United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2020-03-26 15:22:56 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW Urges Congress to Build on Efforts to Aid American Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-urges-congress-to-build-on-efforts-to-aid-american-workers Thu, 26 Mar 2020 15:22:56 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-urges-congress-to-build-on-efforts-to-aid-american-workers Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) today applauded the bipartisan effort to pass a coronavirus stimulus package through the U.S. Senate and called on members of both congressional chambers to continue this effort to ensure that no workers are left behind in the face of the growing pandemic and its economic fallout.

The USW praised the bill for protecting jobs in vulnerable industries and providing expanded unemployment assistance, aid to small businesses, rebates to taxpayers, and funding for the U.S. health care system to treat and test patients and research vaccines, among other relief measures.

“The stimulus measure that the Senate passed yesterday is a significant improvement over the original Republican proposal, which would have provided a blank check for handouts to corporations with too little oversight, while not doing enough to help struggling workers and families,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “In particular, the expansion of unemployment payments is essential in this time of uncertainty, as jobless claims surge to historic levels. American workers must not be left behind.”

The USW said Congress must now demand new workplace safety standards and additional funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as increased production of personal protective equipment to make sure workers who are still on the job, especially health care workers and other first responders, can stay healthy.

In addition, the union urged lawmakers to guarantee that all Americans receive health care regardless of their employment status and to shore up pension funds to ensure retirement security.

“This must be one of many measures to protect workers. Too many Americans are still worried - about their health, the health of their families, about losing their jobs, or about how they are going to pay their bills in the coming weeks and months. These are the people Congress must always put first, not corporate executives and Wall Street millionaires,” Conway said.

The USW also said Congress must do more to ensure that paid sick and family leave is available to all workers who need it, and must remain vigilant so that companies don’t use the crisis as an excuse to exploit workers.

“Congress must continue to use its oversight to make sure companies don’t use this bailout as a means to enhance their bottom lines or line CEOs’ pockets. This money should be used to preserve and enhance the future for workers,” Conway said. “In addition, no American should wonder how they are going to care for themselves or their families during this pandemic. Barriers for patients must be removed, and costs must be kept to a minimum.”

The USW called on the House to quickly pass the bill and the president to sign it. The union also said Congress may need to provide additional stimulus payments in the future.

“This is going to be an ongoing crisis, and its economic effects will be long and far-reaching,” Conway said. “Congress will need to continue to make certain that the long-term effects of this pandemic don’t leave American workers and families to continue to struggle.”

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.

]]>
USW Calls on Congress to Continue Strict Enforcement of Trade Rules https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-calls-on-congress-to-continue-strict-enforcement-of-trade-rules Thu, 26 Mar 2020 12:07:54 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-calls-on-congress-to-continue-strict-enforcement-of-trade-rules Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) today sent a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate urging them to ensure that strict enforcement of fair trade measures continues despite the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the world.

“The USW strongly urges Congress and the Administration to not undermine existing trade enforcement authorities such as 301, 232 or traditional anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders,” USW International President Thomas M. Conway wrote. “Efforts to revoke or repeal such relief measures or delay duty collection could very well have a devastating impact on workers struggling to simply survive.”

Measures such as the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have provided American workers and manufacturers with stability, and relaxing enforcement of such duties during this crisis would take that away when it is most needed, Conway said.

“Our members have seen the importance that tariff relief can mean,” Conway wrote. “Plants have restarted, businesses have reinvested and turned a profit and American workers were able to bring home a living wage.”

Conway also pointed out that previous economic crises have led to a surge of imports and job losses, and cautioned against allowing the coronavirus outbreak to have the same result.

“Importers and their trade associations want Congress to overlook the significant record of illegal acts conducted by foreign companies and states to hurt American jobs,” Conway wrote. “Our union stands strongly against these measures.”

For the full text of the letter visit: http://usw.to/37b.

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

]]>
USW: U.S. Virus Response Must Do More to Protect All Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-u-s-virus-response-must-do-more-to-protect-all-workers Fri, 20 Mar 2020 16:10:47 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-u-s-virus-response-must-do-more-to-protect-all-workers Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act a good first step in the effort to contain the disease and support struggling workers, but said that more action is needed to protect the health and economic well-being of Americans.

