United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-01-08 12:51:58 -0600 AMPS en hourly 1 Steelworkers Mourn Former Iron Range State Rep. Tom Rukavina https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/steelworkers-mourn-former-iron-range-state-rep-tom-rukavina Tue, 08 Jan 2019 12:51:58 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/steelworkers-mourn-former-iron-range-state-rep-tom-rukavina More information, contact: John Rebrovich - (218) 744-2757 or jrebrovich@usw.org

Eveleth, Minn.– The United Steelworkers (USW) today expressed its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Tom Rukavina, who represented working families from the Iron Range with passion and conviction in the state legislature for 26 years.

“Generations of Iron Range Steelworkers, retirees and their families knew and understood the importance of having such an outspoken advocate working on their behalf when thousands of jobs were at stake,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Our entire union shares in the grief of those left behind.”

USW District 11 Assistant Director John Rebrovich said Rukavina was a true public servant who never lost touch with the men and women he represented.

“We all owe Rep. Rukavina a debt of gratitude for his leadership and dedication to the causes and issues most important to our families,” Rebrovich said. “We forever remember his tireless determination to stand up for our jobs when we needed his support and will miss him.”

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 Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New National Grid Contract https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-overwhelmingly-ratify-new-national-grid-contract Tue, 08 Jan 2019 11:09:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-overwhelmingly-ratify-new-national-grid-contract CONTACT:  Steve Finnigan: (508) 482-5555

MILFORD, Mass. – Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted overwhelmingly on Monday, Jan. 7, to ratify a new six-year agreement with National Grid, ending a nearly seven-month lockout imposed by the utility company last June.

The contract includes significant wage increases and preserves affordable benefits for about 1,200 members of USW Local 12012 and USW Local 12003. The agreement also includes additional health and safety provisions and other protections for the natural gas workers and residents.

“This agreement is a testament to the commitment these hard-working union members have to their community and to each other,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “They demonstrated their strength and solidarity every day, and they should be proud of what they’ve achieved with this contract.”

Union members, local and state officials, and residents from across the community stood behind the locked-out USW members throughout their seven-month ordeal. 

“The bottom line is that when working people stand together and fight for each other, they win,” said USW District 4 Director John Shinn. “This contract is a win for these workers and for the entire community.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed a bill extending unemployment benefits for the locked-out workers. 

“We want to thank all of our elected officials, including Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, Secretary of State Galvin, Senators Warren and Markey and our whole Congressional delegation, Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, our local mayors and town officials, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Greater Boston Labor Council, and all of our union and community partners for their tremendous support,” John Buonopane, president of United Steelworkers Local 12012, and Joe Kirylo, president of USW Local 12003, said in a joint statement.

“Our first priority is the safety of our communities and we look forward to returning to our crucial work of providing the safe natural gas service the Commonwealth of Massachusetts deserves,” they said.

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 and http://endthelockout.com.

 

                                                 

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USW and IBEW Launch Organizing Drive at Tesla’s Buffalo Solar Factory https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-and-ibew-launch-organizing-drive-at-teslas-buffalo-solar-factory Wed, 12 Dec 2018 20:45:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-and-ibew-launch-organizing-drive-at-teslas-buffalo-solar-factory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     CONTACT:  Dave Wasiura, (716) 565-1720
Dec. 13, 2018                                                                                  dwasiura@usw.org                                                              

(Buffalo, N.Y.) – The United Steelworkers (USW) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced today that workers at Tesla’s solar panel factory in Buffalo, N.Y., will hold a union organizing drive.

In 2013, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the solar manufacturing investment as part of his “Buffalo Billon” initiative at the Riverbend site. The announcement promised high-tech manufacturing jobs that would help change the economic landscape of Buffalo.

Recently, workers at the Tesla facility reached out to the USW about organizing. The USW and IBEW agreed to work with both production and maintenance employees in a joint organizing drive.

There are currently about 400 workers at Tesla’s Buffalo plant on the site of the former Republic Steel mill, where workers were represented by the USW.

“The only way we can ensure that we have a voice in the company and have equal rights across the board is with a union contract,” said Aaron Nicpon, a member of the internal organizing committee. “We want to have a voice at Tesla so that we can have a better future for ourselves and our families.”

“I wanted to work at Tesla because I wanted a job in green energy, a job that can change the world,” said Rob Walsh, another organizing committee member. “But I also want a fair wage for my work.”

USW District 4 Director, John Shinn said that the workers’ concerns can be addressed while still maintaining the long-term viability of the facility.

