United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2018-05-31 13:09:15 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW: Canada Must be Exempt from Tariffs https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-canada-must-be-exempt-from-tariffs Thu, 31 May 2018 13:09:15 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-canada-must-be-exempt-from-tariffs CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org 

Today the United Steelworkers union (USW) expressed its profound disappointment in the Trump Administration’s decision to remove Canada’s exemption from Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum products.

This decision is unacceptable and calls into serious question the design and direction of the Administration’s trade policy. Section 232 relief is founded on national security interests and U.S. law. Our history shows that there is no stronger ally and partner on national security than Canada. 

The decision not to exempt Canada ignores the fact that Canada’s steel and aluminum exports to the United States are fairly traded and that Canada has shown its willingness to strengthen its laws as well as its cooperation with the United States to fight unfair trade. 

From the early days of the Administration, the USW has worked with trade officials to develop, design and deploy trade policies that will strengthen our manufacturing base, increase employment and enhance our national security. 

But, in recent days, it has become increasingly difficult to understand the reasoning behind certain decisions and policies. The regular chaos surrounding our flawed trade policies is undermining the ability to project a reasoned course and ensure that we can improve domestic production and employment. 

Today’s decision is wrongheaded and erodes the certainty companies need to conduct operations and invest in the future. 

Early results showed the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs were having the intended impact: Thousands of jobs were created or saved as relief was put in place. Trading partners were finally beginning to take action against the root cause of all of these problems, China. 

The goal must continue to be strengthening our national security by eliminating unfair competition and global overcapacity. But, that’s at risk now. 

In the coming days, we hope the Administration will reassess its decision so we can resume a path toward correcting the trade violations of the past. 

So far, the Administration’s trade policies have led to confusion, higher trade deficits and no real success in changing the practices of our trading partners. Ultimately, the goal is not a tariff barrier, but a stronger America. It’s time to ensure that we’re on the right path.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. 

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USW Supports Section 232 Investigation on Imports of Autos and Auto Parts https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-supports-section-232-investigation-on-imports-of-autos-and-auto-parts Tue, 29 May 2018 16:13:32 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-supports-section-232-investigation-on-imports-of-autos-and-auto-parts CONTACT:  Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard made the following statement supporting the recent initiation of a Section 232 investigation into imports of autos and auto parts to determine their impact on national security and calling for a focused approach that addresses imports from countries undermining U.S. national defense.

“The USW has thousands of members making products that contribute to the auto sector. From steel and aluminum, to glass and rubber, to plastics and petrochemicals, the USW is the primary union. Unquestionably, every vehicle made in America includes products made by our members.

“The automotive sector is a critical component of our defense industrial base.

“Any student of history knows that it was the automotive sector that helped make America the ‘arsenal of democracy’ in World War II.  The automotive companies had the tools and engineering, and the workers had the skills and experience to make the weapons our men and women in uniform needed to fight for freedom around the globe.

“Today, many of the critical innovations that can contribute to our defense needs emanate from the automotive sector including basic industrial and manufacturing capabilities, new autonomous capabilities, sensor technology, advanced batteries and other technologies.  

“The auto and auto parts sector will be critical to our nation's continued defense and the weaponry of the future which will help preserve democracy and freedom.

“The predatory and protectionist policies of major auto-producing countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany and Mexico have undermined the development of our industrial capabilities.  

“A Section 232 investigation in the auto and auto parts sector should focus on imports from countries that have advanced their interests at the expense of U.S. industrial capacity, our work force and, in turn, our defense industrial base.  

“China, Japan, South Korea and Germany have targeted our market for their exports and limited access to their own markets. Mexico has pursued industrial and labor policies that attack our auto and auto parts sector by suppressing wages and workers’ rights.

“Canada stands with the U.S. as a trusted partner in securing our defense industrial base, just as they did in World War II. 

“The U.S. and Canada have a unique relationship that is synergistic in terms of industrial might and support. Canada, by any measure, should be exempted from any 232 actions on autos and auto parts, just as we have argued must be the case for steel and aluminum.

“As the investigation takes shape, the USW will work closely with the Administration and leaders in the automotive and auto parts sector to ensure that we can meet our security needs in the future.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW: NAFTA Approach Must Be Comprehensive; “Skinny Deal” is Unacceptable https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-nafta-approach-must-be-comprehensive-skinny-deal-is-unacceptable Tue, 22 May 2018 12:37:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-nafta-approach-must-be-comprehensive-skinny-deal-is-unacceptable CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement regarding discussions in Washington, D.C. about possibly approving limited portions of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), while leaving important provisions for later consideration.

