United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-09-19 21:02:22 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 As summer ends, other journeys begin at district Women of Steel leadership trainings https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/as-summer-ends-other-journeys-begin-at-district-women-of-steel-leadership-trainings Tue, 17 Sep 2019 11:53:40 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/as-summer-ends-other-journeys-begin-at-district-women-of-steel-leadership-trainings While the end-of-summer heat pressed on throughout the Midwest, two more groups of Steelworkers turned up the dial on their activism by completing the Women’s Leadership Course this past August. 

In District 11 (which consists of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri), sisters from a wide variety of industries participated in the Level 1 module of the program in Des Moines, Iowa. Though there is currently only a Level 1 course offered in the large, diverse district, Assistant to the Director Cathy Drummond is hoping to roll out a Level 2 course by early next year.

And the interest is clearly there, as seen in the course’s recent boom.

“Our district’s program has really grown with the number of women who have stepped up,” Drummond said. “And I’d say at least 75 percent of the participants this time were women new to their facilities and new to the union.”

Four of the district’s participants in August were bilingual, which was a change for the program and “exciting to see,” Drummond said.

Women of Steel activists from across District 11 participated in the Women's Leadership Course in August 2019.

Talina McClure, President of Local 13 and chair of the WOS MOKAN (Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska) Council, assisted Drummond with facilitating the course, a first for the Independence, Mo., activist.

McClure, who works as a palletizer operator at craft and gardening supply manufacturer Fiskars, was nervous about the new experience, but she utilized the skills gained from completing the course herself several years ago to overcome any jitters.

“Doing the leadership course and everything that led up to now has helped me get better at it and become more comfortable with public speaking,” she said. “Cathy and I also work really well together.”

Comradery is a massive bonus to participating in these courses, whether as a facilitator or as a student, according to McClure. And this round was no exception.

“It was a lot of fun, and I got to meet some great women who will go on to do great things,” McClure said. “There was a lot of potential in the room.”

The sisters in Des Moines were also visited by a special guest speaker—District 11 SOAR President Bonnie Carey, a Women of Steel activist and retiree from Local 105.

District 11 SOAR President Bonnie Carey with sisters from LU 105.

Several states over, Women of Steel from District 1 gathered outside of Pittsburgh for their own dose of speakers, education, and activism. Fourteen sisters from a variety of industries worked through Level 3 of the leadership course with the assistance of Teresa Hartley, recently named assistant to the director by Donnie Blatt.

Hartley, who began her union career at a Cooper Tire factory in Findlay, Ohio, uses the third year of the program to focus on the Steelworkers’ “Building Power” curriculum. With this training, the sisters learn how to navigate strikes and for a CAT (Communications and Action Team), as well as how that knowledge can be used when dealing with lockouts and negotiations.

Director Blatt also visited the WOS activists at Linden Hall to talk about his own experience building power during tense Ormet negotiations 1999-2000.

WOS sisters from District 1 participated in the Level 3 module of the leadership course at Linden Hall.

To Hartley, the biggest takeaways from any level of the ever-growing WOS leadership program are the relationships the sisters form with each other.

“When they start year one and they meet each other that very first day, I tell them that by the end of the week, they will all form a bond that I can’t even explain,” she said.

Jennifer Schwartzkopf, from Local 843L, in Marysville, Ohio, values these connections and the long-term comradery they foster.

“I love knowing that I have amazing sisters that I can go to when I need them,” she said. “Being able to learn from others’ experiences and sharing my own is very rewarding.”

For more information about the WOS Leadership Course, contact your district coordinator, who you can find here.

2020 MLK Event Details Released https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/2020-mlk-event-details-released Tue, 17 Sep 2019 11:52:29 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/2020-mlk-event-details-released The annual AFL-CIO MLK Celebration conference will be held Jan. 17-20, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More details will come in the next few months, but for now please download this save the date leaflet and spread the word! 


Slain labor activist Fannie Sellins commemorated in Pennsylvania https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/slain-labor-activist-fannie-sellins-commemorated-in-pennsylvania Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:00:29 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/slain-labor-activist-fannie-sellins-commemorated-in-pennsylvania Local 1196, the Battle of Homestead Foundation, local historical societies and other activists, held a day-long series of events on Aug. 26 outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., to honor a true Woman of Steel, Fannie Sellins, on the 100th anniversary of the fierce activist’s murder.

In August of 1919, union organizer Fannie Sellins was walking a picket line with striking workers at Allegheny Coal and Coke Co. When she saw guards brutally beating a picketing miner, she rushed to his aid. Deputies opened fire, hitting Sellins four times, and then proceeded to beat her until they crushed her skull.

Both Sellins and Joe Strzelecki, the miner she tried to help, died that day. Although there were dozens of witnesses to the crimes, the deputies’ convictions were tossed out in court.

“Fannie Sellins gave her life in the attempt to put an end to the suffering of miners and their families, to lead them out of wage slavery,” International Vice President Leeann Foster told the crowd during a memorial event at the Local 1196 union hall in Brackenridge, not far from the site where Sellins and Strzelecki were murdered.

The day included a ceremony at the site of the killings, a luncheon featuring tributes to Sellins, and finally a twilight memorial at the cemetery where the labor martyr was laid to rest.

“Fannie Sellins was a proud union woman. She fought for a better life for herself, her family, her sisters and brothers, all workers and union members,” said Foster, who oversees the union’s Women of Steel program.

Although Sellins’ death came more than two decades before the founding of the USW, her activism and dedication to the cause of labor helped lead to the creation of the union and continues to serve as an inspiration for Steelworkers everywhere.

Sellins’ willingness to stand up to injustice is a powerful lesson for Americans even 100 years later, said Women of Steel Director Ann Flener-Gittlen.

“History shows us the many sacrifices others made so we can have a better life,” Flener-Gittlen said. “We owe her and others like her our dedication to keep the union movement strong.”

Today, a stone sits at the very spot where Sellins was killed, though the site is now part of an elderly couple’s yard in a residential community. The family that owns the land recently granted Local 1196 permission to excavate the stone so members can preserve and display it for future generations of Steelworkers.

