 31 to learn how to use bargaining power as a tool for change.

The roughly forty members participated in workshops focused on understanding power and privilege, fighting anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, forming and utilizing Civil and Human Rights Committees within local unions, and unpacking how racism impacts health and safety. They also learned how to utilize social media and texting campaigns to engage their membership.


DeLisa Baldwin of Local 1688 said another way to get members involved and build strength as a union is to get out into the community.

“Our plant is in the middle of the city,” she said, “so it’s important for our union to volunteer and be seen and let them know we’re here and we care.”

Members at the conference also participated in the USW Health Care Workers Council’s first-ever workshop focused on protecting members’ access to medical and reproductive health care. Council Coordinator Tamara Lefcowitz outlined a new toolkit available to members and also detailed how local unions can bargain language in their contracts that benefit rural workers, including coverage of out-of-state travel expenses for specialty care like chemotherapy.


“Firstly, we want members to be educated on their right to ask for information from their employers,” said Lefcowitz. “We also want to promote the many different resources the union has available and the different paths members can take to protect each other.”

USW Vice President of Human Affairs Kevin Mapp ended the week with an address that called for holding the line and holding onto hope amidst the many challenges facing the labor and civil rights movements.

“It truly is going to take each and every one of us, as individual labor activists, to meet people where they are and move with them into the future,” said Mapp on Thurs., Nov. 3., the final day of the conference. 

District 10 Director Bernie Hall also closed out the conference with a reminder of the importance of union members using their collective power to fight for the working class.

“If it weren’t for unions, no one would be out there advocating for workers and lobbying legislators on behalf of our interests,” said Hall. “We have to show up face-to-face.”


Mapp handed out certificates to everyone who completed the week’s seminar, along with District 10 Civil and Human Rights Coordinator Leroy Atwater, who invited the members to keep the work they did at the conference moving forward.

“The best part about this week is the fellowship,” Atwater told them. “All we ask now is that you take something you learned here back to your locals.”

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Details for the 2023 AFL-CIO Martin Luther King Jr. Civil andHuman Rights Conference https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/details-for-the-2023-afl-cio-martin-luther-king-jr-civil-andhuman-rights-conference Fri, 04 Nov 2022 11:42:45 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/details-for-the-2023-afl-cio-martin-luther-king-jr-civil-andhuman-rights-conference

The theme of January’s conference is “Claiming our Power, Protecting Our Democracy.”

Date: Jan. 13-16, 2023
Location:
Washington D.C.
Cost:
The fee for the conference is $250
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Our democracy is in a state of emergency.  Across the country, extremist politicians, far-right judges and corrupt corporate interests have aligned to take away the rights of workers. They are moving to strip us of our fundamental freedoms including the freedom to vote and to collectively bargain for a voice on the job.  

The labor movement has always been a force for progress and we will continue that legacy by standing in our power and fighting back against these attacks. We will step into the year with purpose and make it clear that working people will determine the direction of this country. Together, we will build an economy and a society that works for everyone and ensures that all workers, no matter who they are, can live a life of dignity and respect. 

During the conference there will be timely discussions led by experts about the most pressing issues facing our movement, determine how we can address these challenges, share best practices and provide attendees with the cutting-edge tools and knowledge they need to affect change.  

Note: The conference landing page will be updated periodically with details about the agenda, speakers, workshops and more.

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Steelworkers stand with Lula in Brazil https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/steelworkers-stand-with-lula-in-brazil Wed, 02 Nov 2022 07:46:01 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2022/steelworkers-stand-with-lula-in-brazil The United Steelworkers (USW) today congratulated Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, the winner of the Brazilian presidential election on October 30.

“From his days as a metalworkers’ union activist and leader, to his term as president from 2003-2010, Lula has always defended and advanced the rights of working people in Brazil and around the world,” said USW International President Tom Conway.  “We look forward to working with President, Lula and the Brazilian trade union movement to strengthen worker protections and restore labor rights that were taken away by the outgoing right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro.”

Conway also thanked President Joe Biden for his public statement applauding Lula “on his election to be the next president of Brazil following free, fair and credible elections.”

“Brazilian companies play a major role in the Canadian economy,” said USW District 6 Director Myles Sullivan, who led a USW delegation that joined union leaders from around the world to monitor the election process. “It’s really important to our members to have a president of Brazil who is committed to worker rights and democracy.”

The USW solidarity delegation to Brazil this week included Laura Tompkins and Carolyn Kazdin from the Strategic Campaigns Department and District 6 Director Myles Sullivan.

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