United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2017-07-18 10:37:00 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW: Administration’s NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives Must Reverse Past Failures http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-administrations-nafta-renegotiation-objectives-must-reverse-past-failures Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:37:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-administrations-nafta-renegotiation-objectives-must-reverse-past-failures CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement after the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a letter to Congress identifying the objectives it would seek to fulfill in its upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“The USW has long supported the renegotiation of NAFTA, but unfortunately, the objectives identified in the USTR’s letter do not go nearly far enough to ensure that the negative impact of NAFTA on workers in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be reversed.

“The USTR seems to be backing the same priorities that have guided trade agreements since NAFTA was first negotiated, promoting corporate interests and leaving workers behind. This is not what workers who supported President Trump in the election expected: They assumed that he would renegotiate NAFTA to create better paying jobs for them and their families, rather than chasing higher profits and greater protections for corporate interests.

“The President campaigned on promoting a new approach on trade, and the USW made clear, right after the election, that we would work with him where we could. Today’s letter makes us wonder how different his policies will really be. At the end of the day, the measure of success will be the number of manufacturing jobs – and the quality of those jobs – that are maintained and created.

“Renegotiating NAFTA is a complex undertaking. Workers’ rights need to be expanded, implemented and enforced. Currency manipulation must be addressed. Rules of origin must be dramatically changed to promote production and jobs. Coordination on trade rules should be strengthened to ensure that China and other countries engaged in unfair and illegal activities can’t use our NAFTA partner markets to undermine our interests. Investor state dispute settlement provisions must be eliminated.

“Washington remains out of touch with working people. In the coming days, our members will fight for trade policies that advance our interests and those of our fellow workers in North America. We will hold the Administration accountable to its promise to truly fix NAFTA, and if the renegotiations fail to advance the concerns of working people, we will fight like hell to defeat them.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

 

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USW launches video to urge no vote on health care http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/ohio-father-baby-with-brain-cancer-at-same-time-could-lose-health-insurance Fri, 14 Jul 2017 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/ohio-father-baby-with-brain-cancer-at-same-time-could-lose-health-insurance More information, contact: Donnie Blatt (740) 504-8900; dblatt@usw.org

Columbus, Ohio – A young Ohio father and his baby boy who battled brain cancer at the same time are among the 22 million Americans at risk of losing health insurance if a bill being considered by the United States Senate becomes law. The family is featured in a new video released today urging lawmakers to vote no.

The video, posted at http://www.usw.org/Nathan, urges viewers to call 1-877-607-0785 to tell their senators to vote no on the disastrous health care bill. It shares the story of Ryan and Nathan Link of Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Both have a rare genetic disorder called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, which mutates the tumor-blocking genes making them susceptible to cancers.

“Fighting brain cancer was the toughest thing our family has gone through,” said Ryan, who works three jobs to pay medical bills. “Now we’re fighting politicians who could take away the health care that saves my son’s life and my own life.”

“My husband and my son have lifelong health care needs and could be facing future cancer. If this bill goes through we won’t be able to afford insurance for either of them because of their pre-existing conditions, not to mention the unaffordable medical costs that are currently capped or illegal under the Affordable Care Act,” said Maggie Link, Ryan’s wife and Nathan’s mother, who works as a daycare center assistant director.

Maggie is the daughter of USW District 1 Assistant to the Director Donnie Blatt, who was among the Ohio Steelworkers who planned to meet with Sen. Rob Portman’s office today to share the video and urge him to vote against the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

“It was horrific watching our daughter, son-in-law and grandbaby go through this, and it’s just as horrifying knowing what this health care bill could do to our family and millions of other families,” Blatt said. “We need everyone to call their senators and stop this bill.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more info: @Steelworkers on social media and www.usw.org.

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USW Local 8888 Reaches Tentative Agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-local-8888-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-newport-news-shipbuilding Mon, 10 Jul 2017 15:51:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-local-8888-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-newport-news-shipbuilding More informationcontact: Dwight Kirk (202) 257-3966; dflat@mindspring.com

Newport News, Va. – United Steelworkers (USW) Local 8888 has reached a tentative agreement with Huntington Ingalls Industries on a new collective bargaining agreement covering Newport News Shipbuilding employees.
 
The proposed contract includes a signing bonus; improves wages and pensions; features contract language that bolsters promotional opportunities; and preserves quality, affordable health insurance for union members and their families.
 
“We knew going into these negotiations that we were in for a tough fight,” said USW International Vice President (Human Affairs) Fred Redmond, who chaired the union’s negotiations with Newport News. “The political stalemate in Washington over the budget, uncertainty about future contracts with the Navy, coupled with rampant health care inflation and risk, created a challenging environment to bargain a decent contract for our members.”
 
“We prevailed because we were prepared and never wavered from our objectives,” Redmond said.
 
