United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2020-08-11 20:46:21 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW Applauds Kamala Harris as VP Pick https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-applauds-kamala-harris-as-vp-pick Tue, 11 Aug 2020 20:46:21 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-applauds-kamala-harris-as-vp-pick Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org  

(PITTSBURGH) — USW International President Tom Conway issued the following statement after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris will serve as his running mate:

 “The USW applauds Vice President Joe Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Like Vice President Biden, Sen. Harris has a strong record standing on the side of working people.

“Over the course of her career, she’s worked to hold big banks accountable, prosecuted employers for wage theft and introduced pro-labor legislation in the U.S. Senate. 

“Workers need leaders who put their interests first, fighting for retirement security, affordable health care and strong labor rights. We are confident that Sen. Harris, like Vice President Biden, will continue to prioritize these important issues.

“Now, more than ever, our country needs strong leadership. Together, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris offer us a choice to put our country back on the path toward stability and shared prosperity.”

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

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Kumho Workers Overcome Campaign of Oppression to Win USW Vote https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/kumho-workers-overcome-campaign-of-oppression-to-win-usw-vote Tue, 11 Aug 2020 15:27:43 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/kumho-workers-overcome-campaign-of-oppression-to-win-usw-vote Contact: Joe Smydo, jsmydo@usw.org, 412-562-2281

(Pittsburgh) – Workers at Kumho Tire in Macon, Ga., won their battle to join the United Steelworkers (USW) despite the corporation’s relentless and illegal campaign to thwart their organizing rights.

The National Labor Relations Board today declared the union drive victorious after processing the final 13 ballots from an election last fall.

Workers sought USW representation to fight low wages, hazardous working conditions and abusive treatment at Kumho, which ruthlessly harassed and bullied union supporters in an attempt to derail the organizing campaign.

“These workers voted to unionize even though Kumho tried every underhanded, despicable stunt it possibly could to violate their rights and poison the election results,” noted USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who leads thousands of Steelworkers in seven southern states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Workers’ solidarity in the face of extreme intimidation shows just how urgently they need the workplace protections that only a union can provide. And their victory over an abusive, greedy company should inspire other workers who want to end the mistreatment they face from their own employers.”

In 2017, Kumho workers narrowly lost an initial election on the heels of Kumho’s vicious union-busting campaign, which included threats against USW supporters. Kumho’s conduct was so egregious that Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan not only ordered a new election but took the extraordinary step of ordering the company to read workers a list of its numerous labor law violations.

While awaiting the final results of last fall’s election, conditions at Kumho only got worse. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the company failed to implement commonsense safety measures. Now, workers face a coronavirus outbreak that puts their lives at risk. 

“Kumho must begin acting like a responsible employer,” Flippo said. “The USW calls on the company to come to the negotiating table in good faith and quickly bargain the fair contract its workers long ago earned.

“In forming a union and holding Kumho to account,” Flippo added, “these workers will help set stronger pay and workplace standards for the whole industry.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in 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 Joins Allies in Suing EPA Over Toxic Chemical Review https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-joins-allies-in-suing-epa-over-toxic-chemical-review Tue, 11 Aug 2020 09:06:34 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-joins-allies-in-suing-epa-over-toxic-chemical-review The USW and its allies on July 16 filed a lawsuit seeking a review of a new risk evaluation of the chemical methylene chloride.

The petition, filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not fulfill its obligations under the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act with regard to fully measuring the dangers associated with the chemical.

“Congress charged the EPA with determining whether chemicals pose an unreasonable risk to the public, workers and the environment given all the conditions of use,” said USW Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn, who heads the union’s chemical sector.

“But, we believe that the EPA did not take all of the relevant information into account when it assessed methylene chloride.”

The union and its allies flagged a number of concerns during the open comment period on the draft version of the risk evaluation last year.

Specifically, in comments last year, the USW argued that the EPA mistakenly assumed employers would provide particular types of personal protective equipment like respirators and protective gloves, which led to an understatement of workplace risk to methylene chloride exposure.

The comments further alleged that the EPA failed to consider reasonably available exposure data and workers' exposure outside the workplace. These concerns and others added to a serious under-assessment of how much exposure to methylene chloride workers receive.

The suit argues that the agency did not fix the problems with the draft risk evaluation and that its assessment of methylene chloride did not accurately review the risk of exposure to workers.