Maintaining Sellins’ legacy and continuing to share her story is important, especially at a time when the political environment for union members and immigrant workers so closely mirrors the one Sellins and her fellow organizers faced 100 years ago, Foster said.

Anti-immigrant and anti-union rhetoric were as rampant in 1919 as they are today. Employment rosters at mines and factories in those days included large numbers of immigrant workers, and union organizers faced an intense backlash from corporate and political foes, as well as the company-controlled media.

“In thinking about the future of our important work to build and defend working people and build our movement, we can look at Fannie Sellins and take our cues from her fights,” Foster said. “Fannie’s leadership and bravery in the face of overwhelming corporate power and abuse inspires us to follow in her footsteps.”

Monumental leadership changes for women in the USW https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/monumental-leadership-changes-for-women-in-the-usw Tue, 17 Sep 2019 08:13:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/monumental-leadership-changes-for-women-in-the-usw This summer brought sweeping changes to USW’s International Executive Board, as well as to other vital positions within the union. As President Leo Gerard stepped down to enjoy retirement in July, along with Vice President at Large Carol Landry, Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson, and Vice President Jon Geenen, a new generation of leaders have stepped in to take the helm.

Among this fresh slate, including International President Thomas M. Conway, is the largest group of women to ever hold leadership positions in the union at once, especially on the Executive Board, which now includes Roxanne Brown and Leeann Foster.

Filling Geenen’s seat as Vice President is Leeann Foster, who previously served as Assistant to the International President and has served as Associate General Counsel since the 2005 USW/PACE merger. Together with Geenen, Foster has led the USW paper industry through difficult bargaining and has worked to develop a safety strategy within the sector.

Foster has worked as the lead bargainer with many companies within the paper sector, as well as leading the union’s Women of Steel program. She also serves as co-chair of the IndustriALL Global Union working group for the pulp and paper sector.

Foster is also expanding her leadership role outside of the union by running for Commissioner for Ward 3 in Mt. Lebanon, Pa.  She hopes to use the platform to help create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive community, work towards environmental sustainability, and address the Pittsburgh area’s aging infrastructure.

Representing the union’s political and legislative interests in D.C., and filling Carol Landry’s mighty shoes, is new USW Vice President at Large Roxanne Brown, who previously served as USW Legislative Director. She will continue to oversee legislative, public policy and political matters while remaining based in the capital. And she will be doing this as the union’s first black woman to serve on the executive board.

In her first official appearance as Vice President at Large, Brown took to the podium at the USW Civil and Human Rights Conference this past July in Minneapolis and spoke on what her momentous appointment signifies.

“It’s not about me,” Brown said to the packed ballroom of USW activists. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to lead this union. It’s about what I represent for the present and future of this union. It’s about what you represent.”

Gerard, before stepping down, noted the importance of this expansion for women and people of color in leadership, and applauded the union’s commitment to diversity.

“We represent more different kinds of workers in more and more sectors, and our board is changing to reflect that growth,” said Gerard. “The USW is committed to bringing forward the next generation of labor leaders and to provide the tools, training, and opportunity they will need to succeed.”

Roxanne Brown and Cathy Drummond march with a group of Steelworkers in Minneapolis for workers' and immigrants' rights during the USW Civil and Human Rights Conference.

Brown has a broad base of experience working for legislation that supports USW members and all working people. She also works with the various companies and associations that are impacted by regulations and laws under consideration in the nation’s agencies and Congress. She began working for the USW legislative department in 1999.

With Brown stationed in Washington, D.C., to head the union’s policy initiatives, Kim Miller, previously the director of the USW Rapid Response program, will take on the position of Assistant to the President to help advise the officers in Pittsburgh on these vital legislative and political issues. Before joining the Steelworkers, Kim worked as a Special Projects Director and Legislative Assistant for U.S. Representative David Bonior of Michigan. In this role, she helped fight against anti-worker trade agreements during key fights and saw the power of union members who engaged in the legislative process. She has also done PAC fundraising for Congressional candidates and served in Americorps, a national service program.

For more than two decades, Miller has fought to advance workers’ rights, first as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and later for the USW.

Following in the fierce activist’s footsteps, Amber Miller (no relation) is the new USW Rapid Response Director. Miller began her career at Chase Brass and Copper Co. in Montpelier, Ohio, where she served in a variety of leadership roles, including local union president. When she came to Pittsburgh in 2012, Miller joined the Rapid Response staff. As director, she will help USW members use their collective voice to engage with legislative issues that impact their workplaces and labor contracts.

Kim Miller, Assistant to the President, (left) with Amber Miller, Director of Rapid Response (right).

Anna Fendley, most recently an associate legislative director in the D.C. office, is also assuming the newly created position of director of regulatory and state policy. In her new role, she will further the union’s goal to proactively influence state-level policies to keep USW members working and to create high-quality jobs in their communities. She will also continue her work on federal policy impacting safety and health, as well as building and maintaining coalitions with other policy-oriented organizations such as the BlueGreen Alliance.

“The laws and policies enacted at both the national and state level have a huge impact on nearly all of the diverse sectors where our members work,” said Brown. “Our union is lucky to have this new team leading these fights.”

Women are growing into leadership positions across all planes of the union, including in the districts. At the end of July, newly installed District 1 Director Donnie Blatt named Teresa Hartley as Assistant to the Director.

In 2000, Hartley began working at the Cooper Tire factory in Findlay, Ohio, where she became a member of USW Local 207L. She quickly became active in the local, serving as chair of the local union’s Women of Steel (WOS) Committee. Hartley attended five years of WOS leadership courses, learning about all aspects of the union and how to advocate on behalf of workers.

For Hartley, the experience serving as the district’s civil rights coordinator and Women of Steel coordinator was beyond invaluable.

“This union gave me a voice,” Hartley said. “I have been afforded the opportunity to work closely with the sisters, brothers and siblings in our district, and to provide the same opportunities and education to them that I have had for myself.”

And the woman power doesn’t stop, or begin, here.

Earlier this year, Cathy Drummond was named Assistant to the Director for District 11. Drummond began her career of activism at Duluth Clinic—Hibbing when the workers organized a unionization drive in 1998.  Her activism was crucial in those negotiating efforts, which resulted in over 2,000 new members and the charter of Local Union 9460.