“We’re committed to the continuing success of this facility,” said Shinn, “and to making sure that Tesla’s highly skilled work force has good, family-sustaining jobs. This historic USW site will be the model of how emerging clean technology manufacturing can provide such an opportunity for its workers.”

For the USW and IBEW, this campaign goes beyond the traditional organizing model. “We have partnered with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Coalition of Economic Justice, so together we can build a brighter Buffalo,” said Shinn.

“Western New York has a long tradition of unionization, and we want to see that tradition carry forward into the green jobs that are our future.”

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

 

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USW: NAFTA Still Needs Work https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-nafta-still-needs-work Fri, 30 Nov 2018 10:18:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-nafta-still-needs-work CONTACT: Holly Hart; (202) 778-4384; hhart@usw.org

“Today’s signing is an important milestone, but it is only another step in the process to reform NAFTA. For roughly 25 years, workers have struggled under the oppressive weight of NAFTA which has suppressed wages, living standards and opportunities.

“NAFTA and implementing legislation must reverse the corporate incentives to outsource production and, instead, promote investments in plants, equipment and people domestically. This week’s announcement by General Motors that it intends to throw 15,000 workers onto the unemployment lines as the Christmas season approaches is clear evidence that corporations are only interested in profits.

“In certain areas, the text of the new agreement is an improvement. But Mexico must pass legislation to enforce the labor and environmental standards to which it committed. And, mechanisms must be established to ensure provisions are aggressively implemented, monitored and enforced.

“This week Mexico inaugurates a new President, and new political leaders control their Congress. Mexico has made commitments to its people. We have every reason to believe that the new political leadership will faithfully adopt strong provisions to implement its constitutional commitments.

“It is in the interest of workers in all three countries to ensure that Mexico adopts strong workers’ rights provisions and monitors and enforces their implementation. Workers in Mexico must be able to form labor organizations and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions to stop downward pressure on wages in Canada and the United States.

“We will continue to work with the U.S. Trade representative (USTR), the Department of Labor and Congress to promote manufacturing and family-supportive jobs. Only when all the issues have been resolved and it’s clear that Mexico is fully and faithfully recognizing workers’ rights, should Congress vote on the agreement and implementing legislation.”

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


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Steelworkers Ratify Agreements with ArcelorMittal https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/steelworkers-ratify-agreements-with-arcelormittal Thu, 29 Nov 2018 14:47:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/steelworkers-ratify-agreements-with-arcelormittal CONTACT: Tony Montana – (412)-562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that its members have overwhelmingly ratified new, four-year labor agreements with ArcelorMittal USA that will increase wages, bolster retirement provisions, improve benefits and strengthen contract language for roughly 15,000 hourly production, maintenance, office and technical workers who belong to 13 local unions at 14 facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

“After years of hard work and tremendous sacrifice to keep these facilities running and the company viable while the domestic steel industry languished through wave after wave of unfairly traded imports, it is right and just for ArcelorMittal steelworkers to share in the company’s success now that the market has rebounded,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The men and women we are privileged to represent earned these contracts by being the most efficient and productive steel making workforce in the world.” 

USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs the union’s negotiations with ArcelorMittal, credited the unity and solidarity of the USW membership for giving the bargaining committee the leverage it needed to resist ArcelorMittal management’s concessionary demands and fight for a fair contract. 

“Thanks to the unwavering support of our membership, we successfully defended all of the rights and protections that management sought to reduce, restrict and eliminate,” McCall said. “On top of that, we were able to make improvements, fill gaps and fix the parts of our contracts that members identified as top priorities when we met before negotiations began.” 

USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap, who serves as secretary of the USW committee, said that the union is proud that the newly ratified contracts provide meaningful economic improvements without compromising job security or unfairly burdening current and future retirees by increasing the amount they already contribute toward their benefits. 

“From start to finish, we were committed to negotiating more security for our earnings, benefits and retirements while management demanded less,” Millsap said. “We are proud to have achieved that goal and proud of our brothers and sisters who proved that they are willing to fight for fairness.” 

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 Congratulates Los Mineros on Victory at the El Boleo Mine https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-congratulates-los-mineros-on-victory-at-the-el-boleo-mine Wed, 21 Nov 2018 20:05:51 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-congratulates-los-mineros-on-victory-at-the-el-boleo-mine The United Steelworkers (USW) congratulated Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, President and General Secretary of the Mexican mining and steelworkers’ union Los Mineros, on their November 20 election victory at the El Boleo Mine in Santa Rosalia in the State of Baja California Sur.
 