In addition to serving as International President for the USW, President Gerard chairs the official Labor Advisory Committee that advises the United States Trade Representative and Secretary of Labor on trade negotiations and policy.

“In Washington, business leaders are talking about approving portions of the NAFTA renegotiations, while leaving the most important provisions for possible later action. They want changes that benefit business while denying workers any relief from outsourcing and reducing our unacceptably high NAFTA trade deficit. For far too long, multinational companies have profited at the expense of workers in all three countries. Allowing corporations to harvest new benefits while continuing to ship more jobs out of the country is unacceptable.

“The special interest lobbyists have called this a ‘skinny deal’ containing limited provisions. There can be no mistake that they are trying to grab more benefits while continuing to oppose actions that would help workers. These include advancing labor rights, improving rules of origin, eliminating the investor state dispute settlement and adopting a sunset review. It is classic Washington bait and switch that is unacceptable.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW Endorses Laura Kelly for Kansas Governor https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-endorses-laura-kelly-for-kansas-governor Tue, 22 May 2018 11:26:13 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-endorses-laura-kelly-for-kansas-governor CONTACT: Emil Ramirez (816) 836-1400

Topeka, Kan. -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced its endorsement of state Senator Laura Kelly for governor in the Kansas Democratic primary.

USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez praised Kelly as a powerful advocate for working families. “As a four-term state senator, Laura has never flinched in fighting for working men and women and their families, on the job and in the community.”

Elected to the Kansas Senate in 2004, Kelly quickly became known for her leadership and ability to reach across the political aisle, advocating for fiscally responsible, balanced budgets that still prioritized quality schools, health care and public safety.

Kelly was also key to building the bipartisan coalition to reverse then Gov. Brownback’s tax plan, putting Kansas on the road to fiscal recovery.

“Sen. Kelly knows the importance of service and integrity,” said USW Local 307L President Jody Juarez. “She stands with working people and understands how important it is that everyone pay their fair share in order for us to drive on safe roads and send our children to good schools.”

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

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USW Condemns EPA Chief’s Proposal to Revoke Chemical Disaster Regulations https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-condemns-epa-chiefs-proposal-to-revoke-chemical-disaster-regulations Fri, 18 May 2018 10:07:31 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-condemns-epa-chiefs-proposal-to-revoke-chemical-disaster-regulations CONTACT: Anna Fendley, (202) 778-3306

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17) – The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today in response to the proposal by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to rescind regulations — commonly called the “RMP Amendments” or the “Chemical Disaster Rule” — designed to prevent and respond to chemical-related disasters.

“Today, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt did the bidding of powerful industry lobbyists by rescinding important requirements to prevent and respond to catastrophic chemical incidents at industrial facilities.

“The EPA Risk Management Program is a crucial tool that the Obama administration rightly decided to modernize after numerous incidents, including the April 2013 explosion in West, Texas, that killed 15 and injured 150, and earlier incidents at USW-represented facilities in Anacortes, Wash., and Richmond, Calif.

“The Obama-era rules contained important worker safety provisions to prevent accidents and save lives. These rules included root cause accident investigation, safer technology assessments and third-party audits. The regulations also required increased coordination and sharing of information with first responders, who are inevitably called in to assist during and after a chemical release or explosion.

“Administrator Pruitt’s deregulatory agenda has led to this proposal to cancel major portions of the Obama-era regulation including all accident prevention program provisions. The proposal also further postpones compliance dates so the remaining requirements will not be fully in place for five years.

“Further delay in protecting workers and communities is unacceptable. Last summer, the EPA delayed implementation of the rule until February 2019. The USW joined community groups and 12 states in a lawsuit challenging that delay, arguing that the court should require the EPA to implement the rule immediately.

“USW members work in dangerous facilities that house huge quantities of hazardous chemicals. We are strongly opposed to this deregulation that endangers workers and their communities. Our union intends to fully participate in the rulemaking process and advocate against these unjustified rollbacks.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  

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Judgment against Los Mineros Abuses Democracy to Serve a Billionaire’s Vendetta https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/judgment-against-los-mineros-abuses-democracy-to-serve-a-billionaires-vendetta Wed, 16 May 2018 13:45:44 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/judgment-against-los-mineros-abuses-democracy-to-serve-a-billionaires-vendetta Contact: Ben Davis, 202-550-3729

The United Steelworkers (USW) today condemned the judgement issued by Mexico’s Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board (CAB) on May 10 against the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers of the Mexican Republic – “Los Mineros” and issued the following statement: 

"This charge is part of a concerted effort by Grupo Mexico and its owner, Germán Larrea (Mexico’s second-richest individual with a net wealth of over $15 billion), to prevent Napoleón Gómez, who is currently a candidate for the Mexican Senate in the July 1 elections on the ticket headed by presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, from being elected. 

