United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2017-09-18 11:43:00 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW Calls on Administration to Complete Steel Investigation; Protect National Security http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-calls-on-administration-to-complete-steel-investigation-protect-national-security Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:43:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-calls-on-administration-to-complete-steel-investigation-protect-national-security CONTACT: Wayne Ranick: (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union issued the following release as dozens of steelworkers from around the country come to Washington D.C., to ask their legislators to press the Trump Administration to move forward on their Section 232 Investigation on the impact of steel imports on U.S. national security interests. In April, the administration initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Act of 1962. Despite reports that the investigation has been completed, the public release of the document has not occurred, and no relief has been provided.

Steelworkers from across the country are in Washington this week asking their elected representatives to press the Trump Administration to take action to protect national security. Since April, when the President called for the initiation of an investigation on the impact of imports of steel on our national security interests, imports have surged almost 21 percent. The delay in acting is further undermining our national security and critical infrastructure interests.

“The time to act is now, and workers are telling politicians their first-hand stories of the devastation in the industry and the critical importance of providing relief,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

“The delay in acting is devastating,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “Plants are closing, jobs are lost and communities are injured while politicians delay. Now there are rumors that action is being delayed so Congress can focus on tax reform. That’s an insult to the hardworking men and women whose jobs depend on the industry. Steelworker jobs and our national security should not be held hostage to tax cuts for the rich and powerful as America’s future is at risk.”

Steelworkers from multiple U.S.-based steel-making operations in eight states, including plants in  Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Alabama, Minnesota, Kentucky and  Michigan, are arranging visits with a bipartisan array of House and Senate offices this week to discuss the need to act quickly. In recent weeks, an increasing number of congressional members have contacted the administration requesting action. Just last week, Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman jointly made such a request.

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

 

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USW: Rules of Origin Provision “Critical” in NAFTA Renegotiations http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-rules-of-origin-provision-critical-in-nafta-renegotiations Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-rules-of-origin-provision-critical-in-nafta-renegotiations CONTACT: Wayne Ranick: (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

The United Steelworkers union (USW) released the attached document today identifying its position on rules of origin in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations.  

Rules of origin are a critical part of the renegotiations and identify the percentage of content that must be included in products to be eligible for trade benefits. 

News reports indicate that NAFTA negotiators will begin addressing this topic at the next round of negotiations which takes place Sept. 23-27.

The existing NAFTA rules of origin were negotiated more than a quarter century ago and do not reflect current economic reality and sourcing patterns.

The current rules allow for significant amounts of content from outside of North America to be included in a product but still be eligible for the trade agreements’ benefits. Other countries, like China, have been able to ship increasing amounts of products into North America to the detriment of production and employment in North America.

The attached proposal would strengthen the rules and ensure that a new agreement promote growth and opportunity for those covered by the agreement.

To read the USW’s proposal, click here.

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

 

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USW Statement on DACA Termination http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-statement-on-daca-termination Wed, 06 Sep 2017 06:01:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-statement-on-daca-termination CONTACT: Wayne Ranick: (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) --The following statement was issued today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the administration would terminate in six months the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that suspended deportation of young people brought to the United States by parents who did not have documentation.

“Deporting young people brought to the United States by parents lacking proper documentation to immigrate is punishing the child for the dreams of the parents. The vast majority contribute positively to our economy, our national defense and respond to natural disasters such as Harvey.

“A huge proportion of the 800,000 young people who qualified for DACA status were transported to the United States by parents who were desperate for work after losing family farms because of NAFTA or who were terrorized by drug gangs and other violence in their home countries. DACA protected these young people from being deported for decisions made by their parents, decisions that were utterly out of the children’s control.

“To spare from deportation these 800,000 young people who trusted the government enough to provide their names, addresses and other identifying information, Congress now must quickly act to enshrine in law the protections DACA provided.

“Like the AFL-CIO, the USW supports comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for these youngsters and their hard-working parents, some of whom are USW members. If a comprehensive agreement is impossible, Congress must quickly find a way to adopt a narrower measure to protect the DACA recipients.”

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

 

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USW: High Level of Union Approval Not Surprising http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-high-level-of-union-approval-not-surprising Thu, 31 Aug 2017 09:58:11 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-high-level-of-union-approval-not-surprising CONTACT: Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) --The following statement was issued today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard following a Gallup poll showing that labor unions have an approval rating of 61 percent, the highest since 2003.

The resurgence of labor union popularity is good news. With a Gallup Poll showing the approval rate for organized labor at 61 percent, unions are much more popular than Congress. This may be because unions get things done.

They increase wages for all workers – union and non-union alike. They work to create safer workplaces. They've campaigned against efforts to suppress voting. And union members in Texas, including members of the United Steelworkers, are actively rescuing flood victims and raising money for restoration of impacted communities.

