United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2018-04-17 09:01:00 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.



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.”

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

USW Marks International Women’s Day, Pledges to “Say No to Violence” https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-marks-international-womens-day-pledges-to-say-no-to-violence Thu, 08 Mar 2018 08:13:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-marks-international-womens-day-pledges-to-say-no-to-violence (Pittsburgh) – The following statement was released today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard in recognition of International Women’s Day:

“Violence and harassment have no place in our society, and certainly not at work.

“On this International Women’s Day and every day, we must demand an environment free from abusive behavior and gender-based discrimination.

“As the #MeToo movement has shown, we will not be able to achieve true gender equality until we are able to talk openly about our pervasive and destructive culture of harassment and violence.

“My union has been standing up for equality and fairness for generations. Recently, we reaffirmed our commitment to eradicating gender-based violence and harassment, passing a resolution committing us to the global labor union IndustriAll’s ‘Say No to Violence and Harassment Against Women’ pledge.

“This means we will encourage all our members to actively take a stand when they witness harassment. We will demand that government and employers enact and enforce rules protecting workers, and we will continue to push for safeguards against harassment and workplace violence to be included in our collective bargaining agreements.

“We are now encouraging all our members to take a similar pledge.

“We’re all responsible for fostering safe, open environments and a culture of mutual respect in our workplaces, and we all have a role to play in ending violence and harassment.”

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

USW Welcomes News of Restart at U.S. Steel Granite City Works https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-welcomes-news-of-restart-at-u-s-steel-granite-city-works Wed, 07 Mar 2018 11:10:58 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-welcomes-news-of-restart-at-u-s-steel-granite-city-works CONTACT: Wayne Ranick, (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) union released the following statement today from USW International President Leo W. Gerard in response to U.S. Steel’s announcement that it would restart a blast furnace and steelmaking facilities at the company’s mill in Granite City, Ill.

“The USW welcomes this announcement from U.S. Steel and looks forward to working with the company during the restart process to ensure it is done safely and efficiently. This is good news for the workers, for the company, and for the entire community of Granite City.

“For years, the USW has led the way in the fight for fair trade. This decision, along with the President’s recent move to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, is a direct result of that activism.

“Workers across the United States, especially those in steel towns like Granite City, have for too long been the victims of the illegal and unfair practices of our overseas trading partners, particularly China. Our hope is that this marks the beginning of a much-needed recovery for the domestic steel industry and for American manufacturing.

“Perhaps no steel town in the country is as closely identified with its mill as the town of Granite City is with the historic Granite City Works. We hope this restart will breathe new life into the community and that the mill can continue to provide good jobs for workers and their families for generations to come.”

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: OSHA Beryllium Enforcement Delay Unjustified https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-osha-beryllium-enforcement-delay-unjustified Mon, 05 Mar 2018 13:31:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-osha-beryllium-enforcement-delay-unjustified CONTACT: Mike Wright, (412) 370-0106, mwright@usw.org

PITTSBURGH — The United Steelworkers (USW) today condemned a decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to delay by 60 days enforcement of its new standard for occupational exposure to beryllium.

The standard had been scheduled to go into effect March 12. OSHA’s new enforcement date will be May 11. In a press release, the agency said the delay “will ensure that stakeholders are aware of their obligations, and that OSHA provides consistent instructions to its inspectors.”

“That’s nonsense,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard said. “OSHA released the standard almost fourteen months ago. You’d think that the stakeholders would have read it by now, and that OSHA would have time to instruct its inspectors. There’s no real justification for this delay.”

Beryllium is an important metal used in many high-tech applications in the aerospace, electronics, medical and defense industries. However, it is highly toxic, causing a kind of long-term fatal allergic reaction in the lungs of workers who become sensitized to it, as well as causing lung cancer. The USW represents the majority of unionized workers exposed to beryllium.

“By OSHA’s own risk estimate, the standard will save 90 lives a year,” said Mike Wright, director of the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department. “A 60-day delay could eventually cost fifteen lives.”