Gómez has strongly criticized the abuses of labor, human and environmental rights by Grupo Mexico and other large mining companies – including the massive spill of toxic waste from a Grupo Mexico mine in 2014 which is now being litigated in the Mexican Supreme Court. Recently López Obrador accused Larrea of leading a campaign to defeat his ticket.[1]

The judgment from the Federal CAB, ordering the union to pay $55 million allegedly owed to former employees of Grupo Mexico, repeats the unfounded accusations in the criminal charges against the union’s President and General Secretary, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, filed by Grupo Mexico’s lawyers in eleven separate courts – all of which were dismissed.[2] We have no doubt that it too will be dismissed on appeal.

What is especially disturbing is the use of the Federal CAB, an agency whose head reports directly to the President of Mexico, as an instrument to interfere directly with the election campaigns of López Obrador and Gómez Urrutia.  The tripartite CAB system has long been criticized for corruption, and in 2017 the Mexican Constitution was amended to abolish the Federal and state CABs and establish a new system of independent labor tribunals, along with other labor reforms.  Unfortunately, the Congress failed to pass implementing legislation that would set up and fund the labor tribunals, so the CABs are still in place.

Mexico’s abuse of a state agency to serve a billionaire’s vendetta against his workers clearly demonstrates why there can be no renegotiated NAFTA without tough and enforceable labor rights, starting with the abolition of the corrupt CABs."

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW Opposes PRINT Act, Calls on Congress to Protect Trade Enforcement Laws https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-opposes-print-act-calls-on-congress-to-protect-trade-enforcement-laws Tue, 15 May 2018 13:50:15 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-opposes-print-act-calls-on-congress-to-protect-trade-enforcement-laws CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

The United Steelworkers union (USW) issued the following statement today in response to the introduction of the PRINT Act into the U.S. Senate. The USW also sent a letter calling on senators to protect U.S. jobs by opposing the proposed legislation.

The USW strenuously opposes the PRINT Act, a piece of legislation which, if enacted, would seriously weaken U.S. trade enforcement by undermining current anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws.   

Workers and companies currently rely on the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) to review cases and protect them from illegal dumping and subsidies, which hurt American industry and imperil U.S. jobs. The PRINT Act would inject partisan Congressional politics into this process.

“The PRINT Act sets a dangerous precedent where workers or companies who are victims of unfair trade could have their rights taken away by powerful special interests,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

Under the proposed legislation, foreign lobbyists and other special interest groups could circumvent current U.S. trade enforcement by petitioning Congress directly to nullify the results of the ITC’s or the Commerce Department’s investigations.

“Senators who agree to support the PRINT Act are giving a green light to special interest lobbyists and foreign governments to undermine trade enforcement by dismantling our nation’s carefully crafted trade laws,” said Gerard.

The USW has participated in more than 80 trade enforcement cases to combat foreign unfair trade. Adding more unnecessary delays and more opportunities for circumvention will only further hurt American workers.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW: NAFTA Negotiators Need Time to Get it Right https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-nafta-negotiators-need-time-to-get-it-right Mon, 14 May 2018 07:52:31 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-nafta-negotiators-need-time-to-get-it-right CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today after negotiators for the countries covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) announced that talks to update and reform the agreement would continue over the coming weeks.

“We welcome today’s announcement that negotiations will continue. Several substantive hurdles still need to be cleared. Working families have been living through the NAFTA nightmare for more than 25 years. Taking more time to revise the agreement so that it promotes, rather than undermines, the interests of workers in all three countries is worth it.

“NAFTA negotiators should take the time to hammer out a good deal rather than causing further damage through the additional outsourcing of jobs and production.

“Negotiations are at a critical phase on a number of issues that will determine the competitive landscape. Key is whether Mexico will change its labor laws and enforcement, and ensure that workers are paid family-supportive wages. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has made clear its priorities, many of which could improve NAFTA if effectively negotiated and fully enforced. Rushing to conclude an agreement and lowering the standards will only make things worse.

“There’s no question that NAFTA has been an utter failure. It’s time to fix it, but negotiators need time to get it right. We will continue to work with the USTR to try and achieve an agreement that meets the needs of working families in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. 