“It is gratifying to see that the popularity of unions has risen 13 points since 2009, particularly when wealthy, right-wing groups like ALEC and the State Policy Network are working every day to crush unions. The USW, the AFL-CIO and all of its member unions will continue working to end income inequality and improve the lives of all workers by ensuring they receive a fair share of the bounty created by their labor."

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

 

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USW Members Overwhelmingly Approve Goodyear Contract http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-members-overwhelmingly-approve-goodyear-contract Thu, 24 Aug 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-members-overwhelmingly-approve-goodyear-contract More information, contact: Kevin Johnsen – (205) 631-0137; kjohnsen@usw.org
                                              Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

 

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the members of Locals 2L, 12L, 307L, 831L and 959L have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company on behalf of about 7,200 workers at tire plants in Akron, Ohio; Danville, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; and Topeka, Kan., by a three-to-one margin.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the union’s Goodyear negotiations, credited workers’ solidarity throughout the bargaining process for a contract that achieved the goals the membership identified as important.

“We were able to negotiate the best contract in recent memory because our membership was united, and from the outset, our priorities were clear,” Conway said. “We are always strongest when we speak with one voice, and we proved once again that we can accomplish great things when we stand together.”

The five-year contract includes significant wage improvements, retains Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), closes gaps between labor grade tiers and extends plant protection guarantees that none of the plants will close during the term of the agreement.

The contract also includes a commitment from Goodyear to invest in the future of the facilities to enhance the long term job security of the union workforce; maintains quality, affordable healthcare; and resolves a variety of local issues.

USW-Goodyear Contract Coordinator Kevin Johnsen, a Staff Representative in District 9, praised the local union leadership for keeping everyone on the same page, even when bargaining progress was slow.

“Our leadership earned the faith and trust of our members by communicating truthfully and regularly during negotiations,” Johnsen said. “The local union officers, bargaining committee members and volunteer activists deserve tremendous credit for stepping up and delivering support when we needed it.”

The newly ratified agreement will expire at 6 p.m. on July 29, 2022.

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 Statement on Violence in Charlottesville http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-statement-on-violence-in-charlottesville Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:44:01 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-statement-on-violence-in-charlottesville (Pittsburgh) --The following statement was issued today by Fred Redmond, United Steelworkers (USW) Vice President for Human Affairs, on the domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

The United Steelworkers (USW) mourns the loss of two Virginia State Troopers and a civilian anti-hate activist in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, and it sends prayers for speedy recovery of the 19 injured.

A fundamental tenet of the labor movement is that an injustice to one is an injustice to all. Based on that principle, the USW condemns racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim bigotry, but even more importantly, the USW denounces hate-motivated violence.

Members of the USW cherish the assertion in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The USW believes that all Americans are obligated in these troubled times to deeply consider those words from the nation’s founders, to practice them in our lives and to truly listen to each other as we discuss our duties and responsibilities to each other as humans and Americans. 

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

 

 

 

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USW Promises to Continue Solidarity on 10th Anniversary of Mineros Strike http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-promises-to-continue-solidarity-on-10th-anniversary-of-mineros-strike Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:10:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-promises-to-continue-solidarity-on-10th-anniversary-of-mineros-strike (PITTSBURGH) – The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement from USW International President Leo W. Gerard on the 10th anniversary of strikes launched by the Mexican miners and metalworkers union Los Mineros at three Grupo Mexico locations.

“On July 30, members of Los Mineros, the mining, steel and manufacturing workers’ union of Mexico led by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, will mark the 10th anniversary of their strike against Grupo Mexico at three locations: Cananea, Sombrerete, and Taxco.

“The strike began in 2007 when the company, supported by the Mexican government, attempted to remove Gómez from the union leadership and gut the union’s collective bargaining agreements. At other Grupo Mexico locations, the company was able to break the Mineros and install company-controlled ‘protection’ unions, but workers at Cananea, Sombrerete, and Taxco have continued to resist thanks to the support of their fellow union members and their families over the past decade.

“Grupo Mexico has continued its effort to suppress democratic unions. At Cananea, the company installed a puppet union, the CTM, in 2010 after an armed assault on the Mineros by 4,000 military and police backed by helicopters. Since that date, workers have continued to die as a result of health and safety violations, and nearly three years ago on August 6, 2014, the company released millions of gallons of toxic mine waste into the Sonora River, poisoning local communities.

“The Mineros and local residents have continued to fight back, demanding that the company pay for the damage to the environment as well as profit-sharing payments that are owed to Mineros members. Likewise, workers in Taxco and Sombrerete have fiercely resisted the company's attempts to buy them off or force them out.