“Workplace hazards can only be controlled if they are accurately identified and measured,” said Shinn. “If the EPA bases its assessment on an incomplete analysis, the result will inherently be flawed.”

Methylene chloride is considered to be a potential occupational carcinogen. Health effects to such exposure may include harm to the central nervous system, liver and immune system, as well as irritation/burns and cancer.  This toxic chemical gives off fumes and at high doses of exposure, workers can be killed in as few as 10 minutes.

The toxic chemical is used in many ways, including as a solvent, propellent, processing aid or functional fluid in the manufacturing of other chemicals. It’s also used as a solvent in consumer and commercial products like sealants, automotive products, paint strippers and coating removers, as well as in the production of pharmaceuticals and polymers, metal cleaning and other items.

“Methylene chloride is the first chemical the EPA analyzed under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act, and the USW and its partners in the lawsuit want to ensure the agency is taking this responsibility seriously – in this case and in all future cases,” Shinn said. “We cannot allow incomplete assessments of toxic chemicals to place our members at unnecessary risk.”

The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Neighbors for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice and the New Jersey Work Environment Council joined the USW in filing the suit.

The 9thCircuit Court of Appeals will notify the USW and its co-petitioners when it will accept legal briefs and hold oral arguments in the case. This is anticipated to happen in the fall of 2020.

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USW Seeks Intervention to Save Titanium Sponge Plant, Citing National Security, Defense Concerns https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-seeks-intervention-to-save-titanium-sponge-plant-citing-national-security-defense-concerns Mon, 03 Aug 2020 19:51:03 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-seeks-intervention-to-save-titanium-sponge-plant-citing-national-security-defense-concerns Contact: Bill Locke, (702) 271-0029

The United Steelworkers (USW) today urged Congress and the Trump administration to act immediately in the interest of saving TIMET's titanium sponge plant in Henderson, Nev., from permanent closure.

Last year, in a Section 232 investigation, the U.S. Department of Commerce concluded that without the Henderson facility, the country would be completely dependent on imports for titanium sponge and scrap and lack the surge capacity required to support defense and critical infrastructure needs in an extended national emergency.

TIMET announced on July 13 that it intended to idle the facility. The company has already begun ratcheting down operations and laying off workers. Another wave of 17 were laid off today.

“Americans already rely on foreign imports for too many necessities, such as surgical masks and other personal protective equipment,” said USW District 12 Director Gaylan Prescott, “and we cannot risk our national security by depending on other countries to supply titanium for our military airplanes, helicopters and aerospace equipment.”

Prescott said that if TIMET follows through on its plan to close Henderson, the U.S. would be forced to import sponge from the only six other countries with production capacity: China, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan or India.

“With so much more than jobs at stake, the USW will not allow TIMET to deprive our nation of this critical resource without a fight,” Prescott said. “Before it's too late, President Trump and congressional leaders from both parties must take action to prevent compromising our national defense.”

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: McConnell Blocking Relief for Millions Facing Economic Crisis https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-mcconnell-blocking-relief-for-millions-facing-economic-crisis Thu, 30 Jul 2020 14:14:49 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-mcconnell-blocking-relief-for-millions-facing-economic-crisis Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union released the following statement today from USW International President Tom Conway in response to the U.S. Senate’s continued inaction on Covid-19 relief, coupled with the news that the U.S. economy contracted at a rate of 32.9 percent during the second quarter of 2020, the worst number on record.

“To put it simply, millions of American families are suffering and worrying about the future as we face the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, and one man – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – is standing in the way of the relief they so desperately need.

“The U.S. House took action months ago, passing a bill called the HEROES Act, which would extend enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of the year and provide other crucial aid to keep the American people safe and healthy as we continue to battle the health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The HEROES Act isn’t perfect. It will need to be amended before passage so that it doesn’t harm the pensions of millions of retired American workers. Still, it is an absolutely essential part of our national recovery, especially given today’s news that our economy contracted by nearly one-third during the past quarter.

“By contrast, the plan that McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans have put forward is far too little and far too late. It fails to extend the emergency unemployment relief that Americans need so they can stay in their homes, pay their bills and feed their families. It also does not do enough to ensure safe workplaces or to provide hazard pay for front-line workers.

“Millions of American families will be facing a crisis this week when their emergency unemployment relief expires. The HEROES Act is the answer to that crisis. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to stop standing in the way and allow Congress to provide the American people with the relief they need.”