Local 8888 President Arnold Outlaw echoed Redmond’s remarks.
 
“Our bargaining committee held strong, and we were supported every step of the way by Fred and our outstanding International staff,” Outlaw said. “We resisted company efforts to deny our members a pay raise in the first year of the contract.”
 
“We looked out for members stuck in certain pay grades,” he said. “We rolled back health insurance premiums, and indeed, we rocked the boat with this contract!”
 
The Local 8888 bargaining committee has recommended ratification of the new pact. The union will hold a secret ballot vote for members to ratify or reject the proposed contract later this week.
 
USW Local 8888 represents 9,700 workers at the shipyard. The proposed agreement was finalized less than 48 hours before the current contract would have expired at midnight July 9, 2017, and members got their first detailed report on the tentative agreement Sunday afternoon at a members-only meeting at the Hampton University Convocation Center.
 
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 Endorses Graham for Governor of Florida http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-endorses-graham-for-governor-of-florida Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:37:50 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-endorses-graham-for-governor-of-florida CONTACT: USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo - (205) 607-9055

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today proudly announced its endorsement of Gwen Graham for Governor of Florida.

“Florida’s working families deserve a fair shake,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo. “Instead, during the last six years of the current administration, Florida’s working families have suffered under policies that give even more power to the richest and most powerful among us.”

Flippo cited efforts by Governor Rick Scott to expand tax cuts to special interests and corporations while blocking legislation that would raise workers’ wages and increase access to family supporting jobs and quality, affordable healthcare.

“Gwen Graham is clearly the best choice to represent the interests of all Floridians,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “In Congress, she fought for policies to lift workers and our families, including her support for new laws to ensure fair pay and protections from workplace discrimination.”

“She also supports smart investments to create new manufacturing jobs by rebuilding Florida’s crumbling roads and bridges,” Gerard said.

Florida’s primary elections will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, when both Democrats and Republicans will choose candidates for the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

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 Blasts Proposal to Cancel Beryllium Protections for Shipyard and Construction Workers http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-blasts-proposal-to-cancel-beryllium-protections-for-shipyard-and-construction-workers Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:38:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-blasts-proposal-to-cancel-beryllium-protections-for-shipyard-and-construction-workers CONTACT: Michael Wright (412) 370-0105; mwright@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today blasted the Administration’s proposal to cancel important protections for shipyard and construction workers exposed to beryllium. Under the proposal OSHA released this morning, employers would no longer have to measure beryllium levels in the workplace or provide medical testing to workers at risk of fatal lung disease. In addition, workers would not have the right to wear protective clothing or to shower at the end of the work shift, making it possible for beryllium to be taken home and exposed to spouses and children. 

Beryllium is a highly useful metal, but it can cause a crippling and sometimes fatal disease that ultimately robs sufferers of the ability to breathe. OSHA issued new beryllium standards in January covering workers in all industries. Today’s proposal eliminates most of the provisions covering the maritime and construction industries. The USW has members in both industries, including workers at the Newport News shipyard who build nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines for the Navy.

“No worker should have to die from chronic beryllium disease,” said Michael Wright, the USW’s Director of Health, Safety and Environment, “and the Administration has no business discriminating against any group of workers just because they happen to be in the wrong industry. We will vigorously oppose this cruel proposal.”

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: http://www.usw.org/.

 

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USW Endorses Lujan Grisham for Governor http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-endorses-lujan-grisham-for-governor Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:57:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-endorses-lujan-grisham-for-governor CONTACT: Robert LaVenture (720) 307-4096; rlaventure@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced their endorsement of Michelle Lujan Grisham for governor of New Mexico. The congresswoman currently represents New Mexico’s 1st District.

“We are excited to endorse Rep. Lujan Grisham for governor of New Mexico,” said USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture. “She has been an excellent congresswoman, and her determination in fighting for workers during her time in Congress has positioned her to be a leader and a strong voice for American families.

“We could not be more pleased to have a candidate with her credibility and record. She is a refreshing change in today’s political landscape, and we look forward to working hard to help her win this important race.”

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. USW District 12 includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

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USW Cares: Member from Canada wins top Jefferson Award honor for community service http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-cares-member-from-canada-wins-top-jefferson-award-honor-for-community-service Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:08:39 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-cares-member-from-canada-wins-top-jefferson-award-honor-for-community-service Contact: Connie Mabin, 412-562-2616, cmabin@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

District 11 (Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa): Local Union 105 Women of Steel Committee; Raised over $16,000.00 this year through bake sales for various charities including breast cancer and women’s heart disease awareness; homeless veterans and help for animal shelters and the elderly.

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

District 13 (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas): South LA WOS Regional Council; Works with the South LA WOS Regional Council on various projects, including helping renovate a domestic violence shelter.