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USW Tentatively Supports RFS Compromise Announced Yesterday https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-tentatively-supports-rfs-compromise-announced-yesterday Thu, 10 May 2018 07:59:41 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-tentatively-supports-rfs-compromise-announced-yesterday CONTACT: Roy Houseman, (202) 778-4384, rhouseman@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) said today that while it will continue to review the details, it supports a deal brokered by the President that appears to address the long-running conflict between ethanol producers and oil refiners over federal biofuels mandates.

The deal aims to provide relief for merchant refiners by incorporating additional Renewable Identification Number (RINs) generated by exports while permitting 15 percent ethanol fuels to be sold year round.

USW refinery workers have over the last few years raised the issue of the impact of high Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance costs, meeting with dozens of senators and representatives to talk about how the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of RINs to track RFS compliance threatens thousands of family-supporting, community-sustaining jobs across the country.

USW members at Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) experienced significant uncertainty as the company went through bankruptcy earlier this year partly due to high RFS compliance costs.

The USW said that it will continue to engage Congress and the administration to ensure that RFS reform will benefit consumers and protect oil jobs without significantly impacting the ethanol industry.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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Judge Rules VT Hackney Violated Workers’ Rights in Union Election https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/judge-rules-vt-hackney-violated-workers-rights-in-union-election Tue, 01 May 2018 13:21:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/judge-rules-vt-hackney-violated-workers-rights-in-union-election CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH – An administrative law judge has ordered the National Labor Relations Board Region 6 director to hold a new union vote for workers at the VT Hackney truck and trailer plant in Montgomery, Pa., after finding that the company committed unfair labor practices by interfering in a United Steelworkers (USW) election at the plant in June 2017.

In his April 19 decision, Robert A. Ringler stated that the company unlawfully removed union literature from work stations, interrogated workers about union activities, and solicited workers to present grievances in order to discourage them from joining the USW.

Hackney employs about 200 hourly workers who are eligible to become members of the USW.

In the ruling, Ringler singled out testimony from the company’s union-busting consultant, Charles Stephenson, as particularly damaging to Hackney’s case.

“Stephenson was a slick and, unfortunately, deceitful witness,” Ringler wrote. “His contention that his sole goal was to kindly educate workers as a neutral was preposterous, given that Hackney paid him to present its lawful stance against unionization.”

Ringler ordered the company to cease its unfair labor practices and to share copies of his findings with workers, both electronically and in postings around the factory.

“The employees at Hackney deserve what all working people deserve: a voice on the job, fair and equal treatment from their employer, and fair wages and benefits,” said USW District 10 Director Bobby “Mac” McAuliffe. “We’re pleased that this ruling will allow them the chance to decide their fate for themselves without any undue and illegal influence from their employer.”

The company has said it is considering appealing the decision to federal court.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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Supreme Court Closes Path to Redressing Human Rights Violations https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/supreme-court-closes-path-to-redressing-human-rights-violations Fri, 27 Apr 2018 09:38:27 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/supreme-court-closes-path-to-redressing-human-rights-violations (Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement today regarding the application of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) to foreign corporations:

We are gravely disappointed at the Supreme Court’s April 25 decision in Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC, in which the Court, taking a huge step backward, held definitively that foreign corporations cannot be sued in U. S. courts for human rights abuses under the ATCA. 

The act, passed by the First Congress in 1789, has been one of the principal tools used by human rights advocates and labor unions, including the USW, to hold multinational companies accountable for their abuses around the world.

When given the opportunity in Jesner to provide a judicial forum for several thousand plaintiffs injured by terrorist acts in the Middle East over a 10 year period, the Court’s majority instead interpreted the ATCA to relieve a Jordanian bank with offices in New York City, which was alleged to have held money for terrorists and their front groups, from scrutiny in U.S. courts.

We agree with Justice Sonia Sotomayor who wrote in her dissent that the Court’s majority “absolves corporations from responsibility under [the ATCA] for conscience shocking behavior.”

We have seen courts time and again in many areas of law elevate the interests of corporations over workers, the poor, consumers, and the environment.  Americans of all walks of life must say that enough is enough and that our courts must protect us all, which includes granting jurisdiction in American courts for victims of abuses by foreign corporations.

The Court did at least keep the door open for Congress to act in making clear that foreign corporations can be held accountable in U.S. courts. Congress should act swiftly to do just that.

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USW Announces Support for Revival of Poor People’s Campaign https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-announces-support-for-revival-of-poor-peoples-campaign Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:28:49 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-announces-support-for-revival-of-poor-peoples-campaign CONTACT: Fred Redmond, (412) 562-2307fredmond@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today its full support for a revival of the Poor People’s Campaign that was kicked off earlier this month by Reverend Dr. William Barber II and Reverend Liz Theoharis.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference launched the Poor People’s Campaign in response to the significant employment and housing inequities faced by the poor and working poor in the United States. Now, fifty years later, Americans living at or below the poverty line still face the same challenges, with an estimated 45 million Americans living in poverty.