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

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USW Endorses Framework for College Athletes’ Bill of Rights https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-endorses-framework-for-college-athletes-bill-of-rights Sat, 25 Jul 2020 09:51:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-endorses-framework-for-college-athletes-bill-of-rights Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450
 
(PITTSBURGH) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today announced its full support for a legislative framework for a comprehensive College Athletes’ Bill of Rights put forth by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

In a letter to members of the U.S. Senate, USW International President Tom Conway urged senators to support the framework, which includes proposals to allow athletes to secure representation and receive compensation for the use of names and likenesses, establish health and safety standards, increase the freedom for student athletes to transfer, and provide medical coverage, among other provisions.

“NCAA sports is a predatory industry that exploits college athletes physically, economically, and academically,” Conway wrote in his letter. “Unjust NCAA policies and practices have a disproportionate negative impact on Black college athletes, many of whom are from low-income homes. Black college athletes make up the majority of revenue sport athletes yet suffer the lowest graduation rates.”

The framework also has the backing of the National College Players Association (NCPA), an advocacy group that fights for fair treatment for college athletes and includes more than 20,000 Division I athletes from more than 150 college campuses. The USW has strongly supported the work of the NCPA since the organization’s inception in 2001.

“The USW has stood in solidarity, side by side, with the NCPA,” Conway wrote. “Our union strongly supports congressional action to put an end to the countless injustices that have plagued college athletes for generations by developing and adopting a sound College Athletes’ Bill of Rights.”

Click here for the full text of the letter.

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

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Workers Report Kumho’s COVID-19 Safety Lapses https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/workers-report-kumhos-covid-19-safety-lapses Mon, 20 Jul 2020 18:02:28 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/workers-report-kumhos-covid-19-safety-lapses Contact: Joe Smydo, jsmydo@usw.org, 412-562-2281

Workers at Kumho Tire in Macon, Ga., today alerted health officials to rampant COVID-19 safety failures in their workplace.

The workers, who voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW) despite Kumho’s repeated efforts to thwart the election, expressed both their fear that they are unprotected from contracting the coronavirus at the tire plant and their concern that the lack of precautions could put the wider community at risk.

They addressed the Macon-Bibb County Board of Health during a public meeting conducted by telephone because of the pandemic.

The workers said Kumho failed to adequately distribute face masks, supply sanitizer or take other common-sense steps to prevent an outbreak of the virus. Now, as COVID-19 sweeps through the plant, company officials refuse to implement consistent social distancing or provide sufficient paid sick leave for workers forced into quarantine.

“The only thing important to them is the tires,” said one worker, who brings his own mask and sanitizer to the plant yet still fears catching the virus because he has close contact with colleagues on every shift.

While expecting workers to risk COVID-19 without proper safeguards, he said, managers “won’t come out on the floor anymore because they don’t want to get it and take it home to their families.”

Other workers reported that Kumho still refuses to regularly and thoroughly disinfect the factory, consistently limit the use of common areas or give details about the rash of COVID-19 cases, such as the number of colleagues infected.

“Kumho’s disregard for its workers’ welfare during this deadly pandemic is disappointing but not surprising,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who leads thousands of Steelworkers in Georgia, six other southern states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “This company amassed a huge list of health and safety violations long before COVID-19 hit. Sadly, Kumho cares more about undermining workers’ labor rights than keeping them, their families and the community safe.”

In 2017, workers narrowly lost a unionization vote after Kumho waged an illegal campaign of harassment and intimidation. An administrative law judge found the company’s misconduct so egregious that he not only ordered a new election but directed the company to read a list of its violations.

During the second election, held last fall, workers voted 141 to 137 for USW representation, with 13 additional challenged ballots. Kumho dragged out the appeals process, but the National Labor Relations Board last week ordered the remaining ballots counted. No date has been set for the count.

“Workers voted to unionize because Kumho refused to treat them fairly,” District 9 Staff Representative Alex Perkins said. “The company’s callous failure to protect them from COVID-19 shows just how urgently they need union protections.”