“Passage of this bill was important and necessary, but it doesn’t come close to solving all of the problems that workers and families will be facing in the coming weeks and months,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “There are too many loopholes that companies could exploit, and too many Americans who could end up left behind to fend for themselves.

“Congress must continue to work to provide support and relief for everyone affected by this pandemic, no matter where they live or where they work.”

For example, the measure provides for paid sick and family leave for workers, but that stipulation only applies to workplaces with more than 50 but less than 500 employees.

“The paid sick leave requirement has the potential to leave millions of workers – including some in the areas of health care and emergency response – with no option for paid sick or family leave. This is simply unacceptable,” Conway said. 

“This is just the beginning of what must be an ongoing effort to support working people. Congress is already debating further measures to address this crisis, and as they do they must be sure to cover every worker in every workplace,” Conway said. “Any upcoming pieces of legislation must close the loopholes that leave essential workers without paid time off, and must ensure that any relief provided to corporations be used for the benefit of workers, and not exploited by wealthy executives for their own personal gain.

“This is an international crisis unlike any we’ve seen in generations, and it’s going to require a response coordinated across party lines, across borders, across the traditional labor-management divide,” Conway said. “We must all stand together and put the needs of workers and families first, and we will emerge from this stronger than ever.”

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.

]]>
USW’s Conway Calls on Congress to Support Steel Industry, Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usws-conway-calls-on-congress-to-support-steel-industry-workers Thu, 05 Mar 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usws-conway-calls-on-congress-to-support-steel-industry-workers Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway joined top executives from U.S. steelmakers on Thursday in testifying before the Congressional Steel Caucus to seek continued support from lawmakers for the American steel industry and its workers.

The first step is to ensure that American workers are competing on a fair playing field with overseas competitors, Conway said. While the Section 232 tariffs that took effect in March 2018 aided the industry in the short term, more consistent support for fair trade from Washington is necessary to ensure the industry remains on a long-term, sustainable course, Conway said.

“We need to work with our allies to secure multi-lateral disciplines to reduce steel overcapacity and sanction bad actors,” he said. “Steel remains vital to our economy and our national security.”

Besides fair trade, another key to maintaining a vibrant domestic steel industry, Conway said, is ensuring consistent, strong demand for its products. Congress can spur that demand by making much-needed investments in the nation’s infrastructure and transportation systems and ensuring that such projects come with Buy America provisions.

“It is unfortunate that for all the rhetoric about the need to improve domestic infrastructure there has been a continued stumbling off the blocks by Congress and the administration,” he said.

The $760 billion Moving Forward Framework unveiled last month by House Democrats could create 10 million jobs, help mitigate climate change and ensure that American manufacturers have a reliable network for use in shipping their products around the world.

“If we are going to share our energy resources with the world, our workers need to share in the benefits by providing the materials needed for transport of these vital commodities,” Conway said.

Conway also cautioned lawmakers on the increase in automation in the industry, which he said allows companies to produce more steel with fewer workers, putting jobs at risk. 

“These workers cannot be cast aside like equipment,” Conway told the Congressional panel. “Lawmakers must work with labor to ensure a strong and vital manufacturing workforce for our current and future economies.”

Joining Conway in testifying Thursday were industry executives John Brett of ArcelorMittal USA, Rich Fruehauf of U.S. Steel, Lourenco Goncalves of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., Leon Topalian of Nucor, Jim Charmley of Bull Moose Tube, Barbara R. Smith of Commercial Metals Co., and David Zalesne of Owen Steel Co.

For the full text of Conway’s remarks, click here.

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

]]>
USW Commemorates Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote, Continues Fight for Gender Equality https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-commemorates-centennial-of-womens-right-to-vote-continues-fight-for-gender-equality Tue, 03 Mar 2020 11:44:07 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-commemorates-centennial-of-womens-right-to-vote-continues-fight-for-gender-equality Contact: Cheyenne Schoen, cschoen@usw.org, 412-562-2446

(Pittsburgh, Pa.) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union issued the following statement today in honor of International Women’s Day:

The USW today affirms its commitment to advancing equality in workplaces and communities across the world, as it marks both International Women’s Day and 100 years since the 19th Amendment granted American women the right to vote.