“The rate of poverty in the United States has been exacerbated by the loss of more than six million family-sustaining jobs in the manufacturing sector,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “These losses have been acutely felt by our members as well as by millions of workers and hundreds of communities across this country.”  

The revival seeks to expose the roots of growing inequality that remain for the poor and disenfranchised, and demands policymakers take real and decisive action to ensure employment, housing and education for all. The campaign will include 40 days of action in 40 states and will culminate in a massive march on Washington on Saturday, June 23, 2018.

“The USW is proud to lend our voices and actions to the Poor People’s Campaign,” said USW International Vice President Fred Redmond. “Our union wants to be a strong presence in this effort that combines the labor movement, the faith community and anti-poverty groups. In the coming weeks, the USW will be reaching out to members, retirees and allies and encouraging them to participate in local events.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW Union, Highmark Honored with National Award for Community Service https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-union-highmark-honored-with-national-award-for-community-service Tue, 17 Apr 2018 09:01:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-union-highmark-honored-with-national-award-for-community-service Contact: Connie Mabin, 412-562-2616, cmabin@usw.org 

Editors: Media wishing to cover a surprise presentation on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at the Center for Hope, 740 Park Rd., Ambridge, PA 15003, should contact Connie Mabin in advance and plan to arrive promptly 11 a.m. Enter from the back parking lot off of Maplewood.

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers (USW) International Union and Highmark Health are being honored this week by the TEGNA Foundation with a national award for their “Make A Difference Day” project. The Pittsburgh-based organizations teamed up in October to bring together people from around the region to volunteer and encourage building a culture of community service.

Volunteers spent the day organizing thousands of adult and baby diapers made and donated by USW Local 2-482 at Kimberly-Clark Corp. in Neenah, Wis. The diapers were donated to the Diaper Bank of Western Pennsylvania, hurricane victims and others in need. Volunteers also packed more than 1,000 art kits donated to pediatric patients at various health care facilities, including Allegheny General Hospital’s pediatric unit and Highmark’s The Caring Place.

The group also packed hundreds of children’s toiletries and school supply bags for donation to local domestic violence and homeless shelters and to the Center for Hope, a community center in Ambridge, Pa., that provides food, clothing, education and other services to families in need.

USW and Highmark share a common goal to bring people together by creating a culture of service and cooperation in our communities to have the maximum positive impact.

“Our union and our incredible members are often the heart and soul of the communities where we live and work. Giving back is in our blood,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. “We’re proud to partner with Highmark Health in our hometown of Pittsburgh to promote doing good deeds and show the power of unity.”

“We are so proud of our community partnership with the USW and the work of our dedicated Highmark Health Caring Corps volunteers. Together we are making a difference in our community,” said Maria Anderson, Director of Community Programs, Highmark Health Community Affairs.

The TEGNA Foundation, sponsor of the annual Make A Difference Day, chooses 13 national award winners annually from among the hundreds of volunteer projects  that take place on that day. Each year, $140,000 in grants are awarded to non-profits as part of the recognition.

About the USW: The USW is North America’s largest industrial union, representing 1.2 million active and retired workers in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply, and the energy-producing industries.

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USW Calls on Wisconsin Senate to Vote on Kimberly-Clark Plan https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-calls-on-wisconsin-senate-to-vote-on-kimberly-clark-plan Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:46:33 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-calls-on-wisconsin-senate-to-vote-on-kimberly-clark-plan CONTACT:  Michael Bolton, (920) 722-1288, mbolton@usw.org

FOX CROSSING, Wis. – Local 2-482 of the United Steelworkers (USW) union is calling on the Wisconsin state Senate to hold an immediate vote on a legislative subsidy package designed to keep two Kimberly-Clark manufacturing plants in operation.

Kimberly-Clark, a multinational personal hygiene and paper product giant, announced in late January that it would shut down 10 plants around the world and eliminate 5,500 jobs. Those cuts included the plants in Neenah and Fox Crossing, Wis. 

Since then, the USW has been gathering information and meeting with company and state officials in an effort to preserve good jobs and keep the plants in operation.

“We believe that there is a clear path to change the cost profile of the plants in a way that ensures that the high-quality work force remains in place,” said Local 2-482 President Dave Breckheimer, who is also a Kimberly-Clark worker. “It is unfair for the state Senate to continue to delay this subsidy package.”