Drummond was elected Unit President and Vice President in 2000, and began working with the USW as a staff representative in 2004. She also has served as the District 11 Women of Steel Coordinator since the summer of 2011.

At the last WOS conference held in Toronto in October 2018, USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann told the crowd, “There is nothing stronger than a Woman of Steel.” According to these recent movements of women leaders within the union, it’s easy to see he is not wrong.

Workplace violence in health care highlighted at USW health and safety conference https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/workplace-violence-in-health-care-highlighted-at-usw-health-and-safety-conference Mon, 16 Sep 2019 14:08:12 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/workplace-violence-in-health-care-highlighted-at-usw-health-and-safety-conference The opening session of the USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference last week highlighted the epidemic of workplace violence in health care by urging attendees to support a vital bill working its way through the U.S. Congress.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would mandate that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) create a national standard requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.

“There’s a lot more to safety than just making ‘safety’ your first slide on the deck,” USW International President Tom Conway told the packed ballroom in Pittsburgh on Monday, Sept. 9. “The work that you’re doing is crucial to the lives of our members. Your work makes sure they go home to their families.”

A Thursday morning panel on workplace violence in health care took a deeper dive into the unfortunate necessity of this legislation. Since 2012, violence against health care workers has increased by 30 percent, a humbling statistic mentioned in a powerful video screened to the conference attendees.

USW Director of Regulatory and State Policy Anna Fendley, based in Washington, D.C., spoke to the health and safety activists about the union’s work behind pushing for this to change. Members and staff, aided by the Rapid Response department, been meeting in person with representatives both in the nation’s capital and in offices across the United States as well as making phone calls to representatives, urging them to vote ‘yes.’

USW Director of Regulatory and State Policy Anna Fendley talks to the Health, Safety, and Environment Conference about the Safe Jobs Now campaign.

Ryan Fairley, a former paramedic who now works in the union’s organizing department, spoke on the panel about his personal experience dealing with violence as an emergency responder.

Once, while responding to an overdose incident, he almost became a statistic when the patient he was treating and transporting became violent, ripping out their IVs and thrashing their arms. Alone in the back of the ambulance, Fairley was vulnerable, and getting the driver to phone police for assistance was no easy task. One way to help remedy this is through mandatory training on de-escalation and communication between emergency responders, including dispatchers. An enforceable standard, like the one proposed in the bill, would be key to achieving this and making sure.

“Workplace violence should not be ‘just part of the job,’” he told the crowd, which included health care industry members.

USW’s Tamara Lefcowitz updated the conference attendees on the work of the Health Care Workers Council, which strives to do more than serve its own industry.

“The council doesn’t limit advocating for health care members to employers and legislators,” she said. “We want to create connections across all industrial sectors and build solidarity with our union brothers and sisters.”  

The council has also been pounding the pavement with the union’s Safe Jobs Now campaign to make sure the bill gets moved through the House and onto the Senate. To Lefcowitz, if anyone can do it, it’s the Steelworkers.

“The USW made its reputation on being a fighting union,” she said.

A variety of health care industry workers attended the USW Health, Safety, and Environment Conference.

Rapid Response Director Amber Miller, who started her union career at a brass foundry in Ohio, reiterated Lefcowitz’s focus on unity and recognizing that an injury to one truly is an injury to all.

“Our solidarity across our sectors is our strength,” Miller said, “and we need that in order to push this forward.”

To learn more about the Safe Jobs Now campaign and how you can help move the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act through Congress, click here.

USW District 2 Members Taking Action for Rapid Response Postcard Campaign https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-district-2-members-taking-action-for-rapid-response-postcard-campaign Fri, 13 Sep 2019 07:39:40 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-district-2-members-taking-action-for-rapid-response-postcard-campaign Local 14540 is pictured here taking action around our “Safe Jobs Now” campaign. While they all work for the road commission in Mio, Michigan, many of them have family members and friends who work in the healthcare field. A shout out to those pictured for staying after hours to meet with Sue Browne, Rapid Response Coordinator for District 2, to talk about the program and for participating in this action.

Pictured left to right: Todd George, Jeremy Clayton, Bryan Hudson, Paul Rowden, Paul Winchell, Rodd Layman

Thank you to all of you who have participated in our current “Safe Jobs Now” Rapid Response campaign in support of the The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309/S. 851), which would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure these workplaces develop and implement violence prevention plans, something that is long overdue.

We will be taking our message to Capitol Hill at our National Rapid Response and Legislative Conference in October, and will be hand-delivering the postcards you sent in.

Click here to learn more about this campaign.

Pictured: Local President Rodd Layman

USW Members Mourn Fallen Co-Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-members-mourn-fallen-co-workers Tue, 10 Sep 2019 13:48:10 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-members-mourn-fallen-co-workers

Day two of the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Conference included perhaps the most somber moment of the weeklong event, as the more than 1,600 attendees paid tribute to 46 co-workers who lost their lives since the last conference in March 2018.

The audience in the Pittsburgh convention center stood in silence for several minutes as the names of fallen workers slowly scrolled past on video screens. The memorial included a poetry reading by USW member Connie Brown and a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” by USW Emergency Response Team (ERT) Coordinator Duronda Pope.

Seeing the names, ages, local numbers and workplaces of the dead “brings importance to the work that we do here,” said International President Tom Conway as he welcomed company safety representatives for the first day of joint labor-management workshops. 

Coming to a consensus on health and safety issues is a good foundation on which union members and bosses can build a collaborative relationship that extends to other issues, Conway said.

When a worker dies or suffers a catastrophic injury, it doesn’t matter whether that worker was union or non-union, management or contractor, said ERT Director Al McDougall, whose team responds immediately any time a USW workplace suffers such an event.

McDougall encouraged all locals to contact the ERT as soon as they experience a tragic incident using the 24-hour ERT hotline: (866) 526-3480. 

Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn said he has seen firsthand why preventing such incidents must be the union’s top priority, recalling the day he witnessed his best friend lose his life while on the job in a glass plant.  

“When you experience that, you never forget about it,” Shinn said. “That’s why we are so dedicated to what we do.”