“At mines, mills, and factories across Mexico, the government has assisted employers to fight Mineros organizing campaigns and bargaining demands, denying workers the right to free elections to choose their union and using violence to break strikes. The government has refused to allow the leader of the Mineros, Napoleón Gómez, to enter the country, continuing to file spurious criminal charges against him even after he was cleared by the highest court in 2014.

“Despite these attacks, the Mineros have continued to organize new members, launch strikes, and win the highest wage increases of any workers in Mexico.

“Grupo Mexico has also disregarded the rights of USW members at Asarco in Arizona and Texas, who have been working without a wage increase since 2009. The company has refused to pay copper bonuses to employees hired after June 30, 2011. Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board has issued several unfair labor practice charges against the company. The USW continues to fight for a fair and equitable contract for its members.

“Led by USW District 12, the Steelworkers and Workers Uniting have stood with our Mineros sisters and brothers for the past decade, working together to build cross-border solidarity in defense of workers’ rights and in support of local communities. We will continue this solidarity – one day longer – until justice is won.

“On Aug. 16, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will begin discussions on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Unions from all three countries have demanded that any new agreement include an effective and enforceable mechanism to prevent violations of workers' fundamental rights to organize, bargain, and strike.

“One thing is clear – we can never support or accept a trade agreement that permits attacks on the rights of workers and the welfare of communities such as those committed by the Mexican government and Grupo Mexico over the past decade.” 

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

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USW to Trump: the time to act is now http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/the-time-to-act-is-now Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:02:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/the-time-to-act-is-now CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384 

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement in response to news reports that President Trump has decided to delay action in support of the domestic steel industry under Section 232 of U.S. trade law. Section 232 provides the President with significant authority to impose penalties if he determines that imports of a specific product such as steel undermine U.S. national security.

“Delay is devastating. Since the President announced an investigation in April, attacks on the U.S. steel sector have skyrocketed, with imports up 18%. Trading partners have targeted the U.S. market for fear that the United States will finally stand up for its producers and workers and protect our national security. Postponing relief is equivalent to unilateral disarmament.

“Trading relationships in the steel sector are complex. But enough time, attention and investigation have passed to know what needs to be done. Steel, the foundation of our national security, is crumbling under the onslaught of foreign imports. Much of that is illegally traded.  

“Workers’ hopes were raised during the campaign and by the President’s announcement. They are sick and tired of Washington politicians saying they care, and dragging their feet.

“The time to act is now.”

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newport News, Va. – United Steelworkers (USW) Local 8888 has reached a tentative agreement with Huntington Ingalls Industries on a new collective bargaining agreement covering Newport News Shipbuilding employees.
 
The proposed contract includes a signing bonus; improves wages and pensions; features contract language that bolsters promotional opportunities; and preserves quality, affordable health insurance for union members and their families.
 
“We knew going into these negotiations that we were in for a tough fight,” said USW International Vice President (Human Affairs) Fred Redmond, who chaired the union’s negotiations with Newport News. “The political stalemate in Washington over the budget, uncertainty about future contracts with the Navy, coupled with rampant health care inflation and risk, created a challenging environment to bargain a decent contract for our members.”
 
“We prevailed because we were prepared and never wavered from our objectives,” Redmond said.
 
Local 8888 President Arnold Outlaw echoed Redmond’s remarks.
 
“Our bargaining committee held strong, and we were supported every step of the way by Fred and our outstanding International staff,” Outlaw said. “We resisted company efforts to deny our members a pay raise in the first year of the contract.”
 
“We looked out for members stuck in certain pay grades,” he said. “We rolled back health insurance premiums, and indeed, we rocked the boat with this contract!”
 
The Local 8888 bargaining committee has recommended ratification of the new pact. The union will hold a secret ballot vote for members to ratify or reject the proposed contract later this week.
 
USW Local 8888 represents 9,700 workers at the shipyard. The proposed agreement was finalized less than 48 hours before the current contract would have expired at midnight July 9, 2017, and members got their first detailed report on the tentative agreement Sunday afternoon at a members-only meeting at the Hampton University Convocation Center.
 
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in manufacturing, metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
 
 
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USW Endorses Graham for Governor of Florida http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-endorses-graham-for-governor-of-florida Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:37:50 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/usw-endorses-graham-for-governor-of-florida CONTACT: USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo - (205) 607-9055

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. USW District 12 includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NAFTA Renegotiations Must Lead to More Jobs, Higher Pay and Better Future for all Workers http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/nafta-renegotiations-must-lead-to-more-jobs-higher-pay-and-better-future-for-all-workers Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2017/nafta-renegotiations-must-lead-to-more-jobs-higher-pay-and-better-future-for-all-workers CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

CONTACT: Robin Sowards (607) 280-7562

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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