By a vote of 280-238, the workers at El Boleo voted for Los Mineros over a company union that was installed by the labor contractor, Servicios y Desarrollos Meseta Central SA de CV, without consulting the workers. The mine is controlled by Korea Resources Corporation (KORES), which is owned by the government of South Korea.
 
“This victory shows that the workers’ courage and determination can overcome corporate repression and government collusion,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “But it also underscores the fundamental unfairness of Mexico’s repressive labor law system that condems its workers to poverty level wages while threatening the jobs of Canadian and U.S. workers. Mexico’s new government must move quickly to reform its labor laws and end the practice of company-dominated unions, and the proposed US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) must include effective enforcement provisions to prevent and punish violations of workers’ rights.”
 
On April 20, 2016, the workers went on strike to demand the removal of the company union and free elections.  The strike was broken by a large force of police on May 5, and a month later the company fired 130 Los Mineros supporters.  The federal labor authorities then blocked the Mineros’ demand for an election for 2 ½ years in an attempt to discourage the workers.
 
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Federal Bronze Locks Out Dozens of Hourly Workers in Newark https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/federal-bronze-locks-out-dozens-of-hourly-workers-in-newark Wed, 21 Nov 2018 13:34:17 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/federal-bronze-locks-out-dozens-of-hourly-workers-in-newark Contact: Matt McCarty, 610-565-5051

Newark, N.J. – The United Steelworkers (USW) said that 31 members of Local 40M were locked out of their jobs today by management at Federal Bronze Casting Industries, Inc., after voting to reject the company’s latest contract proposal.

USW District 4 Director John Shinn called on the company to abandon its strategy to bully union workers into accepting management’s unfair demands and negotiate in good faith for a fair contract.

“Federal Bronze must be made accountable for its decision to hold our jobs, families and community hostage over issues that should be resolved through collective bargaining,” Shinn said. “Management needs to end this lockout immediately, return these workers to their jobs and resolve our differences at the table.”

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 condemns assassination of Turkish union leader Abdullah Karacan https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-condemns-assassination-of-turkish-union-leader-abdullah-karacan Tue, 13 Nov 2018 19:51:14 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-condemns-assassination-of-turkish-union-leader-abdullah-karacan The United Steelworkers condemned the brutal assassination today of Abdullah Karacan, general president of the Turkish Rubber and Chemical Workers’ Union Lastik-İş.
Karacan was murdered while on a visit to workers at the Goodyear factory in the city of Adzapari.  The union’s regional president, Mustafa Sipahi, and shop steward Osman Bayraktar were also wounded in the assault.  Bayraktar remains in critical condition.
 
“We are outraged by this vicious assault on our sister union, which reflects the erosion of democratic rights under the Erdogan government in Turkey,” said USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson.  “We send our condolences to the family of Brother Karacan and to all the members of Lastik-İş, and our prayers for the recovery of brother Bayraktar. The Turkish authorities must immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute the criminals who are responsible for this attack.”
 
Johnson co-chairs the rubber industry section of IndustriALL Global Union, the global union representing industrial workers to which both USW and Lastik-İş are affiliated.  Karacan, a member of IndustriALL’s Executive Council, led the fight against contracting out by major tire companies in Turkey including Bridgestone, Pirelli and Goodyear, winning permanent jobs for thousands of union members.
 
A committed internationalist, Karacan visited the United Kingdom in 2015 to support of members of UNITE the Union at Goodyear who were fighting against closure of their plant in Birmingham.  The USW and UNITE are partners in the global union Workers Uniting.

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USW Members Vote to Ratify 4-Year Contract with U.S. Steel https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-members-vote-to-ratify-4-year-contract-with-u-s-steel Tue, 13 Nov 2018 13:50:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-members-vote-to-ratify-4-year-contract-with-u-s-steel FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              CONTACT:   R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450,
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018                                                            rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (Nov. 13) – Thousands of members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted by an overwhelming margin to ratify a new contract with U.S. Steel.

The new four-year master agreement takes effect immediately. It includes a total of 14 percent in wage increases over the life of the contract, maintains the union’s high-quality, affordable health care coverage and strengthens retirement benefits for the USW’s 16,000 members at 14 U.S. Steel locations. The contract also allows for much-needed investments in the company’s facilities.

Bargaining on the new contract began in July. The previous agreement, which was negotiated in 2015 during a difficult period for the steel industry, contained a wage freeze and other concessions. That three-year agreement expired on Sept. 1.