International Vice President Fred Redmond said that coming up with solutions to safety issues is easier when management takes a proactive role.

Redmond cited as an example the 40-year battle the USW waged to implement stricter federal standards for workplace beryllium exposure.

For decades, companies opposed a new standard, and action was delayed. Then the USW partnered with Materion Brush, one of the world’s largest producers of beryllium, and change became a reality. New standards began taking effect in 2017. 

“Collaboration isn’t easy, but it is absolutely necessary,” Redmond said.

Another issue for which labor-management cooperation is key is the problem of workplace violence, he said. Redmond noted that health care workers in particular are vulnerable due to violent outbursts from patients or family members. The USW represents 50,000 workers in health care fields.

Redmond urged members to contact their congressional representatives and tell them to vote for the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309/S. 851), which would require workplaces to develop and implement violence prevention plans.

“The health care industry needs to get this message,” he said.

Ultimately, the most successful workplace health and safety programs are those in which every member is involved, said International Vice President David McCall. 

“We are our co-workers and our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers,” McCall said. “This is work that can never stop.”


USW Members Kick Off Health & Safety Conference https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-members-kick-off-health-safety-conference Tue, 10 Sep 2019 09:27:36 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-members-kick-off-health-safety-conference More than 1,600 activists from USW and Communications Workers of America (CWA) locals, along with managers at USW- and CWA-represented companies, are in Pittsburgh this week aiming to make their workplaces safer and healthier.

“The work that you’re doing is crucial to the union,” International President Tom Conway told the crowd at the outset of Monday’s union-only session that kicked off the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Conference.

Conway said that at one point in the history of the steel industry, 500 workers died each year, just in Pittsburgh-area mills.

“In many ways, the work that you do this week grows out of that history,” he said.

The newly installed president said that the work of making facilities safer goes hand-in-hand with organizing and growing the union.

“The foundation of our union is the safety and health work that we do,” Conway said. “We’re not going to leave that work undone.”

Bobby “Mac” McAuliffe, director of District 10, which comprises the state of Pennsylvania, welcomed the delegates to Pittsburgh by reminding them that the knowledge they gain at the weeklong event belongs to every member of the USW.

“Take what you learn back to your locals,” McAuliffe said. “Talk about it. You learn more sometimes after the workshops are over by talking to each other.”

Ken Neumann, national director for Canada, said that grassroots activism is the key to making permanent, positive change on safety issues.

“There is nothing more fundamental than making sure we can count on coming home at the end of the day,” Neumann said. “That’s why the Steelworkers will continue to lead.”

Other speakers at Monday’s session included USW Health, Safety and Environment Director Mike Wright, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Rebecca Reindel, and CWA Deputy Director of Health and Safety Micki Siegel de Hernandez.

Wright closed out Monday’s plenary session by moderating a panel discussion about a health and safety issue that stretches well beyond USW workplaces – the topic of climate change.

The panel included USW members, scientists and environmentalists, all of whom agreed that workers must be an integral part the discussion on climate policy. The session ended with questions and comments from delegates.

Brandi Sanders, a refinery worker and member of Local 13-1, said that the USW and its allies must focus not just on combatting the effects of climate change but also on making sure that the transition to a “green” economy includes good-paying union jobs for all workers.

“That’s why we need you in this fight,” Wright said.

USW petition drive persists for workplace violence bill https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-petition-drive-persists-for-workplace-violence-bill Mon, 09 Sep 2019 11:56:23 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-petition-drive-persists-for-workplace-violence-bill Members across the country continue to collect petition cards in support of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The bill would mandate that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) create a national standard requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.

This legislation is especially important given that healthcare and social service workers face extremely high rates of workplace violence. Many of our members know this all too well, which is why the union’s Rapid Response department has taken on this vital campaign.

Women of Steel from District 11, joined by Assistant to the Director Cathy Drummond, spent some time volunteering for the cause last weekend at the Minnesota State Fair by collecting signatures from attendees. 

For more information about the campaign and how to sign one yourself, click here.

USW BASF Council Leverages Solidarity in Dealing with World’s Largest Chemical Company https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-basf-council-leverages-solidarity-in-dealing-with-worlds-largest-chemical-company Fri, 06 Sep 2019 13:04:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-basf-council-leverages-solidarity-in-dealing-with-worlds-largest-chemical-company In June 1984, BASF shut its doors on 370 operators and maintenance workers at its Geismar, La., chemical plant in what would become one of the nation’s longest lockouts in U.S. labor history. It took solidarity, collective action and alliances with local and national groups, but after five and a half years, Local 620 ratified a new contract and got everybody back to work.

Thirty-five years later, BASF is still a corporate behemoth, but the USW has taken steps to build bargaining power and safeguard against this kind of protracted work stoppage.

The BASF Council, which met this year on July 29-30 in McIntyre, Ga., has been one of the most concrete ways workers from all the BASF units can share their stories, help each other plan for bargaining and ensure unity and solidarity across locations.

“The council has really matured into a great tool for each local,” said District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who heads the BASF Council. “We leverage each one’s strength and solidarity to ensure that we are one, not only in bargaining, but also in day-to-day contract administration.”

For Doug Watts, chairman of the Local 13-620 BASF group at Geismar, La., the council has two primary benefits.

“It brought together groups representing sites we never would have had contact with because they were from different business groups,” said Watts.

“Second, BASF says it does not engage in pattern bargaining, but it actually does. It depends on where you’re at in the bargaining cycle. The council can give you a heads up. It’s a really good communication tool. It would be hard bargaining with the company without the council.”

Local 10-074 Scores Contract Win

Building power training and solidarity from within the USW BASF Council paid off big last spring when Local 10-074 in Monaca, Pa., ratified a new contract that beat back concessions, increased wages and strengthened contract language.

Drawing on what they’d learned in Building Power training, the bargaining committee circulated three new stickers throughout the 80-person unit for three weeks. Members also signed a solidarity poster, which they placed on a union bulletin board in clear view of members and management alike.

Unit President Wil Lynn consulted with the council in addressing proposed concessions, like changing from an eight- to a 12-hour schedule. With the weight of the council behind them, the unit was able to avoid major give-backs.