More information about the workers’ concerns may be found here.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in 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: KPS Purchase of Briggs & Stratton Will Rescue Hundreds of Jobs https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-kps-purchase-of-briggs-stratton-will-rescue-hundreds-of-jobs Mon, 20 Jul 2020 08:26:35 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-kps-purchase-of-briggs-stratton-will-rescue-hundreds-of-jobs Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that KPS Capital Partners’ (KPS) acquisition of Briggs & Stratton will save hundreds of jobs at the bankrupt engine maker’s Milwaukee manufacturing facility.

USW International President Tom Conway said that KPS, a private equity firm, has a proven track record of investing in manufacturing facilities and operating them profitably and sustainably.

“Steelworkers, our families and communities cannot afford to allow these good, union jobs to continue to disappear,” Conway said. “KPS brings experience and a long-term business plan geared toward keeping our plant viable and employment secure.”

USW District 2 Director Michael Bolton praised the union workers for standing together and keeping focused on working safely throughout Briggs & Stratton’s recent financial struggles.

“Our union is committed to working with KPS to ensure that the proud tradition of engine-making is preserved for future generations of USW members here in Milwaukee,” Bolton said. “As long as workers remain united in solidarity, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers 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: America Loses Irreplaceable Civil, Human Rights Leader with Passing of John Lewis https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-america-loses-irreplaceable-civil-human-rights-leader-with-passing-of-john-lewis Sat, 18 Jul 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-america-loses-irreplaceable-civil-human-rights-leader-with-passing-of-john-lewis Contact: Chelsey Engel, (412) 212-5178, cengel@usw.org

“The USW is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

“His endless courage in the face of injustice is a reminder of what ordinary people can do in extraordinary times – though, one could easily argue Rep. Lewis was far beyond ordinary.

“Often referred to as ‘the conscience of Congress,’ Rep. Lewis was always on the front of the line in the fight for civil rights.

“Even before he joined Congress in 1987, Rep. Lewis never faltered in his quest for justice. From marching in Selma, Ala., as an original Freedom Rider alongside Dr. King in 1965 to organizing a sit-in for gun control regulations following the deadly Pulse shooting in 2016, Rep. Lewis showed us all what it means to be a person of integrity and strength.

“Every decision he made in Congress, he made with people at the center of his mind, not politics. Every step he took in life, he took in the same way – with great purpose and passion – no matter what might face him on the other side.

“That is why we are not simply moved to tears by Rep. Lewis’s death, but moved to action. We will fight for every American’s right to vote, for their right to come home at night after work in the same condition they left, and for their right to a life of dignity and liberty.

“May we uplift the values Rep. Lewis embodied every day, and may he rest as he lived – in power and in peace.”

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


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Graduate Committee at Pitt Applauds Reversal of International Student Rule https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/graduate-committee-at-pitt-applauds-reversal-of-international-student-rule Tue, 14 Jul 2020 16:52:50 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/graduate-committee-at-pitt-applauds-reversal-of-international-student-rule CONTACTR.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450

The Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) at the University of Pittsburgh applauded today’s reversal by the Trump administration of new guidelines that it had issued earlier this month that could have forced thousands of international students to leave the country.

The Trump administration had issued a directive to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 6 that international students pursuing degrees at universities in the United States would lose their visas and face deportation if their classes were online-only this fall as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are happy to see the reversal of this unnecessary, arbitrary and potentially devastating policy, a decision that never should have been made in the first place,” said Alnica Visser, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in philosophy. “International students are an absolutely essential part of this campus, this city and this nation. We should never have faced a potential choice between our education and our livelihood, and the health and well-being of ourselves and our loved ones.” 

The reversal of the policy comes after more than a week of intense activism by international students and supporters both at Pitt and across the country calling for the rule to be scrapped. On Monday, Pitt filed a brief supporting a lawsuit by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University seeking a reversal of the administration’s directive to ICE. State attorneys general also filed suit over the policy.

The GSOC is seeking to organize Pitt grad students into the United Steelworkers (USW) union. The workers fell just short in a vote to join the USW in April 2019, an outcome that came as a result of unfair labor practices by the university.

A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hearing examiner ordered a new election, but the university contested that ruling. In its effort to fight unionization by grad students, as well as a concurrent campaign by the university faculty to join the USW, Pitt has spent more than $1 million to employ infamous union-busting firm Ballard Spahr of Philadelphia.

“This reversal is a significant victory for this student body, and it shows the true power of collective action to effect change. We are glad that, in this case, Pitt did the right thing, but the administration must do far more to support its international students,” said Visser. “Pitt should immediately halt its union-busting efforts and redirect those resources to support the students, faculty and community during this incredibly difficult time.”