The USW recognizes that labor unions have an important role to play in the continued fight against discrimination, wage inequality and gender-based violence. 

“It is 2020, and our country is still grappling with a pernicious pay gap,” said USW International Vice President Roxanne Brown. “A woman is paid just 81 cents for every dollar paid to a man, and that number is even lower for women of color. 

“On top of that, women are consistently over-represented in low-wage and vulnerable employment positions, while their skills and talents are often under-utilized.” 

Unions offer women access to more predictable schedules, fair pay and quality health insurance, but broader legislation is necessary to create a cultural shift. Advancements such as paid parental leave, protections against workplace violence and stronger, more easily enforced labor laws are vital if the United States is going to achieve gender equality. 

“In November, thanks to the brave protestors who led the battle for women’s suffrage, we will have a say in the future of America,” said USW Vice President Leeann Foster. “Our union will continue to support legislation and representatives who fight for the dignity and respect of women and all vulnerable communities.”

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.

]]>
Point Park Staff Ratify New Contract https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/point-park-staff-ratify-new-contract Mon, 10 Feb 2020 16:07:05 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/point-park-staff-ratify-new-contract Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1088 voted today to ratify a new three-year contract with Point Park University covering clerical workers at the downtown Pittsburgh school.

The agreement includes an immediate 2.75 percent wage increase for 2020 plus a lump-sum bonus. It also ensures wage increases for the next two years, which protects members of the bargaining unit from potential wage freezes during this time.

The workers also won increased vacation benefits and an improved grievance procedure.

Damon Di Cicco, president of USW Local 1088, said the agreement is an important victory for Point Park’s clerical workers, who only became USW members last year and had not seen a raise since 2017.

“These workers are instrumental to the success of the university and play a key role in furthering its mission to educate and empower Point Park students,” said Di Cicco. “This contract is an important step in recognizing their contributions and hard work that make Point Park University strong.

“We were excited to welcome this unit into our union last April, and we’re proud that we were able to negotiate a fair contract together.”

The agreement comes just months after 340 part-time faculty members at Point Park, also represented by the USW, signed a contract which included wage increases and other improvements.

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

]]>
USW Applauds House Passage of Workers’ Rights Bill https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-applauds-house-passage-of-workers-rights-bill Fri, 07 Feb 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-applauds-house-passage-of-workers-rights-bill Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

PITTSBURGH (Feb. 6) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today lauded the bipartisan passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and called on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass the legislation to expand workers’ rights.

“Workers have the right to join together to improve their lives on the job, and the PRO Act will make sure that fundamental right is protected,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “Too often, companies bully and intimidate workers to keep unions out and face little to no punishment, even in cases when they break the law.

“Under the PRO Act, companies will face real consequences for their behavior, and workers will be able to choose for themselves - without interference - whether they want to join a union.”

The bill (H.R. 2474), introduced last year by Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, would represent a major step forward for workers’ rights and would restore a number of protections in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which corporations and anti-union lawmakers have slowly eroded over the years.

“For too long, we’ve seen workers’ wages stagnating and benefits being cut, while productivity, corporate profits and CEO pay keep increasing,” said Eduardo Placencio, a member of USW Local 937, who attended today’s vote and whose local is engaged in an unfair labor practice strike against Tucson, Ariz.-based mining company Asarco. “This is no accident. The PRO Act will reverse these trends and help rebuild the American middle class.”

The House passed the bill by a vote of 224 to 194. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced the Senate version of the legislation (S.1306) in May.

“So many politicians in Washington, including President Trump and members of the Senate, got elected by promising to stand up for workers,” Conway said. “Now we will find out if that was all just talk. The Senate should quickly pass the PRO Act, and the president should sign it. It’s time to take some of the power out of the hands of corporate America and Wall Street and give it back to working Americans.”

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.