The contract also included a 2.95 percent wage increase each year of the six-year contract, improved successorship, union leave and health and safety language, and kept workers’ premium contribution the same.

Solidarity in Bargaining

Local 10-074 Unit President Wil Lynn said his unit’s new contract was at the end of the bargaining cycle.

“To be able to say, ‘This is what the company is telling me,’ helps,” said Lynn. “It makes the company be more honest on the direction it’s trying to go.”

The council also chooses its yearly meeting location strategically, holding it close to a bargaining location as a demonstration of solidarity.

Locals 9-233, 9-237 and 9-237-1 in Middle Georgia begin negotiations on Sept. 4. Their contracts expire Sept. 30.

Twenty-six people—19 of them were council delegates—toured four of the company’s sites in the area, and Tommy Daniels, president of Local 9-237, said he felt the council meeting helped the Middle Georgia locals prepare for bargaining.

“It showed the locals that we have the backing of the other USW locals,” he said. “It also prepared us to know what they have been through and what they came up against in their contracts.”

Daniels said he found the presentations to be helpful, especially the financial analysis of BASF, which showed the company’s profits and the CEO’s salary.

“This is information we do not normally get, and we can say to BASF, ‘You are not as broke or poor as you say you are.’”

Beyond Bargaining

Securing fair contracts at all the union’s BASF locations is a top priority, but the council does important work between bargaining cycles as well.

During the council meeting the locals discussed bargaining trends, challenges and successes in dealing with management, and grievances and arbitrations.  They also discussed health and safety, long- and short term disability practices and the company’s new leadership.

Keith Gilmer, Local 10-074 trustee from BASF’s Monaca, Pa., plant acknowledged the value of the council meetings and conference calls.

“If something happens at one site, we talk about it. It gives my local an idea of how we could handle an issue based on discussions with other sites.”

Also important is the camaraderie that’s developed between the council members.

“The yearly council meeting is like a family reunion,” Daniels said, “catching up on what’s going on at the other places. We’re more like friends getting information from each other than council members.”

A Thank You to Carol Landry as the Chemical Sector Gains New Leader https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/a-thank-you-to-carol-landry-as-the-chemical-sector-gains-new-leader Thu, 05 Sep 2019 09:38:43 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/a-thank-you-to-carol-landry-as-the-chemical-sector-gains-new-leader USW International Vice President Carol Landry has never backed down from a challenge.

She negotiated contracts with copper mine bosses as the only woman on a 13-member bargaining committee and later as USW Local 7619 president. She organized many of USW’s chemical locals into councils and held regional meetings to provide much needed structure and attention for the sector.

When many U.S. managers were not following Solvay’s Global Framework Agreement, which committed the company to organizing neutrality and dialogue with unions, Landry orchestrated and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Solvay U.S. labor relations.

A trailblazer, she was the first woman to serve as a USW International Vice President and the first woman to be elected Vice President for the North American region of IndustriALL, the global union representing 50 million workers in 140 countries.

As a long-time activist and mentor, Landry co-chaired the USW Next Generation program that develops new leaders. She also co-chaired the Lynn Williams Institute program, and was active in the USW’s Leadership Development program. As a Woman of Steel leader, she created programs to encourage women to take on leadership roles inside the union and in the community.

“Carol has done incredible work with our chemical sector,” said USW Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn, who has taken as head of the chemical sector. “She set a good foundation moving forward. We wish her the best in her retirement.”

John Shinn

As a staff representative for the USWA, Shinn serviced many chemical locals in the New Jersey-Delaware area. “So, I understand the challenges of the chemical sector and importance of health and safety,” he said.

“I look forward to meeting everyone in person and carrying on the great work Carol has provided.”

The Oilworker: September 2019 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/the-oilworker-september-2019 Wed, 04 Sep 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/the-oilworker-september-2019 FROM THE UNION

Message from the NOBP Chair

Brothers and Sisters,

There have been some noteworthy events in the sector since our last OilWorker. The most recent has been Motiva’s purchase of the Flint Hill chemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas. The plants are nearly next door and will give Motiva an entry into the chemical sector in the United States. We are also in the midst of discussing some benefit changes proposed by Motiva in the last few weeks and will have to determine how these all fit together with their acquisition.

Approximately two weeks ago, Indorama announced the purchase of our Huntsman chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, with a likely expansion of the facility going forward. We will be entering into discussion soon to determine if the buyer’s proposal will maintain benefits equal in the aggregate and look forward to working with the new company.

We will also be meeting face to face with PBF representatives in September to begin our discussions of aggregate benefits with the purchase of the Shell Martinez refinery. We have done a thorough review of the two packages with the help of technicians in the collective bargaining department and have had some preliminary phone conversations with the two companies.

The other issue receiving lots of attention the past few weeks has been the effects bargaining resulting from the mothballing of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. We have reached an agreement on “caretaker” positions in the facility with a few modifications to the current contract, which will continue in effect for one year from date of expiration, Sept. 8. This will also include the first year of the NOBP 3.5 percent pay increase. A big thanks to the legal department and staff who, in conjunction with the local bargaining committee, were able to put a proposal together that maintained work for 83 of our members and collected some vacation pay for the people who were laid off. We also retain seniority recall rights if the refinery is sold and reopened.

And one final item: On Aug. 27, BP announced the sale of their assets in Alaska to Hillcorp. We are currently gathering information, researching Hillcorp and preparing for bargaining. We hope to know more soon, but in the meantime, you can read about the sale here.

Thanks to Director Ruben Garza and all the folks in District 13 for the hospitality and opportunity to meet with our oil groups during the recent educational conference.  We wish you continued success in “facing the challenges and making a difference.”

For more news about our industry, check out the links below.

In strength and solidarity,

Kim Nibarger
NOBP Chair


Shell Weighs Installing Solar Panels at Singapore Refinery

Shell announced last month that it is considering installing solar panels on its Bukom refining site in Singapore. This is part of a larger push to generate solar energy, including panels on the roofs of several Shell lubricant plants worldwide. The panels will be used to help power operations and reduce carbon emissions. To read more, click here

Settlement Reached on Bi-directional Service for Laurel Pipeline

Bi-directional service on the Laurel Pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will begin in October, according to a settlement announced last month. The pipeline had been embroiled in a dispute over bi-directional service for more than a year, with opponents arguing it would hurt East Coast refiners. The agreement guarantees east-to-west capacity to meet demand in Western Pennsylvania. To read more, click here. 