“In 2015, workers recognized that the steel industry was struggling and agreed to make sacrifices so that U.S. Steel could get through some tough times,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Now that the company has recovered and is projected to earn nearly $2 billion this year, workers rightly wanted a share of that success.”

Despite its improved financial position, U.S. Steel’s initial proposals demanded more concessions. In early September, USW members responded by voting unanimously to authorize a strike.

“The strength and solidarity of the USW membership were the keys to achieving a fair agreement,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, chair of the union’s U.S. Steel bargaining committee.  

The new agreement will run through Sept. 1, 2022.

“This contract puts the company in a position to succeed and ensures that the work force will be able to share in that success. It’s a win-win,” said Mike Millsap, USW District 7 director and secretary of the bargaining committee.

The contract covers members of 24 local unions who work at the following U.S. Steel facilities: Clairton Works, East Chicago Tin, Fairfield, Fairfield Southern, Fairless Hills, Gary Works, Granite City Works, Great Lakes Works, Keetac, Lone Star Tubular, Lorain Tubular, Midwest Plant, Minntac and Mon Valley Works.

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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USW Welcomes Minnesota DNR Decision to Issue Permits for Planned PolyMet Mine https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-welcomes-minnesota-dnr-decision-to-issue-permits-for-planned-polymet-mine Thu, 01 Nov 2018 15:26:18 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-welcomes-minnesota-dnr-decision-to-issue-permits-for-planned-polymet-mine Contact: John Rebrovich, (218) 744-2757
                                                                                                                        

EVELETH, Minn. (Nov. 1) — The United Steelworkers union (USW) today said that it welcomed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announcement that it had issued permits for a planned mining project in northeastern Minnesota.

After a lengthy review, the state DNR approved the permits for PolyMet Mining’s proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. The USW has represented mining workers in the state for more than 75 years.

“The members of this union have a long and proud history of mining in Minnesota, and we are excited to continue that tradition,” said Emil Ramirez, director of USW District 11, which includes Minnesota and eight other states. “We’re confident that this work can be done in a way that provides hundreds of good, community-supporting jobs to the people of this region while also safeguarding our precious natural resources.” 

In making the announcement, Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said that “no project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated.”

“The economy, the people and the communities across Minnesota depend on mining as a way of life, and we need to work together to make sure that continues in a sustainable way,” Ramirez said. “We also want our children and grandchildren to have access to clean water and unpolluted air. We believe that this project will satisfy both of those goals.

“The choice between good jobs and a clean environment is a false one – we must have both, or we will have neither,” he said.

The PolyMet project still must clear additional regulatory hurdles, including air and water quality permits from the state’s pollution control agency as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

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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We stand with Jewish community, call for unity to end division, inequality https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/we-stand-with-jewish-community-call-for-unity-to-end-division-inequality Tue, 30 Oct 2018 10:40:53 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/we-stand-with-jewish-community-call-for-unity-to-end-division-inequality Contact: Fred Redmond, 412-562-2307

(PITTSBURGH) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement regarding the act of terror that claimed 11 lives at Tree of Life Synagogue, as well as injured six others, including first responders, this past weekend:

“The massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past weekend has stunned our home city. We are all brokenhearted at the loss of life, at the targeting of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, and at the depths of violence and division to which our society has fallen.

“The man responsible for the terrorist attack that has sent a wave of fear and grief throughout Pittsburgh’s East End made clear and repeated anti-Semitic comments before, during, and after his act. We must be relentless in our continued call for unity and in the fight to end anti-Semitism and hate of any kind – both in our own city and around the world.

“Our leadership joins all of those mourning this senseless act. We also recognize that we must redouble our efforts to combat the prejudice that motivated this heinous act of violence. We must reach out to our members and our communities and talk about how we can overcome the divisions that plague our society. 

“This is a conversation we cannot delay or dilute. We must stand together, in unwavering solidarity, with communities everywhere in the struggle to bring safety, freedom and equality to all.”

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

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DowDuPont Workers Unite Globally Amid Corporate Restructuring https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/dowdupont-workers-unite-globally-amid-corporate-restructuring Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:21:44 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/dowdupont-workers-unite-globally-amid-corporate-restructuring CONTACT: Kent Holsing, chair, DowDuPont North American Labor Council, 989-495-9350, kentholsing@gmail.com

Union leaders representing thousands of workers employed at DowDuPont companies from the United States and around the globe met last week in Pittsburgh to discuss common issues and pledge unity.