SOAR (tie): Don Kellner, Chapter 8-1 in Maryland; During the steel crisis of the 1980s organized a food bank for unemployed steelworkers, working with the Maryland Food Bank, continued working with food bank for decades after.
Lena Sutton, Chapter 10 in Ontario, Canada; leads several volunteer projects, including motorcycle poker runs, raising $30,000; assisting USW retirees with tax filings; helps retirees live in own home.

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

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

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

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USW Calls for Broad Action to Ensure Aluminum Supplies For U.S. Security and Critical Infrastructure http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-calls-for-broad-action-to-ensure-aluminum-supplies-for-u-s-security-and-critical-infrastructure Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:54:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-calls-for-broad-action-to-ensure-aluminum-supplies-for-u-s-security-and-critical-infrastructure CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement as the U.S. Department of Commerce conducted a hearing in support of the Administration’s Section 232 Investigation into unfairly traded aluminum imports. In April, the Administration initiated an investigation to examine the effect of these imports on the U.S. aluminum industry. At today’s hearing, Robert Smith, president of USW Local 420-A in Massena, N.Y., testified.

“This action comes at a critical time,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.  “Chinese unfair and predatory trade practices have undermined global markets in aluminum.   Just a few short years ago, the United States had 14 aluminum smelters in operation. Today, the number is five, with most operating at a reduced capacity.   

“Aluminum is an essential material used throughout the defense sector and in critical infrastructure. From ballistic-resistant aluminum and missile skins to products used in electrical generation applications, aluminum is a vital commodity.

“Global aluminum markets operate somewhat differently than steel and other commodity markets. China’s overcapacity and overproduction have suppressed world prices, threatening the operations of market-based companies in the United States, thereby endangering our nation’s ability to provide aluminum for its national and economic security needs.       

“The problem is unfair trade, and action must be directed at limiting those practices.  Eliminating overcapacity and overproduction in China should be the focus of those efforts.”

Robert Smith, said in his prepared testimony that “Swift governmental action is critical if the American aluminum industry is to survive and continue to provide good jobs for American workers, the highest quality products to the American military, and critical infrastructure.”

In conjunction with the hearing today, the USW also released a formal statement for the record and a background paper identifying the underlying problems in the sector.

The USW has been actively working with the Administration as it continues its Section 232 investigation. As part of its submissions, the USW has called for Canada to be exempt from coverage under any relief measures that might be authorized. Canada has a unique national security relationship with the United States and supplies significant portions of U.S. needs in the aluminum sector.

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: http://www.usw.org/.

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Dura-Line Unlawfully Closed Kentucky Plant: Judge Orders Mexichem Subsidiary to Compensate, Reinstate and Reimburse Laid-Off Workers http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/dura-line-unlawfully-closed-kentucky-plant-judge-orders-mexichem-subsidiary-to-compensate-reinstate-and-reimburse-laid-off-workers Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:57:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/dura-line-unlawfully-closed-kentucky-plant-judge-orders-mexichem-subsidiary-to-compensate-reinstate-and-reimburse-laid-off-workers More information, contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that Administrative Law Judge Melissa M. Olivero of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a decision this week blistered management of Dura-Line Corporation and its parent company, Mexichem, for unfair labor practices that culminated in the closing of a Middlesboro, Ky., production facility in late 2015, resulting in the unlawful layoff of about 90 union members.

In the June 20, 2017, decision, Olivero ruled that Dura-Line broke the law to discourage members of USW Local 14300-12 from participating in union activities by repeatedly threatening them with discharge, plant closure and physical violence and by requiring them to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Other management violations included unilaterally reducing the 2015 Thanksgiving bonus from $25 to $16 per person and destroying the personal property of a union member. Ultimately, Olivero found that the company illegally closed the Middlesboro plant and transferred production to non-union facilities in Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio in retaliation for workers engaging in union activities.

The decision includes orders for the company to restore production to Middlesboro and offer the laid-off USW members full reinstatement to their jobs or substantially equivalent positions if those jobs no longer exist. Olivero further directs Dura-Line to compensate the workers for lost earnings with interest and any tax liabilities incurred as a result of the backpay award. Finally, the order includes a provision for the company to reimburse individuals who were illegally laid off for search-for-work and interim work-related expenses with interest.

Although the NLRB process so far has taken almost two years, the USW will continue the fight to ensure that Dura-Line management is held accountable and fulfills the obligations outlined in this week’s decision.

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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Labor Board to Prosecute Hecla for Unfair Labor Practices http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/labor-board-to-prosecute-hecla-for-unfair-labor-practices Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/labor-board-to-prosecute-hecla-for-unfair-labor-practices More information, contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that Region 19 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday, June 19, 2017, issued a consolidated complaint and set a hearing for Sept. 19, 2017, to prosecute Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) for a series of multiple unfair labor practices before an administrative law judge.