OSHA has also proposed to eliminate most of the standard’s provisions in the shipyard and construction industries. The USW is currently fighting that proposal.

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

USW: W.Va. Teachers, Support Staff Deserve Better Pay, Benefits https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-w-va-teachers-support-staff-deserve-better-pay-benefits Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:45:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-w-va-teachers-support-staff-deserve-better-pay-benefits CONTACT: Heather Anderson, (304) 489-3961, handerson@usw.org

MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. — The United Steelworkers (USW) union released the following statement today from USW District 8 Director Ernest R. “Billy” Thompson in support of a work stoppage by West Virginia public school teachers and service workers demanding better pay and benefits.

“The thousands of members of the United Steelworkers union across West Virginia are proud to stand in solidarity with the 20,000 teachers and 13,000 school service employees who are seeking better pay for their hard work and stronger benefits to care for their families.

“Providing quality pay and benefits to the working people of our communities strengthens our economy and supports families and businesses all around our state. Besides those obvious benefits, investing in quality education for our children is the best possible use of the public’s hard-earned tax dollars.

“Caring for our children should be our primary concern, but that concern must be focused on long-term educational goals, not short-term cost-cutting.

“Our aim must be to provide a strong education and to lay the foundation for a brighter future for every single child in our public schools. The only way to do that is to ensure that our educators and support staff — those who are charged with the instruction and care of our children each day — are compensated fairly and equitably for their hard work.

“West Virginia educators are currently among the lowest-paid in our entire country. How can we expect to provide the best possible education for our children when we show such disregard for our educational workers?

“The USW intends to stand in solidarity with these workers until they achieve the fair pay and quality benefits that all workers across West Virginia deserve.”

USW District 8 includes thousands of USW members across West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia. 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.

Endangered Refinery Workers Will Descend on Capitol Hill to Rally Support for Renewable Fuel Standard Reform https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/endangered-refinery-workers-will-descend-on-capitol-hill-to-rally-support-for-renewable-fuel-standard-reform Fri, 02 Mar 2018 10:50:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/endangered-refinery-workers-will-descend-on-capitol-hill-to-rally-support-for-renewable-fuel-standard-reform Contact: Roy Houseman, (202) 288-3573, rhouseman@usw.org

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that 30 workers from over a dozen independent merchant oil refineries in 11 states are taking their fight to save their jobs to Washington, D.C., next week. They will discuss the urgent need for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) reform with legislators.

Union members will meet with senators and representatives on Tuesday, March 6, and Wednesday, March 7, to raise awareness about how the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to track RFS compliance threatens thousands of family-supporting, community-sustaining jobs across the country.

USW National Oil Bargaining Chairman Kim Nibarger, who will be in Washington for the meetings, said that refiners currently are forced to purchase RINs at artificially inflated prices because they lack the size and infrastructure to blend ethanol into their gasoline.

“Although the multi-billion dollar ethanol industry and its powerful lobbyists are determined to prove otherwise,” Nibarger said, “our laws are not intended to guarantee profits for RIN traders.”

“A growing number of elected leaders from both parties have already joined us in calling for RFS reform that benefits consumers and protects oil community jobs without significantly impacting the ethanol industry,” he said. “We welcome the support of others who will stand with us to demand a fair compromise.”

NOTE: Interviews with Participants Available in Advance

Contact Roy Houseman at (202) 288-3573 or rhouseman@usw.org for details.

The fly-in will feature workers from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Monroe Energy refineries near Philadelphia, as well as:

PBF Energy refineries in Torrance, Calif.; Delaware City, Del.; Paulsboro, N.J.; Chalmette, La.; and Toledo, Ohio

HollyFrontier refineries in El Dorado, Kan.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Salt Lake City

Valero refineries in Meraux, La.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Dumas and Port Arthur, Texas

Administration Action on Steel and Aluminum Vital to Protecting National Security https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/administration-action-on-steel-and-aluminum-vital-to-protecting-national-security Thu, 01 Mar 2018 15:08:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/administration-action-on-steel-and-aluminum-vital-to-protecting-national-security Contact: Holly Hart, 202-778-4383

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement following a session the President hosted at the White House with steel and aluminum industry executives. During the session, the President indicated that he wanted to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to achieve the goals identified in the Department of Commerce Section 232 investigation reports.