“The workers of DowDuPont are facing many changes and challenges in the coming months, and the unionized sites of DowDuPont around the globe will be working together to ensure the members’ best interests are represented,” said Kent Holsing, chairperson of the DowDuPont North American Labor Council and president of USW Local 12075 in Midland, Mich.

“We are speaking not only for the unionized employees of DowDuPont but also for the non-union employees who don’t have that voice. DowDuPont workers from around the world are rightfully concerned about taking a step back in their livelihood at a time of record profits for the corporation, and we are preparing action items to address these concerns,” Holsing added.

The DowDuPont union leaders shared collective bargaining data, identified mutual obstacles and determined potential solutions over a three-day period.

Much discussion focused on the pending split of DowDuPont and its potential effect on staffing, working conditions, and employees’ pensions, benefits and insurance. Other discussion topics included workplace safety, organizing, and the need for increased and proactive communication between the corporations and its respective unions.

The labor leaders strengthened their unions’ international connections, and their interactions increased mutual respect and understanding across DowDuPont’s unionized worksites.

Representatives from these unions participated in the annual meeting: The United Steelworkers (USW); the International Union of Operating Engineers; Texas City Metal Trades; the International Chemical Workers Union Council/United Food & Commercial Workers; National Conference of Firemen & Oilers; the Ampthill Rayon Workers Incorporated (ARWI); the Dow Chemical European Employee Forum; the Dow Chemical-Stade Works Council (Germany); UNITE the Union (United Kingdom); the Global Union Federation IndustriALL (Geneva, Switzerland), the Union of Workers and Employees Petrochemicals States-SOEPU (Argentina) and the Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union CEMW SPSI (Indonesia).

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USW Reaches Tentative Agreement with U.S. Steel https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-u-s-steel Mon, 15 Oct 2018 15:51:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-u-s-steel CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450

PITTSBURGH (October 15) – Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union reached a tentative agreement today with U.S. Steel on a new master agreement covering 16,000 workers at facilities across the country.

The union’s collective bargaining agreements with U.S. Steel expired on Sept. 1, but USW members agreed to work under an extension as bargaining continued. The two sides began negotiations in July.

The previous agreement, reached during a downturn in the steel industry, contained a three-year wage freeze. In early September, as the company continued to insist upon major concessions from the work force, members voted unanimously to authorize a strike.

“U.S. Steel began this process insisting upon deep concessions from a group of workers who had already made major sacrifices to help the company through a very difficult time,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “It’s a testament to the power of solidarity that these workers were able to stand up with one voice and demand fair treatment.”

USW members will hold meetings in the coming weeks to review and discuss the tentative contract before casting their votes.

“Every member of this union should be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, the chair of the union’s bargaining committee. “This group of workers stood up to a hugely profitable company and demanded a piece of the success they helped to create.”

The USW’s master agreement with U.S. Steel covers a total of more than 16,000 workers at the following locations: Clairton Works (Pennsylvania), East Chicago Tin (Indiana), Fairfield (Alabama), Fairfield Southern (Alabama), Fairless Hills (Pennsylvania), Gary Works (Indiana), Granite City Works (Illinois), Great Lakes Works (Michigan), Keetac (Minnesota), Lone Star Tubular (Texas), Lorain Tubular (Ohio), Midwest Plant (Indiana), Minntac (Minnesota) and Mon Valley Works (Pennsylvania).

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

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USW Members Vote to Ratify Four-Year Contract with Cliffs https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-members-vote-to-ratify-four-year-contract-with-cliffs Fri, 12 Oct 2018 08:26:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-members-vote-to-ratify-four-year-contract-with-cliffs CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted by a 10-to-1 margin this week to ratify a new four-year contract with mining company Cleveland Cliffs.

The new four-year master agreement, which takes effect immediately, includes significant wage increases in each year of the contract, maintains high quality, affordable health care coverage and strengthens retirement benefits for the union’s 1,850 members at four iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota.

The previous agreement, which was negotiated during a difficult period for the iron ore and steel industries, contained a three-year wage freeze. 

“In 2015, these workers saw that the industry was struggling and agreed to make sacrifices so that this company could make it through the tough times,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Cliffs clearly recognized that, and we look forward to building on our relationship in the coming years.”

The USW began local-level talks with Cliffs over the summer and opened bargaining in early September on a new master agreement. The new contract replaces the three-year agreement that expired on Oct. 1.