In the complaint, NLRB Region 19 Director Ronald K. Hooks outlines allegations of how Hecla management broke federal labor laws in the months leading up to an unfair labor practice strike by about 250 members of USW Local 5114 at the company’s Lucky Friday mine in Mullan, Idaho, culminating on March 13, 2017, when the strike commenced and the company unlawfully implemented portions of its so-called “last, best and final” contract proposal.

USW District 12 Director Bob LaVenture praised the members of Local 5114 for their solidarity in sustaining the ongoing labor dispute and their diligence in keeping track of management’s misdeeds, which formed the foundation of the USW’s case against Hecla.

“We are strongest when our membership is fully engaged and participating in the process of collective bargaining,” LaVenture said. “Members who are not on the negotiating committee can still play an important role, acting as our virtual eyes and ears by providing vital information.”

The NLRB complaint details how Hecla management began unilaterally changing employment terms and conditions for production and maintenance workers at Lucky Friday beginning with eliminating a repair crew in December 2016, moving sand and batch plants from the mine department to the mill department in January 2017 and forcing hourly workers to take their 2017 vacation as a lump sum payment instead of time off.

The complaint further documents how specific managers threatened adverse consequences for members of the union who participated in activities protected by federal laws.

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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NAFTA Renegotiations Must Lead to More Jobs, Higher Pay and Better Future for all Workers http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/nafta-renegotiations-must-lead-to-more-jobs-higher-pay-and-better-future-for-all-workers Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:41:41 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/nafta-renegotiations-must-lead-to-more-jobs-higher-pay-and-better-future-for-all-workers CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement in conjunction with a press call to reveal an extensive set of recommendations prepared by the AFL-CIO. These proposals are designed to reform and update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into a pact that benefits workers.

“NAFTA has been a complete and utter failure for working families in the United States as well as for those in Mexico and Canada. The only real beneficiaries are the corporations that relocated production and supply chains, lining the pockets of management and Wall Street with bloated profits.

“During the campaign last year, then-candidate Trump called NAFTA the worst trade deal ever. He highlighted the loss of jobs and the dramatic rise in the U.S. trade deficit. He was right.  Fixing NAFTA, however, is going to require fundamental changes. Simply tinkering around the edges and looking to the rejected Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the model for change is a blueprint for failure.

“Workers will judge the success of the President’s efforts by whether or not an updated and reformed NAFTA creates good jobs with good benefits. If the President is serious about achieving these goals, the USW will work with him.

“However, if the NAFTA renegotiation simply lowers standards and costs for businesses rather than enhancing workers’ rights and creating the kinds of jobs voters across this country demanded in last year’s election, we will fight hard to defeat it. We are losing jobs today, and the last thing we need is to make things worse.

“Today we are releasing a comprehensive set of common-sense recommendations for how to improve NAFTA. Our recommendations are based on real-life experience and knowledge, not some theoretical approach. Workers have felt the effects of trade first-hand. We know what has worked and what has not.

“Most important among our recommendations is the need to ensure that internationally-recognized workers’ rights are promoted and also protected through aggressive enforcement provisions. Mexico has become a magnet for foreign investment in sectors like autos and auto parts because workers are not paid fair wages. That must change.

“Coupled with workers’ rights is the need to dramatically increase the rules of origin. NAFTA’s rules are outdated and insufficient. They do not require that adequate value be created in the North American market for use in the products that get preferential tariff treatment. Workers want tariff and trade concessions to result in job creation here -- and not for multinational companies to scour the globe for the cheapest place to produce goods.

“Other important areas for a new agreement include eliminating the Investor State Dispute System and promoting environmental sustainability. Also, the deal must protect the provision of public services. Our submissions address these and other important areas.

“As Chair of the official Labor Advisory Committee, which is empowered under the law to advise the Administration on trade policy, I will follow up today’s public document with direct communications to the USTR, the Department of Labor and other trade officials.

“As we did with the TPP and other trade initiatives, we will provide detailed advice and submissions to identify exactly what needs to happen to make NAFTA work for working people. As Chair, I am hopeful that we will have a strong working relationship with the new USTR and other trade officials that will lead to an updated and reformed NAFTA that we can support.

“Significant changes in NAFTA are required. It is time to turn campaign promises and the needs and desires of working people into real results. Success will be measured by the jobs that will be created, the balance of trade that needs to be adjusted and the standards that must be advanced.”

Read the AFL-CIO statement here. A summary and the full text of the recommendations are also available.

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: http://www.usw.org/.


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Robert Morris Adjuncts Ratify First Contract http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/robert-morris-adjuncts-ratify-first-contract Tue, 06 Jun 2017 15:15:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/robert-morris-adjuncts-ratify-first-contract Agreement provides significant pay increases, greater job security

CONTACT: Robin Sowards (607) 280-7562

PITTSBURGH – The adjunct faculty at Robert Morris University overwhelmingly ratified their first union contract Monday evening, with 95 percent voting in favor of ratification.