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

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USW Welcomes ITC’s Preliminary Determination on PVLT Tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-welcomes-itcs-preliminary-determination-on-pvlt-tires-from-korea-taiwan-thailand-and-vietnam Tue, 14 Jul 2020 14:34:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-welcomes-itcs-preliminary-determination-on-pvlt-tires-from-korea-taiwan-thailand-and-vietnam CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-456-2444

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today welcomed the ITC’s preliminary determination on passenger vehicle and light truck (PVLT) tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Domestic tire workers, including USW members, know better than anyone how much dumping and illegal subsides hurt our industries and jeopardize U.S. jobs,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “They’ve lived in fear for far too long that their good, family-sustaining jobs and their communities would be the next victims of bad actors looking to exploit the American market.

“Today’s ITC determination allows us to move forward with a much-needed investigation into these four countries’ trading practices and ultimately institute remedies that will allow U.S. tire producers to compete on a level playing field.”

The USW filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions against the four countries on May 13. The Commerce Department initiated an investigation on June 23.

“U.S. workers need help now,” said Kevin Johnsen, who chairs the USW’s Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference. “They cannot be left to contend with unfair trade on their own.

“Today’s decision is a step in the right direction toward staunching the flow of illegally traded PVLT tires into the United States.”

The USW is the largest North American union in tire manufacturing, representing workers who make PVLT tires at plants in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, North Carolina, New York and Virginia.

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

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USW Applauds Biden’s Plan for Manufacturing, Innovation https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-applauds-bidens-plan-for-manufacturing-innovation Thu, 09 Jul 2020 07:39:30 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-applauds-bidens-plan-for-manufacturing-innovation Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444, jkamm@usw.org                                                                                                                                                        

PITTSBURGH – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement in response to the manufacturing and innovation segment of Joe Biden’s Build Back Better economic plan, released today:

“Recovering from the Covid-19 crisis and ensuring shared prosperity for generations to come will take bold action and a sustained commitment. Joe Biden’s plan for revitalizing American manufacturing demonstrates both.

“As the pandemic made clear, our country must be able to supply its own needs. And now, more than ever, we urgently need to create good, family-sustaining jobs, both to stop the economic freefall and reverse decades of rampant economic inequality.

“Biden will jump-start American manufacturing through a long-needed investment in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Coupled with strong ‘Buy American’ provisions that ensure tax money supports domestic industry, this rebuilding campaign will make our country more secure and create millions of jobs. 

“His plan also includes a massive procurement commitment as well as a roadmap for bringing critical supply chains back to the United States. These provisions will put our country on stronger economic footing and bolster our national security.  

“Just as crucially, Biden’s plan acknowledges the necessity of strong labor protections that enable workers to bargain collectively for higher wages and better benefits. By supporting the PRO Act, Biden will ensure that the jobs created through his economic plan are middle-class jobs that enable workers to live the American dream. 

“Our nation needs a leader who understands the necessity of a strong manufacturing base; from medicines to steel to clean energy technology, our country must produce things here and pay workers competitive wages to make them. 

“Joe Biden’s plan demonstrates that he not only grasps the strategic importance of domestic manufacturing but also values American workers.”

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

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Pitt Grad Student Organizers Condemn Changes to ICE Student Exchange and Visitor Program Rules https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/pitt-grad-student-organizers-condemn-changes-to-ice-student-exchange-and-visitor-program-rules Wed, 08 Jul 2020 12:51:46 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/pitt-grad-student-organizers-condemn-changes-to-ice-student-exchange-and-visitor-program-rules Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

Members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC-USW) at the University of Pittsburgh today issued a statement expressing solidarity with international students and denouncing the Trump administration’s recent modifications of existing ICE Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) rules.

Under the rule change, students in the United States on F-1 visas must take at least one in-person class or face deportation. This comes at a time when many universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, are still weighing their options for online instruction in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“This is yet another targeted attack on immigrants disguised as a premature return to ‘business as usual,’” the statement reads. “The modified policy not only forces international students to choose between our safety and academic careers, but also makes it especially dangerous for us to join the call to cancel in-person teaching.”

The group commended the Pitt administration’s call to reverse the decision, but stated university leaders needed to do more.