“We were pleased we could work with Cliffs to reach an agreement that was fair to both sides,” said USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, the chair of the union’s bargaining committee. “This contract puts the company in a position to succeed and ensures that the work force will be able to share in that success.”

The contract covers workers at the company’s Tilden and Empire Mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as the United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota’s Iron Range.

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

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Pitt Grads Testify at PLRB on Union Rights https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/pitt-grads-testify-at-plrb-on-union-rights Mon, 08 Oct 2018 08:03:32 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/pitt-grads-testify-at-plrb-on-union-rights CONTACTS: Jess Kamm (412) 562-2446, jkamm@usw.org, or Jeff Cech (412) 339-4843, jcech@usw.org

PITTSBURGH – Members of USW’s Graduate Student Organizing Committee this week participated in a hearing before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), testifying that they are employees at the University of Pittsburgh with the right to form a union. 

“We teach classes that would otherwise be taught by part-time faculty and do research that could otherwise be done by staff. We receive wages for this work and pay taxes,” said Golnar Touski a graduate student employee in the history of art and architecture department. “We are students, but we are also university employees.”

In December 2017, the union petitioned the PLRB for an election for graduate employees classified as teaching assistants, teaching fellows, graduate student assistants and graduate student researchers. 

In response, the university administration contested the election and hired Ballard Spahr, a law firm known for opposing unionization efforts.

Both sides now have the opportunity to present evidence to the PLRB.

“It’s deeply disturbing that the university is using tuition and tax dollars to pay high priced attorneys to disaffirm the work we do on campus and deny us labor rights,” said Ben Case a graduate student employee in the sociology department, “especially when this same law firm lost this same case making these same arguments at Penn State last year.”

The hearing began Monday, Oct. 1. The administration’s attorneys had two days scheduled to call their witnesses. However, they stretched the testimony of Vice Provost of Graduate Studies Nate Urban over nearly a day and a half. As a result, the hearing, which was expected to conclude at the end of the day on Friday, Oct. 5, will now need to resume at a later date. 

“Their arguments are muddled, but their motives are clear. This isn’t about whether or not we’re employees. It’s a deliberate strategy to undermine our efforts to have a voice on campus by delaying our organizing and preserving their legal options going forward,” said Abby Cartus a graduate student employee in the epidemiology department. “The administration’s testimony makes clear that they fully intend to keep challenging us even if we win the board hearing and the election.”

The PLRB affirmed the rights of graduate students to form a union at Temple University in 2001 and again at Penn State University earlier this year.

The Academic Workers Association is part of the USW, which represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, the service and public sectors and higher education. 

 

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USW Looks Forward to Working with USTR to Continue to Improve New NAFTA-USMCA https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-looks-forward-to-working-with-ustr-to-continue-to-improve-new-nafta-usmca Mon, 01 Oct 2018 10:38:49 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-looks-forward-to-working-with-ustr-to-continue-to-improve-new-nafta-usmca CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement after renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement was completed.

“The effort to achieve the goal of a fair trade agreement that protects workers in the United States, Canada and Mexico is far from over.  

“There are provisions in the draft agreement between the United States and Mexico that represent improvements over NAFTA, but there are also provisions that must be removed. Further, we have not evaluated what changes resulted from the just-concluded agreement to include Canada.

“In the area of workers’ rights, the draft text we have seen includes significant improvements over the existing NAFTA and is stronger than the rejected Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It goes farther than any prior trade agreement. That is encouraging, but it is not yet enough. Efforts to protect the rights of workers in all countries that will be party to this deal are not finished.

“The impact of the deal must be measured not only by what is in the final agreement, but also by what Mexico adopts legislatively to implement its commitments. Also, what will the Trump Administration and Congress do to ensure that the provisions of any final agreement are effectively applied, monitored and enforced? Strong text in an agreement backed up by legislative changes in Mexico will only matter if they are fully and faithfully enforced.

“It is vital to understand that this debate is not about free trade, protectionism or ivory-tower academic arguments. It is about what will happen to real people. NAFTA’s long-term impact has been devastating, and reforms are sorely needed.

“The members of the USW, the largest industrial union in North America, have suffered from the devastating impact of NAFTA on manufacturing and employment in both the United States and Canada. And workers in Mexico, who now make no more than they did before NAFTA, never benefited from the massive profits that multinational corporations realized as a result of the agreement.  

“The USW and other labor groups have worked closely with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer since the United States initiated renegotiation of NAFTA. Labor has provided concrete and specific recommendations. Ambassador Lighthizer has worked diligently and seriously to resolve these issues. 