Biofuel Coalition Sues EPA

A coalition of biofuel advocates sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month, demanding the agency enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard. One of the primary goals is to end exemptions, including waivers for small refiners who do not have the capacity to make biodiesel blends. To read more, click here.

D9 Conference Highlights Health Care Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/d9-conference-highlights-health-care-workers Tue, 03 Sep 2019 11:06:31 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/d9-conference-highlights-health-care-workers The health care sector is an important part of the fabric of District 9 and one that needs more recognition and support so it has the chance to grow, District 9 Director Dan Flippo told the 730 participants at the district’s annual education conference.

And the conference, held last week in Destin, Fla., provided a great opportunity to do just that.

For the first time ever, health care workers had a dedicated breakout session devoted to addressing one of their biggest concerns, workplace violence.

The class, which was open to workers from other sectors, also provided a venue to discuss the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, legislation that would help protect heath care workers on the job.

The health care council and the union more broadly have been working hard to push Congress to pass this act, and over the course of the conference, representatives from the Rapid Response department were able to collect 700 new postcards to elected officials asking them to vote yes. 

District 9 health care coordinator Kim Smith, who herself worked as a member of a rescue squad and EMT during her 23 years at the Westvaco paper mill in North Charleston, S.C., said it’s important for people outside the health care sector to understand the unique challenges health care workers face.

This is obviously significant when organizing, but it’s also helpful for leaders of amalgamated locals so they can understand the needs of their health care units.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t know about a lot about the health care sector, but they were very receptive,” Smith said.

In a strange twist, Smith’s training as a first responder came in handy at the conference, as not once but twice she was called upon to address allergic reactions, and even had to inject someone with an Epi Pen.

“It’s ironic that at the conference where we’re really kicking off our focus on the work of the health care council, I had to use my EMT background,” said Smith. “That will definitely be one of the most memorable parts of this conference.”

“Each of our districts demonstrates its commitment to the health care sector a little differently,” said USW Health Care Coordinator Tamara Lefcowitz, who led the workplace safety session at the conference. “But that’s what makes our council so strong. We’re all using our resources to pull in the same direction.”

USW members at Ardagh: Labor Day Message https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-members-at-ardagh-labor-day-message Fri, 30 Aug 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-members-at-ardagh-labor-day-message To all USW members at Ardagh,

We hope you all get to enjoy some time off this Labor Day weekend and have an opportunity to celebrate the strength of solidarity and the dignity of work. USW members work hard for both the success of the company and all of the pay and benefits you earn.

This Labor Day, we also remember the efforts of all those that came before us, to gain things like vacations, holiday pay, overtime pay, premium pay, health insurance, retirement benefits, and better working conditions, just to name a few. In March, Ardagh demanded steep concessions from the GMP Council Locals, including taking away almost all premium pay. As a result of your solidarity, management withdrew their proposal to take away premium pay. Now, Ardagh is demanding steep concessions from the Mold Makers, including major changes in work schedules and taking away premium pay that we’ve had for decades.

We know if management is successful in gutting premium pay for Mold Makers, they’ll be coming after everyone else’s premium pay next time – that’s their version of “aligning premium pay”.

Despite management’s efforts, we will continue to support each other and make our solidarity even stronger – that’s the power of the Union!

In Solidarity,

Rob Witherell
Glass Industry Conference
Bruce Smith
GMP Council
Solvay Workers Vote to Join USW https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solvay-workers-vote-to-join-usw Thu, 29 Aug 2019 08:27:41 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solvay-workers-vote-to-join-usw Production employees at Solvay’s Tulsa, Okla., plant voted overwhelmingly on August 8 to join the USW. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certified the election on Aug. 18.

The USW will represent 79 workers at a plant that makes high performance composite materials that are used in high performance sports applications (like yachts and motorsport) and defense and ballistic applications in helmets, vests and vehicles.

USW District 13 organizer Dionisio Gonzalez said the organizing campaign took about 40 days, and he attributed the win to a “great in-plant committee.”

Two major issues prompted workers to seek union representation:  Harsh discipline through a point system and favoritism. Gonzalez said he constantly attacked the point system during the campaign.

Communication and education were essential since the group didn’t have a lot of union experience, said Gonzalez. He was able to provide information about topics, like their right to organize, through handbills.

Another important part of the success was Solvay’s Global Framework Agreement (GFA), which commits the company to respecting the rights of its employees to organize and join a union. Gonzalez said that the company’s corporate labor relations manager for North America came to the plant during the campaign, adhered to the agreement and was neutral about the vote.


The company and IndustriALL, a global labor federation that counts the USW as a member, signed the GFA in February 2017. In the agreement, Solvay committed to following internationally recognized labor, human rights and environmental standards at all of its sites.

High Enthusiasm

The next step is to form a negotiating committee and bargain a first contract.

Gonzalez said that not only is there a great deal of enthusiasm about joining the USW, there’s a lot of interest in participating on the negotiating committee. The group also has a clear idea of what they hope to achieve in bargaining. They highlighted and notated copies of other USW Solvay contracts that Gonzalez provided them.

Educating newly-organized workers about their rights is essential, he said.

“Members need to be educated on how to enforce a contract. If you have 50-60 percent well-trained members, you can have a strong union. This Solvay group is ready for the long term.”

Solvay Members Negotiate Improvements in New Contract https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solvay-members-negotiate-improvements-in-new-contract Thu, 29 Aug 2019 08:26:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solvay-members-negotiate-improvements-in-new-contract The 16 members of amalgamated Local 4294-03 at Solvay Fluorides, LLC’s Alorton, Ill., hydrogen fluoride plant ratified a new three-year agreement on July 19 that beat back concessions, improved wages, and created new health and safety language.

Talks began July 9, and the old contract was set to expire Aug. 1. As bargaining grew near, the production and maintenance workers were ready and willing to support their negotiations committee, wearing union shirts and displaying “Fair Contract Now” signs inside their vehicle windshields and in the control room windows.