“The steel and aluminum sectors have been under attack by predatory trade practices. For too long, our political leaders have talked about the problem, but have largely left enforcement of our trade laws up to the private sector. This is not what hard-working Americans want from their government. They expect national security, the foundation of which is built with steel and aluminum, to be protected.

"President Trump initiated action to investigate the impact of aluminum and steel imports on our national security. We applauded his action then and appreciate the attention that this issue has received in recent months. Comprehensive reports were sent to the White House and released to the public. They validated what we already knew: these sectors are critical to our nation.

“Since the President initiated action last year, workers across the country have raised their voices in calling for the need of action to ensure that our aluminum and steel sectors can survive. Our members have actively fought for action.  Their voices have been echoed by a broad, bipartisan cross-section of Congress. They were joined by many of their colleagues and officials at the state and local level.  Every call, letter, meeting and discussion focused on building a better America.

 “The question for some time has been what action to take. Today the President announced that he wants to impose tariffs at a level of 10 percent on aluminum imports and 25 percent on steel. For the USW, the objective has always been to restore market-based economics that ensure that our domestic producers can achieve a fair return as they invest in facilities, equipment and people, and contribute to the strength of our nation. The objective should also be to reduce the negative impact of steel and aluminum imports that have decimated production in the United States.  The tariff levels the President announced will help to achieve that objective.

 “Secretary Ross, Ambassador Lighthizer and Director Navarro have been working hard to assess what form of relief will achieve the President’s goals.  As the Administration puts together the finer details about the implementation of relief, we will work with them.  It will be critical to focus attention on the countries that have created the problem, and do not participate in helping to promote a solution.

 “Canada is not the problem. The United States and Canada have integrated manufacturing markets and our union represents trade-impacted workers in both nations. In addition, the defense and intelligence relationship between the countries is unique and integral to our security. Any solution must exempt Canadian production. At the same time, Canada must commit to robust enforcement and enhance its cooperation to address global overcapacity in steel and aluminum.

Now, we need to work to finalize the design of relief and implement it. We are more than willing to work with the Administration to ensure that cheaters are held accountable and to resolve this quickly so that we can rebuild our nation’s manufacturing 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: www.usw.org




Labor Leaders Deliver Unified Trade Message to President Trump https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/labor-leaders-deliver-unified-trade-message-to-president-trump Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:47:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/labor-leaders-deliver-unified-trade-message-to-president-trump Contact: Carolyn Bobb, 202-637-5018 or cbobb@aflcio.org

Six labor leaders made the following statement after today’s trade meeting with President Trump:
"Labor is united in its view that NAFTA is a disaster for working people and must be fixed. We had a very productive meeting which made clear to the president that a new NAFTA must create fair and balanced trade in North America. Real solutions for any new trade deal must dramatically improve workers’ rights and raise wages and living standards in all three countries."

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President
Chris Shelton, Communications Workers of America President
Robert Martinez. Jr., International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers International President
James Hoffa, International Brotherhood of Teamsters President
Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers (USW) International President
Dennis Williams, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agriculture Implement Workers of America (UAW) President


USW Lauds Commerce Report; Looks for President to Take Bold Action in Response to 232 Reports https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-lauds-commerce-report-looks-for-president-to-take-bold-action-in-response-to-232-reports Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:24:29 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-lauds-commerce-report-looks-for-president-to-take-bold-action-in-response-to-232-reports Contact: Holly Hart, 202-778-4384

Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today in response to the release of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Section 232 reports detailing the impact of imported steel and aluminum on the national security of the United States:  

It is absolutely clear from today’s release of the Section 232 Aluminum and Steel Reports that Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has a comprehensive understanding of the unrelenting attacks and challenges that these industries critical to our nation’s security are facing from unfairly traded imports. We also commend the DOC’s interpretation of the 232 statute’s definition of national security to include critical infrastructure.