The company, founded in nearby Neenah, Wis., in 1872, considers the Fox Crossing facility its “flagship” location.

“The company’s behavior since the announcement is disturbing,” said Local 2-482 member Karmen Jones. “Even as company officials are calling the plant a ‘flagship’ facility, they are asking workers to make concessions that would cut their average labor costs by more than $20,000 per person.”

Senate officials have said that they are awaiting word from Kimberly-Clark officials before voting on the package.

“These jobs have been the backbone of the middle class in Northeast Wisconsin for generations,” said Michael Bolton, director of USW District 2, which includes Wisconsin and Michigan. “On behalf of the workers in Neenah and Fox Crossing, the USW is asking the Senate to vote on the bill now and ensure it includes provisions to protect all of the Kimberly-Clark jobs in Wisconsin.”

 

The State Assembly voted 56-37 in February to approve the Kimberly-Clark aid proposal, but the plan has been stalled in the state Senate since then.

“What is happening in the Senate is an indictment on what is wrong with politics in America,” Bolton said. “The GOP-controlled Senate is refusing to conduct a vote until the company approves the package and after they have used their Republican allies to help extract concessions from workers.

“It’s time that these politicians remember that they represent the citizens of Wisconsin, not multi-billion-dollar corporations.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. 

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Securing Labor Rights in Mexico Fundamental to NAFTA Reform https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/securing-labor-rights-in-mexico-fundamental-to-nafta-reform Tue, 03 Apr 2018 14:52:21 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/securing-labor-rights-in-mexico-fundamental-to-nafta-reform CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement in conjunction with the release of a letter sent to USTR Robert Lighthizer yesterday regarding proposed labor law reforms in Mexico.

“Correcting the fundamental flaws in NAFTA first requires that workers in Mexico be afforded the internationally recognized workers’ rights to allow them to share in the fruits of their labor. Today’s system in Mexico essentially blocks the creation of free trade unions for the vast majority of workers. This is detrimental to them as well as to workers in the United States and Canada. Mexico’s dismal labor rights regime continues to be the driving force for offshoring by multinational companies profiting at the expense of workers.

“Last year, Mexico adopted constitutional reforms that were to lay the base for improving workers’ rights, most importantly to eliminate so-called protection contracts and to allow secret ballot elections so that workers can choose their own representatives. These employer-developed contracts have been imposed on workers without their knowledge and without their input. But, these constitutional reforms must be implemented by changes to Mexico’s labor laws. The changes that are before the Mexican Senate do not faithfully implement the constitutional changes. Instead they would only cement in place an unacceptable system.

“Renegotiating NAFTA must lead to workers securing the right to bargain for and be paid decent wages and to work in safe conditions.  If Mexico fails to improve the current labor law reform proposal, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to have a NAFTA that stops the outsourcing, brings back jobs, reduces the trade deficit and improves the lives and livelihoods of working people in all three countries. The renegotiated NAFTA should ensure that labor rights are implemented, monitored and enforced. Mexico’s draft laws severely undermine that possibility.

“Over the course of the NAFTA negotiations, the USTR has been faithful in trying to improve the existing agreement. We have shared specific criticisms of the current agreement as well as suggestions about how to fix it. We hope that the USTR, in cooperation with his Canadian counterpart, Minister Freeland, can impress upon the Mexican government the need to revise its proposed reforms and faithfully and fully implement the constitutional commitments.  Otherwise, NAFTA’s future is at risk.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW: USTR’s Renegotiation of U.S.-Korea FTA Should Help Save Jobs https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-ustrs-renegotiation-of-u-s-korea-fta-should-help-save-jobs Wed, 28 Mar 2018 14:36:47 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-ustrs-renegotiation-of-u-s-korea-fta-should-help-save-jobs The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today on the agreement in principle reached in the renegotiation of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

“Ambassador Lighthizer’s renegotiation of KORUS should help to save jobs,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “KORUS was a bad trade agreement right from the start. The United States has racked up billions of dollars in new trade deficits and lost tens of thousands of jobs because of that agreement. In the steel sector, Korea’s predatory trade practices have been devastating. The quotas that the USTR has obtained should provide meaningful and lasting relief.”

“Korea’s trade practices have been especially harmful to U.S. producers of pipe and tube product,” said Tom Conway, USW International Vice President. “Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) is a high-value, high-margin product. U.S. production has been decimated by Korean unfairly traded imports. Korea targeted the U.S. market and is also a transit point for Chinese products. By South Korea agreeing to cap its steel exports to the United States at 70 percent of the average export volume between 2015 and 2017, the specific reductions in this agreement will help restore market-based prices and contribute to renewed production and jobs here in the United States. Many of these products are essential to our energy independence and our national security.”