“Reversing the negative impact of NAFTA has been a priority of the USW since the day Congress approved it nearly 25 years ago.

“The key question now is whether this new agreement, when final, will make a measurable difference in workers’ lives and whether workers will have confidence in the new provisions and the commitment of government to enforce those provisions.

“Also critical is what provisions will be negotiated relative to the Section 232 actions on steel and aluminum. From the beginning, the USW has made it clear that Canada should not have been subject to Section 232 measures. Our economies are integrated, and our national security interests are intertwined, as are our steel and aluminum markets.  The U.S. has no stronger or more reliable economic and national security partner. The impacts of any provisions in this area are key concerns not only on a bilateral basis, but for the USW, whose members work in this sector in both countries.

“The USW looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration, Congress and our colleagues in Mexico and Canada to ensure that a final agreement and all of the implementing provisions promote broadly-shared prosperity for all workers in North America. We remain hopeful that the provisions will measure up and are committed to making this happen.”

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

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USW Oil Workers Approve National Oil Bargaining Program Policy https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-oil-workers-approve-national-oil-bargaining-program-policy Wed, 26 Sep 2018 17:05:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-oil-workers-approve-national-oil-bargaining-program-policy CONTACT: Lynne Hancock, 615-828-6169, lhancock@usw.org

More than 375 United Steelworkers (USW) delegates attending the National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) conference approved policy for the 2019 national pattern agreement.

The NOBP oil policy contains the proposals that will be presented during bargaining with the oil industry. Shell Oil Co. will be the lead company in national talks.

Delegates met in 17 company councils this week to devise national proposals addressing wages, benefits and working conditions that affect workers across the oil industry.

The NOBP Oil Policy Committee, which consists of five elected rank-and-file members and five alternates, thoroughly vetted each proposal and created a policy for the delegates to review and discuss this morning. Delegates suggested changes and the oil policy committee reconvened to adjust the policy.

Now the NOBP Policy goes to oil locals and units for approval. They have 45 days to present the NOBP Policy at a membership meeting, answer questions and conduct a vote on it.

The NOBP Policy must be approved by 75 percent of the oil locals and units.

Bargaining is conducted at a national table for a pattern agreement, and negotiations begin in mid-January. Oil local unions and units will also be negotiating local contracts in January. Local contracts contain issues such as bidding rights and seniority.

The National Oil Bargaining pattern agreement and local contracts expire Feb. 1 at 12:01 a.m.

The USW represents more than 30,000 oil workers at approximately 220 refineries, oil terminals, pipelines, transportation and petrochemical facilities in the United States. USW-represented oil workers produce about 64 percent of gasoline and other oil products in the United States.

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

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United: Steelworkers Authorize Strike against ArcelorMittal https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/united-steelworkers-authorize-strike-against-arcelormittal Tue, 18 Sep 2018 07:05:56 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/united-steelworkers-authorize-strike-against-arcelormittal More information, contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

 PITTSBURGH– The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that 13 local unions representing about 15,000 workers unanimously granted their negotiating committee the authority to implement a strike against ArcelorMittal if necessary.

“The flexibility of our contracts and world-class efficiency and productivity of this particular group of steelworkers enabled ArcelorMittal to survive floods of unfairly traded and illegally dumped foreign imports that brought about the harshest market conditions our industry has faced in decades,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Now that the company is generating enormous – even historic – amounts of cash, it is an insult that bargaining progress has been hindered by management’s unrealistic concessionary demands and unfair labor practices.”

USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs negotiations with ArcelorMittal, said that the company’s union-represented production, maintenance, office and technical workers are uniformly fed up with management’s attempts to reduce, eliminate, undermine and weaken contractual protections and benefits hard-won through generations of collective bargaining.

“ArcelorMittal can easily afford to negotiate fair labor agreements with us, but the company has instead insisted on concessions that would more than wipe out any pay increases in its proposal,” McCall said. “Management has even failed to address some of our non-economic proposals and ignored most of the local issues we have brought to the table, demonstrating a fundamental lack of respect for the men and women upon whose shoulders rests the company’s past, present and future success.”

McCall added that although the union would prefer to resolve the outstanding issues without a work stoppage, USW members have delivered a clear message through their overwhelming support of strike authorization.

“We are organized and mobilized and will not allow ArcelorMittal to bully us into accepting anything less than the fair contracts we have earned and deserve,” McCall said. “These are jobs worth fighting for, and we intend to keep it that way.”