“While our members and workers across America will be encouraged by these recommendations, we know the fight is far from over. Having borne the brunt of lost jobs and declining production caused by unfair and illegal trade and global overcapacity largely fueled by China, our members sent more than 20,000 letters and petitions to the DOC and the White House demanding action.

“The DOC reports provide a comprehensive listing of the countries -- Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam -- that have relentlessly violated trade laws. Curtailing that cheating and restoring fair market prices will go a long way to reigniting domestic production and employment.

“These recommendations have the potential to focus on the bad actors in the world that historically and systemically cheat in international trade. We applaud that approach.

“These are complex reports and recommendations that we need to carefully review.  But in our view, and that of most Americans, the President must take quick and comprehensive action on unfair trade and critical infrastructure improvements. Steel and aluminum are vital to the nation’s security and to our crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Immediate action providing effective relief is necessary.”

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: www.usw.org.

Bonus payments to Newport News workers highlight imbalance in Republican tax plan https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/bonus-payments-to-newport-news-workers-highlight-imbalance-in-republican-tax-plan Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:11:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/bonus-payments-to-newport-news-workers-highlight-imbalance-in-republican-tax-plan Contact: Fred Redmond, 412-562-2307

Pittsburgh – Huntington-Ingalls today announced that it would pay its employees a $500 bonus in recognition of the reduction in the Republican corporate tax cut. USW-represented workers at Newport News Shipbuilding are among those who will receive the bonus.

“Our members will gladly accept these bonuses,” said Fred Redmond, USW Vice President and Chair of the Union’s Bargaining Committee at Newport News. “However, they would prefer permanent wage increases commensurate with their being the best ship builders in the world.         

“This $500 bonus is a fraction of the money being paid to shareholders and executives. Let’s not forget who does the work. The average employee will see a one-time check of about $350, after federal withholding and payroll taxes. That doesn’t go very far for a working family. Do the math. It’s a dollar a day.”

The Republican corporate tax cut will reduce the company’s taxes by over $100 million next year, if it is as profitable in 2018 as 2017. This bonus will cost Huntington-Ingalls less than one-fifth of this windfall. Even Walmart has been more generous.

“Tax cuts and one-time bonuses do nothing to address the problem of income inequality,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “In fact, working families will lose more ground as a result of congressional Republicans’ decision to pass the largest taxpayer-funded corporate cash giveaway in history.

“Bonuses are not the same as permanent wage increases. These tax cuts will continue to benefit the company for years to come. Workers deserve a guarantee that they will benefit as well.”

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: www.usw.org.

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Our statement on blatant mischaracterizations made by renewable fuels lobby https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/our-statement-on-blatant-mischaracterizations-made-by-renewable-fuels-lobby Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:40:24 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/our-statement-on-blatant-mischaracterizations-made-by-renewable-fuels-lobby Contacts:

PES Holdings

Cherice Corley, cherice.corley@pes-companies.com, 215.339.7061

Abernathy MacGregor

Kate Murray, KSM@abmac.com, 212.371.5999 

Sydney Isaacs, SRI@abmac.com, 713.999.5104

United Steelworkers

Roy Houseman, rhouseman@usw.org, 202.288.3573 

Tony Montana, tmontana@usw.org, 412.562.2592 

PHILADELPHIA and PITTSBURGH -- Philadelphia Energy Solutions (“PES”) Chief Executive Officer Gregory G. Gatta and United Steelworkers (“USW”) International President Leo W. Gerard today issued the following statement and accompanying fact sheet in response to the false and misleading statements made by the Renewable Fuels Association (“RFA”) and others about PES and the job-destroying financial burdens imposed on independent merchant refiners by the Renewable Identification Numbers (“RINs”) compliance mechanism under the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”).

“Philadelphia Energy Solutions and the United Steelworkers are appalled that the Renewable Fuels Association has launched a dishonest campaign, fabricating “facts” about PES’s business and mocking the livelihoods of thousands of manufacturing workers in refineries across America. The facts are this: PES is a solid business providing energy security for America and employment for 1,100 dedicated refinery workers who every day help power homes, businesses and transportation throughout the Northeast United States.