The contract, which covers some 430 members of the bargaining unit, provides dramatic improvements in job security, pay, due process, sick leave, shared governance and academic freedom.

The agreement includes a 20 percent increase in the average compensation over its 3-year term, retroactive through the spring of 2017. Some of the lowest-paid adjunct faculty will receive pay increases as high as 29 percent.

The contract also raises the number of courses adjuncts can teach each year, as well as offering a fee for courses that are cancelled at the last minute when the work of preparing the courses has already been done.

“This recognition from the administration is a long time coming – and I should know since I’ve been teaching here since 1981,” said Shiv Sharma, a Robert Morris adjunct who served on the union bargaining committee. “Now, as members of the Steelworkers union, we’re finally getting the support from the university that we need to help our students succeed.”

The contract also provides unparalleled job protections. Rather than course assignments being made unilaterally by department heads, the contract requires them to preserve the course loads of existing adjunct faculty and to assign additional courses based on seniority.

“Adjunct faculty are the backbone of higher education today, and we’re proud to have helped them win a level of security and respect far more appropriate to their calling as teachers and scholars,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “We commend both sides on their diligent work over many months to find responsible solutions grounded in the shared commitment to Robert Morris University’s students.”

With yesterday’s agreement, Robert Morris’s adjunct faculty now join hundreds of adjuncts at Point Park University who signed their first contract in 2015. Adjuncts at Duquesne University who voted to join the USW in 2012 are still fighting for union recognition as the university engages in a series of appeals.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, municipal governments and agencies, and higher education.

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Calif. Public Employee Board Files Complaint after Oak Valley Hospital Rescinds Union Rights http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/calif-public-employee-board-files-complaint-after-oak-valley-hospital-rescinds-union-rights Mon, 05 Jun 2017 09:52:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/calif-public-employee-board-files-complaint-after-oak-valley-hospital-rescinds-union-rights CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel; (412) 562-2450; rhufnagel@usw.org

MODESTO, Calif. (June 2) – The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has filed a legal complaint in response to Oak Valley Hospital’s decision to rescind the hospital’s recognition of the United Steelworkers (USW) union as the bargaining representative for hospital employees.

The board sided with the union and is asking Stanislaus County Superior Court to issue a temporary restraining order that would restore the workers’ bargaining rights, which the hospital administration attempted to rescind in response to petitions circulated among union members during recent contract bargaining.

USW Local 12911 represents about 200 employees at the Oakdale, Calif., facility, including nurses, pharmacists, janitors, food service workers and others.

“This is a victory not just for this brave group of workers but the entire community. The hospital’s attempt to unilaterally abolish a democratically established union is a slap in the face to a dedicated and hard-working group of professionals and to the members of this region who rely on them for quality health care,” said Bob LaVenture, director of USW District 12, which includes California and eight other western states. “The hospital should restore the rights of these workers, return to the bargaining table and work with us to reach a fair agreement.”

The court could decide to issue a temporary order as early as Monday. That order would remain in effect while the court considers issuing an injunction that could fully restore the workers’ rights.

“Through its actions, the hospital administration is showing a lack of respect in its role as a major employer and as the only public health-care provider in a small, close-knit region,” said Belinda Knight, who has worked in the hospital’s housekeeping department for seven years and has lived in Oakdale for 30 years. “All we are asking for is to be treated with dignity and fairness and to be granted the same rights that all working people deserve.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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USW Criticizes the Trump Administration’s Decision to Withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-criticizes-the-trump-administrations-decision-to-withdraw-from-paris-climate-agreement Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:20:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-criticizes-the-trump-administrations-decision-to-withdraw-from-paris-climate-agreement CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement after President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is an inexcusable blow to the U.S. economy. The agreement is ambitious, nonbinding and transparent, and it stands as a landmark global achievement in the fight against climate change.

“For many years, the United States has been a leader in innovation and technology to combat climate change. Withdrawing from this non-binding agreement further cedes our strength in this sector to China, and signals to domestic innovators and manufacturers that the United States will not support them.

“Our union, through our partnerships in the BlueGreen Alliance, has been a leader in ensuring that jobs are good for workers and good for the environment. Today’s announcement is a threat to innovative, green jobs in the United States. Americans do not have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment. The USW has long believed that America can have both. Most American industries already meet the requirements of previous international climate agreements.

“Climate change is a critical concern across the globe. The diplomatic and trade impacts of withdrawing will be felt for many years, as the United States joins the only two other countries who are not part of the agreement—Syria and Nicaragua.

“The Administration made this choice despite the overwhelming evidence of the impacts of climate change and the near universal support for the agreement by labor, environmental, and business leaders.