“We ask that Pitt immediately halt its expensive legal campaigns designed to deny us our right to form a union, and instead divert those millions of dollars to take legal action, which must include retaining immigration attorneys to serve students and faculty,” the statement reads.

“As a union, we are committed to fighting for the rights of all people to study, teach, and conduct research without having to compromise their health, safety, or visa status. We will not sit idly by while more workers become collateral damage due to the U.S. government’s abdication of its duties. Similarly, we will continue to hold the Pitt administration accountable to make sure it protects the safety and wellbeing of our community when making decisions about the upcoming academic year,” according to the statement.

Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh filed for an election to join the USW in 2017. Last fall, a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hearing examiner found that the university administration committed “coercive acts” that undermined the integrity of that election, held in April 2019, and ordered a new one. The Pitt administration appealed the decision, and this process is still underway.

The full GSOC-USW statement on the SEVP rule changes is available here

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

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USW International President Testifies on Manufacturing, Climate Crisis https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-international-president-testifies-on-manufacturing-climate-crisis Wed, 01 Jul 2020 15:18:49 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-international-president-testifies-on-manufacturing-climate-crisis Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway testified today before the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, calling for robust investments in domestic manufacturing that will both create jobs and reduce emissions.

“We can and must transform our manufacturing sector to become the cleanest, most efficient, most advanced in the world,” said Conway in his testimony. “Our goal should be to accomplish that mission without displacing a single worker.”

This will require financial commitments from top policymakers, so that manufacturers can upgrade their operations to make them more efficient, Conway said. These include the recommendations outlined in the BlueGreen Alliance’s manufacturing agenda released last week.

Ensuring that domestic manufacturers can remain globally competitive as they make costly investments is also essential.

“As long as domestic manufacturers are bearing any cost of reducing emissions that is not borne by foreign competitors, they will be at a disadvantage in the marketplace,” said Conway. “Therefore, we must also have a strong, comprehensive, and timely border adjustment mechanism.”

Finally, preserving and creating good, family-sustaining jobs must remain the central focus. “We must, above all, ensure that American workers are the leaders of this charge, not the victims of it,” Conway said.

Read the full testimony here

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

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USW Says Much Work Remains to Ensure Effectiveness of USMCA https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-says-much-work-remains-to-ensure-effectiveness-of-usmca Wed, 01 Jul 2020 09:56:45 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-says-much-work-remains-to-ensure-effectiveness-of-usmca Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement on the effective date of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA):

“The USW sought for years to replace the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with an agreement that was fair to workers, that ensured good jobs for families and communities in all three countries, and that protected our planet for future generations.

“While the new version of NAFTA, the USMCA, gets us closer to those goals, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that this new deal is effective in protecting good jobs, preserving our environment, and ensuring workers’ rights.

“Despite the big promises workers have gotten from Washington, D.C., in recent years, the U.S. trade deficit with its North American trading partners has only increased under this administration. This is simply unacceptable and unsustainable. We have to do better.

“The labor movement, led by thousands of USW members, pushed hard to ensure that the USMCA was a significant improvement over NAFTA, which cost the United States tens of thousands of good manufacturing jobs. Thanks to the hard work of Democrats in Congress, the new agreement contains stronger language to protect good jobs from offshoring and to ensure workers’ rights, particularly in Mexico.

“Unfortunately, Mexico’s government still fails to control greedy corporations and provide the strong labor protections that the Mexican people deserve.

“The harsh repression of democratic unions in Mexico by Grupo Mexico (which has also been charged by the National Labor Relations Board with violating the rights of USW and other union members at its Asarco subsidiary in the U.S.), the murders of union organizers at Canadian company Torex Gold, and the recent unjust arrest and imprisonment of labor attorney Susana Prieto Terrazas, prove that Mexico hasn’t stopped the bullying of workers and their allies.

“We also can’t ignore that today’s implementation of the USMCA comes at a perilous time for all workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken thousands of lives, cost millions their jobs, and put the health of millions more at risk. Now, more than ever, we need to protect working people and fight for good, family-supporting jobs for people across North America.

“Simply put, the USMCA is a baseline, not a final destination. It sets minimum standards, and we must continue to fight each day to ensure those standards are enforced. As we look forward to future trade pacts with other countries, we will seek even stronger rules to protect workers and communities from offshoring, pollution, unfair trade policies and violations of labor rights.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in 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 Salutes the Heroism of Postal Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-salutes-the-heroism-of-postal-workers Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:55:30 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-salutes-the-heroism-of-postal-workers Contact: Joe Smydo, jsmydo@usw.org, 412-562-2281

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway today issued the following statement in honor of National Postal Worker Day.