“We also held meetings before negotiations to find out what people wanted in the contract, and we brought those issues to the bargaining table,” said Local 4294-03 Unit Chair Mark Lightle.

The members’ solidarity paid off, and the group reached an agreement after four days of negotiations.

They beat back the company’s attempt to make changes to work schedules that would have infringed on time off, impeded employees’ ability to be with their families and affected premium pay. They also demanded that Solvay bargain over its proposed revisions to the existing substance abuse policy; agreement was not reached over the changes, so the policy remained unchanged.

Members also gained by receiving a 2.7 percent wage increase every year of the three-year contract, a one-time signing bonus of $500 and a ten-cent increase in the evening and midnight shift differentials.

An employee who has worked eight hours and is forced to work the next shift will be paid double time for the extra eight or more hours of work.  To avoid excessive overtime, Solvay agreed to hire a utility person to cover employees who are out sick or on vacation.

“We kept our health insurance with no changes, which was a big deal,” Lightle said. “Premiums paid by members will not increase during the contract term.”

The allowance for the Solvay Wellness Program increased from $200 to $225 per year, and receipts for reimbursement can now be turned in throughout the year instead of the previous limited time frame.

Lightle said the contract contains improvement in the pay-off rules for 401(k) loans, and wealth management firm Merrill Lynch will come to the workplace to educate workers about investments.

New Safety Clause

The union negotiated important contract language that established a labor/management safety committee that will meet at least monthly to discuss and address safety issues, and jointly inform all employees of safety information.

“The union will have more say over safety,” said District 7 Staff Rep. Dave Dowling, who negotiated the contract with the Solvay unit’s bargaining committee. “The union can insist on what is discussed and on the committee’s agenda, review and approve the meeting minutes, and hold the company accountable to take care of safety matters.”

Union members on the safety committee will also participate in the investigation of incidents, near misses and other safety-related matters. Their recommendations will be part of the process to prevent future safety occurrences.

An existing company procedure which allows workers to dispute a job assignment they consider to be unsafe will now be in the union contract as well.

These health and safety provisions are extremely important when dealing with a hazardous chemical like hydrogen fluoride (HF).

“Our members know what they are doing in controlling, handling and shipping HF,” Dowling said. “These safety provisions will give them tools to prevent incidents from happening.”

Retired USW Member Discovers Union Plus Mortgage Veteran’s Grant https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/retired-usw-member-discovers-union-plus-mortgage-veterans-grant Tue, 27 Aug 2019 16:23:18 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/retired-usw-member-discovers-union-plus-mortgage-veterans-grant Retired United Steelworkers (USW) District 2 member Jim Blank served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964, and was based in Frankfurt, Germany.

“It was a good responsibility,” recalls Blank, who lives in his hometown of Munising, Michigan, a small town in the state’s Upper Peninsula. “It was satisfying serving my country.”

Upon honorable discharge, Blank moved to Lansing, Michigan to work on the assembly line at a motor wheel factory. However, Blank soon wanted to move back home, so he took a position with the Kimberly-Clark paper mill in Munising.

“It was a great job over the years,” says Blank. “We had great benefits. The USW did a great job for us. After 30 years, I decided to retire.”

Blank didn’t learn about Union Plus until his daughter asked for his help in getting a mortgage: she wanted to use his USW membership to apply for a Union Plus Mortgage through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

“The representative at Wells Fargo saw that I was a retired union member and a veteran and suggested that I apply for the Union Plus Mortgage Veteran’s Grant1,” remembers Blank. “Sure enough, I got a check in the mail.”

If you have served in the military and are an active or retired member of a union and you have financed your primary residence through the Union Plus Mortgage Program, you may qualify for the Veteran’s Grant. It provides a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to offset the cost of the home.

“I can’t believe I learned about Union Plus so late,” says Blank. “If you’re a veteran, you should definitely look into the Veteran’s Grant.”

To learn more about the Union Plus Mortgage Program and the Veteran’s Grant, please visit unionplus.org/mortgage.

How the DOE Funds Your Paycheck: Part One https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/how-the-doe-funds-your-paycheck-part-one Fri, 09 Aug 2019 09:04:57 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/how-the-doe-funds-your-paycheck-part-one If you are an atomic worker, your paycheck is dependent on federal government funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the agency’s allocations for clean-up activities.

Of course, your paycheck directly comes from the DOE contractor, but the contractor gets its funding for cleanup and other projects from the agency.

The funding process is like a maze and subject to administrative and congressional policies, priorities and politics. Now that Congress and President Trump have signed a two-year budget deal, they have until October 1—the beginning of the federal government’s fiscal year—to pass 12 funding bills. Whether that happens depends on the political and policy roadblocks along the way.

House Passes Energy Funding Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives took the first step by passing 10 of the 12 funding bills. This included on June 19 a package of four appropriations bills that will fund federal departments, including the DOE, from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

Under the House bill the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) would receive $7.175 billion in funding for nuclear waste cleanup at 16 sites—an amount equal to money received for fiscal year 2019, but an increase of $706 million above President Trump’s budget request.

Uranium enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work would receive $873 million, an increase of $32 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $158 million above the President’s budget request.

Funding Process

Ten of the 12 funding bills contain provisions Republicans oppose, so it may be unlikely these bills will pass the Republican-controlled Senate.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has not taken action on any of the 12 funding bills, and with the House and Senate recessed for August, there will only be three weeks after Congress returns to resolve funding issues.

This is a short timeframe considering the appropriations process. The House and Senate appropriations committees divide the budget resolution allocations among 12 appropriations subcommittees in each chamber. These subcommittees hold public hearings and prepare appropriations bills. Next, the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate vote on each subcommittee’s funding bill. Then, the full House and Senate vote on each appropriations bill.

A House-Senate conference committee would resolve any differences between the House and Senate appropriations bills. Then, they would go to the President to sign or veto.

If Congress and the President cannot reach a formal funding agreement, Congress will have to pass and the President will sign a Continuing Resolution (CR) or an omnibus bill containing any unfinished funding bills to prevent a government shutdown. The CR funds the government at 2019 levels to give negotiators more time to get a funding deal. It usually goes into early or mid-December, setting up another funding deadline before the holidays.