“President Trump should immediately reverse his decision to protect the planet and jobs for workers in the United States.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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USW Calls Entire Iron and Steel Sector Important to National Security http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-calls-entire-iron-and-steel-sector-important-to-national-security Wed, 24 May 2017 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-calls-entire-iron-and-steel-sector-important-to-national-security CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384; hhart@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today appeared at a public hearing for the Section 232 Investigation into the effects of steel imports on U.S. national security. In his testimony, President Gerard called for treating the entire iron and steel sector as important to national security.  

“From the materials utilized by our military to the materials necessary to build, maintain and repair our critical infrastructure, our national security is increasingly at risk because of the relentless economic attacks on our steel industry.

“Steel is the backbone of our country. It safeguards military might and our ability to respond to potential attacks. We need to revitalize the sector to meet growing needs and to ensure that we have the ability to supply our nation’s needs, should it be required. This means having not only productive capacity in our mills at a moment’s notice, but also the skilled workforce necessary to man the operations.

“The steel sector is not monolithic. There is a continuum of products from the basic materials through iron and on to steel. The Administration’s investigation should evaluate the challenges facing the entire industry. Basic materials, iron and steel products, silicon metal, manganese and chromium used in making alloys, are all important to our national security.

“Our domestic industry is under attack from unfair, illegal, predatory and protectionist policies.   China, employing a network of non-market economic policies, is the main offender. While China continues to attack our entire manufacturing sector, it has been targeting steel longer than any other product.

“This Section 232 investigation has the potential not only to protect America’s national security by imposing market restraints on imports from those countries causing the problem, but also to create the impetus for serious negotiations. A negotiated solution is the best approach, but not the only one.

“Any relief measures should focus on where the problem lies. It is not to our north, but to our east, west and south. In fact, we have a trade surplus in steel with Canada. From a national security perspective, Canada is one of the few countries that is always there for us. Our security relationship with Canada is truly unique. We share an uncontested border. We have an intelligence sharing agreement. We have the North American Aerospace Defense Command – NORAD – that has existed for more than sixty years that was the initial line of defense for North America during the Cold War. Canada is an ally, a friend and a trusted partner.

“For these reasons, Canada is the only country that should be exempted from any potential action in the steel sector.

“Canada must, however, ensure that it enforces trade laws so that steel producers do not use their market as a way-station to enter the U.S. market, circumventing and evading our laws and interests. I am confident that the leaders of Canada will embrace these efforts with the goal of sustaining and advancing our individual and joint national security interests.”

A copy of Gerard’s full prepared testimony can be found here.  In addition, a paper, submitted for the hearing record, “China’s Broken Promises” that examines its promises to cut its steel capacity and production can be found here.

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 Condemns Harley-Davidson’s Plan to Manufacture Motorcycles in Thailand http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-condemns-harley-davidsons-plan-to-manufacture-motorcycles-in-thailand Tue, 23 May 2017 09:27:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-condemns-harley-davidsons-plan-to-manufacture-motorcycles-in-thailand CONTACT:  Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444; wranick@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement after the New York Times published a story that Harley Davidson will be opening a production facility in Thailand. The USW represents members at Harley’s plants in Wisconsin and Missouri.

“Harley-Davidson has been the crown jewel of American manufacturing. It’s an iconic brand that represents true American spirit. Management’s decision to offshore production is a slap in the face to the American worker and to hundreds of thousands of Harley riders across the country.  

“This decision puts in jeopardy one of the few remaining genuine U.S. brands.

“Our members have been true partners with this company, working in good times and bad to make great products that fostered its growth and success. We remember the U.S. government stepping up in the 1980s to save Harley-Davidson and contributing to its revival. 

“Harley owners and prospective buyers across the globe want to continue to enjoy machines made in America that provide quality rides and unique experiences. Harley’s potential outsourcing of production puts all of this at risk.

“Offshoring production is the wrong path to prosperity. It puts in jeopardy the success that has propelled Harley over the years: It is a brand of excellence that enables riders to confidently know that they are joining a special community of enthusiasts.

“Harley-Davidson should abandon their offshoring plans and expand their operations here in America.”

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: http://www.usw.org/.

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New Protections Make California Refineries, Communities Safer http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/new-protections-make-california-refineries-communities-safer Fri, 19 May 2017 13:52:34 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/new-protections-make-california-refineries-communities-safer CONTACT: Tony Montana (412) 562-2592

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for adopting this week the nation’s strongest Process Safety Management (PSM) protections for oil refineries as recommended by the state’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).

USW International President Leo W. Gerard said that oil refineries in particular, filled with explosive, toxic and otherwise dangerous materials, have been the sites of several of the most catastrophic industrial accidents of the last 20 years.

“For decades, the USW and predecessor unions have fought to make refineries safer for the men and women who support their families by working in them,” Gerard said. “We have learned, too well, the lessons of the past and the deadly consequences when workers’ voices are ignored or management cuts corners in pursuit of higher profits.”