“National Postal Worker Day takes on added significance this year because of the tremendous sacrifices that these dedicated public servants have made to keep the nation functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Postal workers risk their lives every day to deliver the medicines and other supplies that their fellow Americans need to survive the health crisis. They bring the letters that keep families and friends connected during this unprecedented period of lockdowns. 

“And come November, the U.S. Postal Service will play a critical role in preserving American democracy by delivering the unusually large number of absentee ballots likely to be cast in a presidential election occurring amid the pandemic. 

“Sadly, although the postal service is more important than ever, its fate has never been in greater jeopardy.

“Unless Congress and President Donald Trump act quickly, the postal service will soon be forced into bankruptcy because of budget problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 recession. The U.S. mail is a lifeline Americans cannot afford to lose. That’s why the public overwhelmingly supports saving it.

“The USW salutes postal workers for their heroic service to America and calls on the federal government to take immediate steps to safeguard this vital institution.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in 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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Carnegie Museum Workers Announce Organizing Campaign to Join USW https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/carnegie-museum-workers-announce-organizing-campaign-to-join-usw Tue, 30 Jun 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/carnegie-museum-workers-announce-organizing-campaign-to-join-usw Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, 412-212-8173

(PITTSBURGH) – Workers from across four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh locations announced on Monday, June 29, that they will be conducting an election to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union. 

Presenting themselves as the United Museum Workers, the group of more than 500 scientists, educators, art handlers, front staff, gift shop clerks, event ushers, and other workers said, in their mission statement, “We are proud future members of the United Steelworkers union, whose members built the fortune of our museum’s founder.”

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh was founded in 1895, originally as the Carnegie Institute, by steel giant Andrew Carnegie. The museums consist of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Despite their diverse range of departments and duties, Gabi DiDonna, an assistant registrar of loans at the Carnegie Museum of Art, said in the campaign’s video announcement, “What unites us is a dedication to preserving and presenting art, scientific collections, and ideas.”

DiDonna also said that although working at a prestigious, mission-driven nonprofit is often a labor of love, many of the workers struggle to make ends meet. “Prestige doesn’t pay the rent,” she said.

Along with better pay and benefits, the United Museum Workers are demanding inclusivity in hiring, accessibility, increased transparency and a voice in the museum’s decision-making process.

“We are looking forward to the days ahead,” DiDonna said at the rally’s conclusion, “and we can’t wait to win our election.”

The USW represents 850,000 working people employed in 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, higher education, tech and service occupations.

 

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As Carnegie Museums Reopen, Workers Launch Unionization Effort https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/as-carnegie-museums-reopen-workers-launch-unionization-effort Mon, 29 Jun 2020 08:25:46 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/as-carnegie-museums-reopen-workers-launch-unionization-effort Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444, jkamm@usw.org                                                    

MEDIA ADVISORY

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that roughly 500 workers from the Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Science Center are taking steps toward organizing a union at their workplaces.

At 6:30 p.m. today, the union will sponsor a multimedia campaign launch and virtual card drop to be streamed on both Facebook Live and YouTube, where employees from each of the museums will talk about the many reasons that they have chosen to join together and bargain with a stronger voice for safer workplaces and fair wages and benefits.

Workers who will participate in the campaign perform a variety of important jobs at the museums, interact with guests constantly and often care for priceless or unique exhibits.

The announcement comes on the eve of the 128th anniversary of the Battle of Homestead, a watershed moment in U.S. labor history, where workers engaged in a strike against Carnegie Steel over issues that included management ignoring employees’ concerns about dangerous working conditions and low wages.

WHO: Workers from all four of the Carnegie Museums

WHAT: Multimedia Launch of Organizing Campaign with the USW

WHEN: 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 29, 2020

WHERE: https://www.facebook.com/steelworkers/live/ or   https://www.youtube.com/Steelworkers

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

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PLRB Hearing Examiner Rules Pitt Inflated Faculty List to Impede Union https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/plrb-hearing-examiner-rules-pitt-inflated-faculty-list-to-impede-union Fri, 26 Jun 2020 08:19:05 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/plrb-hearing-examiner-rules-pitt-inflated-faculty-list-to-impede-union Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) hearing examiner ruled today that the University of Pittsburgh administration artificially inflated a list of its faculty employees in order to impede a unionization campaign by the workers to join the United Steelworkers (USW).