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 Members Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike at U.S. Steel https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-members-vote-overwhelmingly-to-authorize-strike-at-u-s-steel Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:51:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-members-vote-overwhelmingly-to-authorize-strike-at-u-s-steel CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

Thousands of members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union from across the United States voted overwhelmingly this week to authorize their bargaining committee to initiate a strike at U.S. Steel facilities. The committee could now call a strike if the company continues to demand deep concessions from its hourly work force.

The union’s collective bargaining agreements with U.S. Steel expired on Sept. 1, but union members have continued to work under the terms of an agreed-to extension. That agreement remains in effect with 48 hours’ notice required for termination. The two sides have been negotiating since July.

“These workers have made a number of sacrifices over the past several years – including three years with a wage freeze – to put this company back on track,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Now that U.S. Steel is expecting to make a profit of nearly $2 billion this year, it is time for the workers to share in the success U.S. Steel is seeing now.”

Top company officials have given themselves more than $50 million in pay and bonuses since 2015 while the hourly work force has not received a wage increase over the same period.

“The USW did not come to the bargaining table looking for a fight,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who leads the union’s bargaining committee. “We came ready to work out an honest and fair agreement, but that is a far cry from what the company is demanding. We remain prepared to work in good faith. We expect U.S. Steel to come to its senses and return to the bargaining table with workable proposals.”

The company has proposed major increases in benefit costs for the work force, as well as other significant concessions that would reduce workers’ overall take-home pay and eliminate a number of on-the-job protections. The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations next week.

“With the company hugely profitable and industry conditions the best they have been in years, this is no time for U.S. Steel to pick a fight with workers who have been there to help them during the toughest times,” said USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap. “It’s time to come together and do what’s right for these workers, their families and their communities.”

The USW’s master agreement with U.S. Steel covers a total of more than 16,000 workers at the following locations: Clairton Works (Pennsylvania), East Chicago Tin (Indiana), Fairfield (Alabama), Fairfield Southern (Alabama), Fairless Hills (Pennsylvania), Gary Works (Indiana), Granite City Works (Illinois), Great Lakes Works (Michigan), Keetac (Minnesota), Lone Star Tubular (Texas), Lorain Tubular (Ohio), Midwest Plant (Indiana), Minntac (Minnesota) and Mon Valley Works (Pennsylvania).

For bargaining updates and other information on the current negotiations, visit www.usw.org/steel.

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

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Thousands of Steelworkers Rally Across Nation for Fair Treatment https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/thousands-of-steelworkers-rally-across-nation-for-fair-treatment Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:38:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/thousands-of-steelworkers-rally-across-nation-for-fair-treatment CONTACT:
Tony Montana (AM): (412) 562-2592, tmontana@usw.org
R.J. Hufnagel (USS): (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

Thousands of members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union from across the United States, along with labor, political, religious and community allies, held a series of rallies and marches on Thursday to call for fair contracts with steelmakers ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel.

Those contracts, which cover a total of 31,000 workers, are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on the night of Saturday, Sept. 1. The union has been negotiating with the two companies since July.

“Today, we saw hard-working people standing up with one voice demanding fair treatment for themselves and their families,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

“These workers have gone three years without a wage increase,” Gerard said. “In that time, they’ve seen the cost of everything go up; they’ve seen their employers report millions of dollars in profits; they’ve seen management pay themselves millions of dollars in bonuses. And today, they stood up and said they’d seen enough.”

The union’s negotiations with ArcelorMittal cover about 15,000 members of 13 local unions while the USW’s master agreement with U.S. Steel covers more than 16,000 workers at 24 local unions.

“These workers and their families have made significant sacrifices over the years to put these two companies in a position to be extremely successful. They deserve to share in that success,” Gerard said.

The locations included in the two companies’ collective bargaining agreements are as follows:

ArcelorMittal: Burns Harbor, Cleveland, Coatesville, Conshohocken, Indiana Harbor East, Indiana Harbor West, Minorca Mine, Riverdale, Steelton, Warren Coke, Weirton, I/N Tek, I/N Kote, Columbus Coatings and Columbus Processing

U.S. Steel: Clairton Works; East Chicago Tin, Fairfield, Fairfield Southern, Fairless Hills, Gary Works, Granite City Works, Great Lakes Works, Keetac, Lone Star Tubular, Lorain Tubular, Midwest Plant, Minntac and Mon Valley Works

For bargaining updates and other information on the current negotiations, visit www.usw.org/steel.

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

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