USW Oil Sector Chairman Kim Nibarger said that the union hopes other states and federal regulators will follow California’s example in updating and improving PSM standards that are outdated.

“The engaged participation of various stakeholders representing labor, the industry, our communities and regulators has brought about new standards that are protective, manageable, comprehensive and enforceable,” Nibarger said. “The improved regulations will not only save lives and enhance the environment but improve the reliability of operations as well.”

A huge fire at Chevron’s Richmond, Calif., refinery in 2012 brought together a coalition of labor, environmental, government and industry leaders to seek updated safeguards for workers and the public.

The DIR, led by Christine Baker, met with coalition members and assembled a labor-management committee to develop the proposal. The new regulations put forward by Baker’s team ensure that California’s refineries operate under modern, best-practice engineering and management practices and give refinery workers a much stronger voice on issues that impact their safety.

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 Urges Prioritizing Workers in Renegotiation of NAFTA http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-urges-prioritizing-workers-in-renegotiation-of-nafta Thu, 18 May 2017 12:31:42 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-urges-prioritizing-workers-in-renegotiation-of-nafta CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement today after the Administration notified Congress of its intent to begin the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“For decades our union’s membership has suffered from the devastating effects of failed trade agreements. Our members look towards these negotiations to correct past mistakes with the knowledge that their jobs are at stake if the status quo continues. We urge the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States to forge a path towards an agreement which puts working people first.

“More than twenty years of NAFTA has failed to bring the promised prosperity for working people, no matter their country. In the United States and Canada millions of manufacturing jobs and tens of thousands of plants have closed because of a trade model which put investors and corporate profits over the needs of families and Main Street.

“These countries have also run consistent trade deficits in goods with Mexico that have only increased since NAFTA went into effect. Just this last year the United States ran a $63.2 billion trade deficit in goods with Mexico, and Canada in 2015 ran a $24.6 billion merchandise deficit.

“Inadequate programs to address job displacement and a tacit acceptance that some jobs will just go away are not acceptable. The promised jobs that supposedly would have replaced them did not materialize, and those that have are lower paying and cannot support a family like the tens of thousands of jobs that have been sacrificed under NAFTA.

“Meanwhile global capital has flooded into Mexico. Yet the lack of will to establish strong labor and environmental standards by the leaders of all three countries has left millions stranded in poverty and low wage jobs, without the tools necessary to improve workers' lives.

“The Mexican government's policy of supporting corrupt, employer-dominated ‘protection unions’ has prevented workers from organizing and suppressed wages. In 2014, over 20.5 million more Mexicans lived below the poverty line than in 1994 when NAFTA passed, while the rest of Latin America saw a drop in poverty that was more than five times as much as that of Mexico. Workers, no matter their country, feel the impact of failed trade policies.

Negotiators must address the economic inequality caused by trade policies that placed corporate rights over the rights of citizens. The USW believes there is a route forward, but this process must begin and remain more transparent than any previous negotiation.

“Trade policy must be negotiated under the eye of public scrutiny and provide for public participation. The Congresses in Mexico and the United States and the Parliament in Canada must be consulted and able to provide input. They must be real partners in the negotiations not simply boxes to be checked as negotiators rush to reach an agreement.

“We urge negotiators to lead on a strong Rule of Origin policy.  For example in the automobile industry where the USW has more than 300,000 members who manufacturer materials which can go into vehicles, we urge our leaders to increase the duty-free qualifying threshold to 90 percent domestic content. Negotiators should not just look to where materials are assembled to count them for free trade status but how they are made. Goods like auto parts and steel from non-NAFTA countries such as China cannot just be nominally modified in a NAFTA partner and count for duty free status.

“Labor rights must also be central to a NAFTA renegotiation and lock partners into enforceable standards which will allow for a free and independent labor movement in all countries. A framework must be put in place which will ensure timely remedy of labor violations and permit transnational bargaining.

“NAFTA negotiators must also work towards a common enforcement strategy which will address and create enforceable standards to control currency manipulation, illegal dumping and subsidization, and state owned enterprises. A future trade agreement must ensure the benefits of trade are not abused by non-party countries.

“USW members in the United States and Canada will work within our strategic alliance with the Mexican Mine and Metalworkers union to hold negotiators accountable. Today’s announcement must be followed by tangible results which benefit working people and lead to shared prosperity.”

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: http://www.usw.org/.


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USW Challenges B&H Photo Video to Resolve Issues in Negotiations http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-challenges-bh-photo-video-to-resolve-issues-in-negotiations Mon, 15 May 2017 12:59:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-challenges-bh-photo-video-to-resolve-issues-in-negotiations More information, contact: Del Vitale - (732) 287-4011; dvitale@usw.org; Tony Montana; (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today issued the following statement from District 4 Director John Shinn:

“The USW is committed to keeping more than 300 jobs at B&H Photo Video’s warehouses in New York City. Since workers at B&H voted in favor of USW representation more than a year ago, management led us to believe that they were bargaining in good faith while at the same time making plans to move these facilities.