PLRB Hearing Examiner Stephen A. Helmerich said that the employee list the administration provided to the board “was factually and legally inaccurate” and that more than 300 names should be removed, including upper administrators, supervisors and others, including some who had left the university years earlier.

In order to trigger a unionization vote, the union needed to show support from at least 30 percent of the potential bargaining unit. The administration supplied an inflated list, which included more than 4,000 names, making that 30 percent threshold harder to reach.

“This is only the most recent example of the administration’s hostility to the faculty exercising their right to vote,” said Peter Campbell, assistant professor of English. “The administration also recently had the Faculty Association of the School of Medicine abolished, which had existed since 1976, without allowing the faculty it represented to vote on it.”

The USW expects the administration to appeal the ruling. The administration spent more than $1 million over the 2018-2019 fiscal year on fees to the union-busting law firm Ballard Spahr.

“Using frivolous litigation to delay an election is a classic union-busting tactic,” said Claude Mauk, senior lecturer in linguistics. “Clearly they’re worried that faculty, once they have the choice, will seize the opportunity to compel the administration to shift the university's priorities back to the teaching, research, and clinical work that faculty do.”

“It’s appalling that, during a period in which many of the university’s lowest-paid faculty are being laid off, the administration is choosing to spend taxpayer dollars and student tuition on unionbusting,” said USW International President Tom Conway.

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

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USW Backs BlueGreen Alliance National Manufacturing Agenda https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-backs-bluegreen-alliance-national-manufacturing-agenda Thu, 25 Jun 2020 13:39:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-backs-bluegreen-alliance-national-manufacturing-agenda Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union, along with other members and leaders of the labor-environmental partnership BlueGreen Alliance (BGA), today launched the group’s ambitious agenda to rebuild American manufacturing while fighting the effects of climate change.

The BGA, founded in 2006 by the USW and the Sierra Club, now includes more than a dozen unions and environmental organizations committed to fighting for good jobs, clean infrastructure and fair trade. The group’s proposal, released today, outlines a set of national actions necessary to create a manufacturing economy that is globally competitive, clean, safe and fair for workers and communities.

“The USW will always reject the false notion that we must choose between good jobs and a clean environment,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “We believe this country must have both, or we will have neither. That belief has formed the basis for our membership in the BlueGreen Alliance for the past 14 years.”

The BGA agenda outlines a set of national actions to modernize the U.S. industrial base, create good jobs, combat climate change and ensure fairness for workers and communities. The five pillars of the plan are to invest in a new generation of American manufacturing; to innovate to transform industry; to responsibly mine, recycle and reclaim the critical materials necessary for a secure, clean economy; to use public investment to create markets for a strong, clean, fair manufacturing economy; and to change the rules to build a clean economy that works for all Americans.

“These priorities, if they are followed, will mean a stronger, safer, more prosperous future for all workers, families and communities in the United States,” Conway said. “American industrial workers - and Steelworkers in particular - are an essential part of that future.

“USW members have led the way in producing the next generation of clean, environmentally friendly products, including tires designed for greater fuel efficiency, paper products from recycled materials, bearings for wind turbines, and new steel pipe to prevent leakage,” Conway said. “Manufacturing workers are the key to solving our environmental crisis while ensuring the growth of our manufacturing base.”

Conway said that the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the urgency of the United States rebuilding its manufacturing base and putting Americans back to work.

“We don’t have the luxury of time,” Conway said. “We need to act now, to ensure the long-term health of our citizens, our economy and our planet.”

Conway is scheduled to testify on Wednesday, July 1, before a special U.S. Senate committee on the climate crisis, and he plans to submit the BGA’s manufacturing agenda as part of his testimony.

“To achieve the goals laid out in the BGA’s agenda, we will need the support of workers as well as government and industry leaders,” Conway said. “We must make sure that American workers are leading the way on these changes, rather than becoming victims of them.”

The full text of “The BlueGreen Alliance Manufacturing Agenda: A National Agenda for Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership and Industrial Transformation” can be found here: www.bluegreenalliance.org/manufacturing

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

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