“We certainly would have liked to see other improvements in the deal as well,” said Conway. “For example, the rule of origin for vehicles in the original KORUS required only 35 percent of a vehicle to be produced with U.S. or Korean parts. That’s absurd. To put it another way, almost two-thirds of a car could be made up of Chinese parts and still get preferential treatment under the trade deal. That’s certainly not in our interest.”

“The Administration’s 232 decision helped accelerate this agreement and gave the USTR the leverage to somewhat improve KORUS,” said Gerard. “The original KORUS is a deal that never should have been signed. The Administration decided not to abandon an ally but fought to better promote the interests of U.S. producers and workers. It’s time to review, reform and, where necessary, reject past trade agreements. We can’t afford to continue on the current path.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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USW: Section 301 Decision Confronts China’s Intellectual Property Abuses https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-section-301-decision-confronts-chinas-intellectual-property-abuses Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:36:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-section-301-decision-confronts-chinas-intellectual-property-abuses CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced the conclusion of their Section 301 investigation of China’s intellectual property abuses and a set of enforcement actions.

“Intellectual property is critical to the future of our nation’s manufacturing base. China’s aggressive plan to buy, force transfer of, or steal our intellectual property to advance its interests is a clear threat to our national and economic security.

“For far too long, the response to China’s actions has been to simply complain while China continued to pursue its state-led industrial plans, its forced technology transfers and its outright cyberespionage. 

“This has catapulted China forward in sectors ranging from advanced materials to robotics to new energy vehicles among others. These actions threaten our future.

“The USW and our employers have been victims of China’s actions. We were directly attacked by China’s People’s Liberation Army hackers, as shown in the May 2014 indictment obtained by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, David Hickton. Several of our employers were also identified as victims in those attacks.

“The extensive 301 investigation identified a broad set of illegal, predatory and protectionist actions that are clearly being pursued to advance China’s public plans to win in today’s economy and dominate the industries of the future.

“The three-part response, which includes tariffs, investment restrictions and a WTO case, is a balanced approach.

“Today’s actions come on the heels of the Administration’s Section 232 relief measures on steel and aluminum. That decision, designed to ensure our national security interests, has already had a positive impact with the announcement of roughly 2,500 jobs at facilities that will be restarted.   

“The relief in the 232 case is being criticized by many who have profited from subsidized and dumped imports, just as today’s relief will be criticized by those who have largely been willing to ignore China’s policies.

“We will measure the success of the 232 relief by whether production expands and jobs are maintained and created. We will work to ensure the  Administration takes a balanced approach that advances our national and economic security interests. We also intend to fight for the interests of our members and ensure accountability.

“These trade actions will make a difference, but trade policy cannot be viewed in isolation. The recently-enacted Republican tax bill provides billions of dollars to companies that outsource production and offshore jobs. 

“Cuts in the budget for international labor affairs mean that violations of workers’ rights will go unaddressed, providing further incentives for companies to move their operations to countries where they can abuse workers. Education budget cuts will undermine work force and skills development.

“We intend to continue to work so that success on trade will not be wiped away from these and other actions.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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Gerard Delivers Industry Update, Addresses Tariffs for House Steel Caucus https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/gerard-delivers-industry-update-addresses-tariffs-for-house-steel-caucus Wed, 21 Mar 2018 09:12:56 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/gerard-delivers-industry-update-addresses-tariffs-for-house-steel-caucus Contacts:

Holly Hart: 202-778-4384, hhart@usw.org

Tony Montana: 412-562-2592, tmontana@usw.org

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today told members of the House Steel Caucus that thousands of laid-off steelworkers will soon be recalled to their jobs as a result of relief measures taken by the administration in the interest of national defense under Section 232 of the Trade Act.

In his testimony, Gerard pointed out that pro-trade economists and pundits have greatly exaggerated the potential impact of the 25 percent steel import tariff on consumers and at the same time ignored the manufacturing workers and communities that decades of so-called “free” trade have devastated.

Although steel is vital to our nation’s defense and critical infrastructure, Gerard said that almost 30 percent of the U.S. market in 2017 was taken by imports. He testified that imports from China, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Vietnam, India and other countries are sold at prices that reflect unfair dumping, illegal subsidies or both, rendering American producers unable to compete – despite operating vastly more efficiently.