“Instead of recognizing the will of its workers to be represented by a union and negotiate with the USW for a fair contract as required by law, B&H has instead chosen to close its Brooklyn warehouses and move operations 75 miles away to New Jersey, making the commute difficult and impractical.

“The Laundry Workers Center (LWC) organized a very successful and widely reported May Day action to spotlight B&H’s unfair labor practices, and management has since launched a smear campaign in retaliation.

“From the start, LWC was instrumental in supporting B&H employees in their organizing drive and should be commended for their dedication to helping them make their voices heard.

“If B&H truly wants to improve public perception of its being a bad corporate citizen, then management should reverse its decision to move out of the New York metropolitan area, stop unproductive attacks on the LWC and negotiate with the USW for a fair contract.”

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 Opposes Nominees by Elliott Management for Arconic CEO and Board http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-opposes-nominees-by-elliott-management-for-arconic-ceo-and-board Wed, 03 May 2017 15:40:12 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-opposes-nominees-by-elliott-management-for-arconic-ceo-and-board CONTACT: Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444

(Pittsburgh) -- The United Steelworkers (USW), which represents more than 4,700 Arconic employees at 11 locations, issued the following statement on the proxy fight by Elliott Management at Arconic.

“The USW opposes efforts by hedge fund Elliott Management to select the next CEO and nominate four new individuals to the Arconic board,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. “The proxy fight between Elliott Management and Arconic has been of great concern to USW members, retirees and their communities.”

“We have not always agreed with Aronic’s management,” said Tom Conway, USW International Vice President and chair of the union’s Arconic bargaining committee, “but we respect its management at the corporate and plant levels.

“Elliott Management has waged an all-out campaign critical of virtually every aspect of Arconic’s operations and management, including its capital investments,” said Conway. “Our members understand that the company’s success and its security require investment and innovation.”

Among the capital expenditures recently made by Arconic were a $300 million expansion of automotive sheet production at Alcoa Tennessee; a $490 million investment at the Davenport rolling mill, including automotive sheet expansion and thick plate-stretcher; and the $90 million expansion at Lafayette to enable it to produce aluminum-lithium alloys for the aerospace industry.

“Elliott has held its shares of Arconic (and predecessor Alcoa) for less than two years. Its investment in Arconic is just over 4 percent of the $31 billion it manages. The USW members at Arconic are 100 percent invested in the company for their employment and retirement security,” said Conway.

At a time of turmoil and change in the global aluminum sector, Arconic needs a management team whose primary focus is on investing in the business, developing world-class products, navigating a global market roiled by unfair trade, and providing good jobs for its workers.

Elliott has shown no long-term commitment to ownership in Arconic. It is simply seeking to engineer a short-term price increase at the long-term expense of the company, its other shareholders and its employees.

Elliott has a pattern of layoffs and divestitures at the companies it has targeted. For example, after Elliott purchased a stake in Citrix Systems, it demanded the software company sell assets and cut costs. Citrix laid off 900 employees in January 2015 and another 1,000 in November 2015. Elliott purchased a stake in Symantec Corp., the maker of cybersecurity software, at the beginning of 2016. It subsequently sold assets, paid shareholders and announced it would cut about 10 percent of its work force and close some facilities.

Elliott Management proposes Arconic hire as its next CEO Larry Lawson, former CEO of Spirit AeroSystems and Vice President of Aeronautics at Lockheed Martin and previously was Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 program. 

However, Lawson’s record bears scrutiny. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons program in the history of the U.S. military and has been plagued by cost, schedule and performance problems. Under Lawson, the military’s top officer heading the F-35 program sharply criticized Lockheed Martin for maintaining a poor relationship with the Pentagon and not taking the steps to control costs and ensure the program’s health. Shortly after that criticism, Lawson retired from Lockheed.

Elliott also boasts of the valuable experience of its nominee Patrice E. Merrin, who currently serves as a director of Glencore, the global mining and metals company. The USW and Glencore-owned Sherwin Alumina in Corpus Christi, Texas, were involved in a bitter two-year lock-out which ended in November 2016 when the company closed the facility. USW members are currently on strike at Glencore-affiliate Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Ltd. Glencore also has a notorious reputation for questionable business practices, and has been dogged by allegations of environmental, child labor and human rights violations.

The USW represents more than 4,700 Arconic employees in North America at 11 locations. The master agreement between Arconic and the USW covers approximately 3,400 employees at four locations, which produce rolled products and aerospace extrusions. The agreement expires May 15, 2019.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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