We believe strongly that energy diversity in source and supply is critical to American energy security, reliability and affordability, and it sustains thousands of American workers and their families. Unfortunately, the RFA has attacked the hardworking men and women of the refinery industry, comparing them unfavorably with farmers whom the RFA “would pick…any day of the week.” We don’t believe in choosing winners and losers; there is a solution that allows all of us to thrive. Unlike the RFA’s denigration of the value of American refinery workers, we are not fighting against ethanol or other biofuel producers, farmers and the many Americans they employ. In fact, PES consistently blends as much ethanol and other biofuels as its customers will allow. We simply want to correct the flawed and indefensible RINs compliance mechanism that is destroying the independent merchant refining industry and the thousands of families sustained by it. PES and the USW believe we can all participate in the energy market on an even playing field.

Despite these attacks, we will continue the work of improving our business, providing high quality and high wage jobs to our employees, and delivering essential fuels to our community. We will also continue to advocate for reform of the flawed RINs compliance mechanism that threatens thousands of well-paying jobs and the independent refineries that provide critical energy supply to the United States.”

For more information, including a breakdown of the myths posed by the RFA, please visit our fact sheet here.

About Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining & Marketing LLC

Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PESRM) owns and operates the Point Breeze and Girard Point oil refineries located on an integrated, 1,300 acre refining complex in Philadelphia. The 335,000 barrels per day of combined capacity makes PESRM the largest refining complex on the Eastern Seaboard.

About United Steelworkers

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: www.usw.org

Federal Commitment in Infrastructure Plan is Insufficient https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/federal-commitment-in-infrastructure-plan-is-insufficient Mon, 12 Feb 2018 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/federal-commitment-in-infrastructure-plan-is-insufficient Contact: Holly Hart, 202-778-3300

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today on the release of the Trump administration’s Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America:  

“Our nation is long overdue in effectively addressing the significant infrastructure needs and lapses of our critical energy, water and transportation systems. The backlog of maintenance and lack of investment has now ballooned to more than $2 trillion, according to most recent reports.

“While the White House has broken ground on a long-needed discussion, the USW sees multiple issues with various components of the administration’s outline. We need to be honest about the federal commitment provided in the proposal; $200 billion spread over 10 years is insufficient given the decades of deferred maintenance in the country. The most recent estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers puts the nation’s backlog of bridge rehabilitation needs at $123 billion alone.

“American manufacturing and manufacturing workers play a key role in ensuring the strength and viability of our country’s infrastructure. The lack of detail on maintaining long-standing Buy American preferences is alarming for the USW.

“Additionally, privatization of large utility assets like Bonneville Power Administration or the Tennessee Valley Authority has the potential to negatively affect power prices for literally millions of Americans and their employers.

“Now the ball is in Congress’ court. They will be central to creating jobs and moving our country’s infrastructure systems into the 21st century. Our union will engage leaders in the House and Senate to find a path forward that ensures shared prosperity and a better deal for 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. For more information: www.usw.org

USW Condemns 2017 Record Trade Deficit with China https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-condemns-2017-record-trade-deficit-with-china Tue, 06 Feb 2018 10:30:03 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-condemns-2017-record-trade-deficit-with-china Contact: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384  

(Pittsburgh) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement this morning following the release of annual trade deficit figures for 2017:   


“President Trump can add another record-setting number to his list of accomplishments – highest trade deficit with China during his first year. 

“As a candidate, the President promised to reduce the trade deficit, end China’s cheating, stop unfair trade in steel and aluminum, and reverse the tide of lost jobs due to trade. Despite many promises, workers are still waiting for a new approach.

“The President’s Department of Commerce released data on last year’s trade deficit that shows an increase in the goods deficit of roughly $60 billion for his first year. 

“Steel imports surged more than 20 percent and aluminum by more than 30 percent last year.

“The stock market is tumbling, but the trade deficit is rising. That is bad news for hard working Americans whose retirement accounts and jobs are threatened.”

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: www.usw.org