Finally, Gerard affirmed that Canada is the only country the USW believes should be exempt from the tariffs due to the nature of our defense and intelligence sharing relationship. A NATO ally and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) partner, he said that Canada’s unique supply relationships can meet defense procurement needs, if they arise.

For the full text of President Gerard’s testimony before the House Steel Caucus, please click http://usw.to/2jw.

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

 

 

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USW Promises to Continue Fight for Workers at Novelis https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-promises-to-continue-fight-for-workers-at-novelis Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:07:28 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-promises-to-continue-fight-for-workers-at-novelis CONTACT: John Shinn (732) 287-4011

OSWEGO, N.Y. (March 15) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union will continue to fight for better treatment for workers at the Novelis aluminum facility in Oswego, despite a court ruling today from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that lifted a judge’s order that the company must bargain with the workers.

“The court upheld every unfair labor practice charge the workers made against this company,” said John Shinn, director of USW District 4, which includes New York as well as nine other states and Puerto Rico.

“Nobody should look at this decision as if it somehow vindicates Novelis,” Shinn said. “This court may have disagreed on the appropriate remedy, but this company is just as guilty of violating these workers’ rights today as it was yesterday.”

In January 2015, a federal administrative law judge upheld NLRB findings that Novelis interfered in a 2014 union election. The judge found that the company’s violations of the workers’ rights were severe enough to warrant a rare order for the company to bargain a contract with the union, despite the fact that the USW narrowly lost the election. In August 2016, a three-person NLRB panel unanimously upheld that ruling.

Novelis was guilty of numerous unfair labor practices, including demoting, threatening to fire, or cutting the wages of employees who supported the union, interrogating employees about union-related activities and prohibiting union messages from break areas and workers’ uniforms while allowing anti-union messages, among other violations.

“We do not for a minute wish to diminish the seriousness of the violations that the Board found and that we uphold,” today’s court decision said.

Should the workers decide to hold another election and Novelis continues to violate workers’ rights, the company could be held in contempt of court.

“We’re not going to walk away from these hard-working people, their families or this community,” Shinn said. “We are glad this long legal delay is over and now we can move forward. It will be up to the workers – as it must always be – to make the decision as to what their future holds.”

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USW: National Security Action Will Promote Domestic Production and Job Creation https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-national-security-action-will-promote-domestic-production-and-job-creation Thu, 08 Mar 2018 15:55:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-national-security-action-will-promote-domestic-production-and-job-creation CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement after the administration announced its final decision in the pending Section 232 investigations on steel and aluminum. Those investigations, launched in April 2017, were designed to determine whether imports of those products were jeopardizing national security interests and, if so, what action, if any to take.

“Today the President took decisive action to ensure that adequate supplies and industrial capacity of aluminum and steel were available to support national security. That decision and the announced action align with what every citizen knows: these products are vital to our national security,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

“The decision relies on exhaustive reports prepared by the Department of Commerce that recognized the need not only for sustainable industrial capacity but a skilled work force,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “Adequate production and trained workers go hand-in-hand.  The announced relief has already sent a positive charge through the industry that the decline in steel and aluminum sectors can be reversed.”

“For decades, the USW has fought foreign unfair and predatory trade practices to protect our members’ jobs and ensure a strong defense industrial base,” said Gerard. “From missiles and munitions, to motors and machinery, steel and aluminum are critical products used in direct military applications and in critical infrastructure.

“For too long, common sense has fallen prey to free trade ideology, multinational corporations and special interest lobbyists who have profited at the expense of domestic production and employment. Trade cheating has, all too often, gone unanswered by our government. That’s had a crippling effect on good, family-supportive jobs and our ability to provide the needed products.

“The USW – both our U.S. and Canadian membership – has been united in advocating that Canadian production of steel and aluminum not be subject to any tariffs. We’ve raised that point at every level of the administration, including with the President. Our supply chains are integrated and, in steel, the United States runs a trade surplus with Canada. Also, our national security interests are inextricably intertwined with a unique defense and intelligence relationship.

“Canada is not one of the countries cheating and is not contributing to the decimation of U.S. production. However, both Canada and Mexico need to take the necessary steps to ensure they do not become points of circumvention for imports into the United States from other nations. This is something our members on both sides of the border have been affected by and it’s time for our allies to join us.”

“Our members have been on the front lines in the fight for fair trade,” said Conway. “They have sent tens of thousands of e-mails, walked the halls of Congress, placed calls and engaged in grass roots action to get help. Today, their call for action was answered. Now, we have to hope that the relief is quickly implemented and that it is sustained so that the investments in plants, equipment and people will occur.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors

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