Next Steps

The media reported that Senate Republicans are thinking of merging three appropriations bills—defense; labor, health and human services; and energy and water development—during Senate debate in September. If this happens and the Senate passes the bills, a large chunk of the federal government would be immune to a shutdown.

At the 2019 National Cleanup Workshop on Sept. 10-12 in Alexandria, Va., Congressional leadership and staff will discuss current and future funding for DOE’s Environmental Management program.

The DOE then determines how much money to allocate to each cleanup site, and its budget gives an idea of its priorities. Read about the DOE’s budget and factors influencing the money allocated to each site in Part Two of “It is Time to Fund Your Paycheck” next month.

Local 9-288 President Wins Safety Award https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-9-288-president-wins-safety-award Thu, 08 Aug 2019 14:23:12 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-9-288-president-wins-safety-award Health and safety is Billy Edington’s passion.

For 28 years the USW Local 9-288 president has trained and mentored thousands of people and made significant contributions to local, regional, national and international health and safety. He also writes safety curriculum, investigates incidents, and conducts safety audits and inspections.

“I don’t want to see anyone get hurt or killed,” he said, when asked what motivated him to become a health and safety activist.

An instrumentation technician, Edington said he has always worked for nuclear contractors who participated in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). He also has worked with the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center for more than 15 years.

USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo acknowledged Edington’s commitment to health and safety: “His work ethic, attention to detail and desire to spread the knowledge of safety and health is a benefit to all who receive his instruction and guidance.”

Edington’s extensive work with VPP and the TMC also caught the attention of his employer, UCOR, in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The cleanup contractor’s VPP health and safety coordinator, Michelle Keever, nominated him for a national safety award.

In July, the 2019 Voluntary Protection Programs Participants Association (VPPPA) announced Edington had won, and at the end of August, he will travel to New Orleans to accept the VPPPA Safety and Health Outreach Award at the National VPPPA Safety & Health Conference.

“While much of Billy’s dedication to safety can be seen through the legacy of his safety and health training efforts, he ultimately demonstrates the traits of an exemplary safety leader through his everyday actions and words. He is a deliberate and effective communicator who actively cares for the health and safety of others,” Keever wrote in the award application.

UCOR is the prime cleanup contractor at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) East Tennessee Technology Park (former K-25 site).

“Billy has been a strong leader in our union when it comes to health and safety issues,” said retired International Vice President Carol Landry. “We are very proud of his work over the years. It is nice to see him get this recognition.”       

Safety Audit

Last March, Edington participated as a Special Government Employee (SGE) in the evaluation of the Sherwin-Williams Company’s Atlanta Distribution Center in Buford, Ga., to determine if it should be re-certified for VPP Star status. It was his first time conducting a VPP audit.

“I asked a lot of questions and tried to participate as much as I could,” he said. “I went in there with a student’s attitude.”

His dedication and hard work impressed the OSHA administrator overseeing the project, who noted his performance in a letter to UCOR’s president and project manager.

Enacting USW Systems of Safety

Though Edington is involved in VPP through his employer, he understands and applies the USW’s Systems of Safety to his work as a trainer for the USW’s Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC).

“I like the USW’s philosophy on the Systems of Safety because you identify the failed systems instead of blaming somebody. That way, you fix the problem in the first place instead of disciplining somebody who has been exposed to the hazard,” he said.

Edington has served as a TMC trainer for more than 15 years, spending much time selecting, mentoring, coaching and training USW worker-trainers. He is also a key member of the TMC curriculum development team.

Through National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) grants and the support of the USW and UCOR, he conducts health and safety training at DOE sites around the country and at other industrial sites throughout USW District 9.

He also applies his teaching skills as a TMC Specialized Emergency Response Trainer (SERT), traveling to natural and manmade disaster areas to show people how to use health and safety techniques during recovery activity.

Preparing Next Generation

Since 2016, Edington has been conducting OSHA 10-hour General Industry and 40-hour HAZWOPER outreach classes at east Tennessee high schools and vocational schools through a NIEHS grant in cooperation with the USW and UCOR.

Last year, he said he trained about 400 students to prepare a new generation of environmental cleanup workers. “With high school students, I tell them war stories, my experience, and it really opens their eyes,” he said.

In early March 2019, Edington taught the OSHA General Industry class to a group of students from the Tennessee School for the Deaf. He said the class required two oral interpreters—one to translate his southern accent to the New York interpreter, who signed to the students.

“These students were very enthusiastic about the training, which made it easier for me to do my job,” he said. “All of them got a big kick out of the chemical protection clothing and personal respirator.

“Having that OSHA certification will add to their resume, and help them go into any general industry work environment.”

Edington said the best part of teaching is the “interaction with people. I learn as much from them as they learn from me. If I can save one person from getting hurt, it’s all worth it.”

Stat Facts: Aug., 6, 2019 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/stat-facts-aug-6-2019 Tue, 06 Aug 2019 09:42:31 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/stat-facts-aug-6-2019 Locked-out members at CarePartners holding strong

On May 31, CarePartners locked out approximately 30 USW Local 2020 Unit 79 members, who have been on the picket line ever since.

The members, holding strong throughout this struggle, now need your help. Please sign this petition to demand the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Health, which largely funds CarePartners, step up and force management back to the table!

How Black Pharmacists Improve Care

There are all kinds of gaps in our health care system when it comes to black and white patients. Black men and women, for example, are at greater risk for illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

There’s also a cultural gap, and it makes a big difference when black patients seek medical help.

Only 6 percent of doctors and 7 percent of pharmacists are black. That means black patients are more likely to be treated by someone who doesn’t look like them or share their experience. And multiple studies show that when patients feel like their social, cultural, and racial backgrounds are acknowledged as part of their medical care, they can see better health outcomes.

In Illinois, though, some of that care is being provided by independent, black-owned pharmacies.

Take a listen to a podcast on The 21st by Cara Anthony, who reported on this for Kaiser Health News. This episode features Dr. Lakesha Butler, a professor of pharmacy practice at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and president of the National Pharmaceutical Association, as well as Bernard Macon, who works as a computer programmer and lives in O’Fallon, Ill. wh his wife and two kids.