]]>
USW Vice President Urges Investment in Infrastructure https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-vice-president-urges-investment-in-infrastructure Thu, 06 Feb 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-vice-president-urges-investment-in-infrastructure Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 6) – United Steelworkers (USW) International Vice President at Large Roxanne Brown testified today before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade, advocating for increased investments and upgrades in U.S. ports, highways, bridges, railways and air cargo facilities as a means to increase exports and grow the economy.

“Every delay from inadequate infrastructure undermines worker productivity and allows for our global competitors to reap the benefit,” Brown told the committee. “We strongly urge Congress to increase the country’s role in the transportation infrastructure necessary to get our ships and goods across the globe.”

The hearing, titled “Trade Infrastructure for Global Competitiveness,” came one week after House Democrats unveiled their “Moving Forward Framework,” a 5-year plan to invest $760 billion in the nation’s infrastructure.

That plan, Brown said, could spur 10 million jobs, reduce greenhouse gasses and jump-start the nation’s economy, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

“American manufacturing should be the first priority in an effort to improve export infrastructure facilitation,” Brown said. “Our nation needs massive public investment in rebuilding our crumbling and overburdened roads, bridges, rail lines, ports and more.”

Investments in transportation improvements not only would lead to an increase in exports, but also would create jobs in manufacturing for workers who make the steel, concrete and other materials needed for the upgrades, as well as the ships and other vehicles needed to carry cargo to its destination.

“If we are going to share our energy resources with the world,” Brown said, “our workers need to share in the benefits by providing the materials needed for transport of the vital commodities.”

To read Brown’s full testimony to the House subcommittee, visit http://usw.to/35m.

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.

]]>
USW Calls On Trump to Prioritize Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-calls-on-trump-to-prioritize-workers Tue, 04 Feb 2020 14:35:24 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-calls-on-trump-to-prioritize-workers Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org  

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement today in advance of President Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address.     

“As President Trump prepares to address the nation, it is imperative that he prioritize working people.

“One of the most direct ways he can do this is by supporting the PRO Act, which is currently under consideration in the House. The PRO Act will help tip the balance of power back toward workers and away from greedy corporations by making it easier for workers to organize and harder for employers to retaliate against workers who stand up for themselves. 

“Labor rights have been eroding in our country for decades, and this badly needed legislation is a crucial part of combatting out-of-control economic inequality. President Trump should not only come out in favor of it, but encourage Senate leaders to do the same.

“The president should also back a significant investment in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Improving our roads, bridges, water pipelines and other public assets will create thousands of good jobs and lead to sustainable economic growth in communities throughout the United States.

“House Democrats have already announced a plan for large-scale infrastructure upgrades, providing an opportunity for the president to reach across the aisle and fulfill a campaign promise.

“The president also has a responsibility to stand up to members of his own party who want to shred the social safety net. This includes those who want to cut badly needed programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, as well as those who are intent on rolling back important provisions in the Affordable Care Act like protections for people with preexisting conditions.    

“Working people deserve a leader who puts their needs first, someone who understands that they are entitled to a dignified retirement, affordable health care, a sound infrastructure, and a voice on the job. We urge the president to embrace these obligations.”   

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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

 

]]>
USW Celebrates Black History Month https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-celebrates-black-history-month Tue, 04 Feb 2020 12:40:26 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-celebrates-black-history-month Contact: Chelsey Engel, 412-562-1178, cengel@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union Vice President Fred Redmond released the following statement in honor of Black History Month:

“Black History Month offers us an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives and legacies of the many Black people who have worked tirelessly for justice and equality. This becomes even more poignant this year, in the midst of a high-stakes presidential election.

“Many Black Americans were subjected to a host of indignities in order to vote, and many even lost their lives in this fight. We honor those who have come before us by continuing their work, and by ensuring that the gains they made are not lost. As we mark Black History Month, we must protect and participate in our democracy, exercising our right to vote so that their struggles were not in vain.

“This Black History Month, we honor those who fought for us by making our voices heard at the ballot box and ensuring everyone is able to cast their vote.”

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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

]]>
USW Members Urge Bost to Support Workers’ Rights Bill https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-members-urge-bost-to-support-workers-rights-bill Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:11:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-members-urge-bost-to-support-workers-rights-bill Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (Jan. 29) – A group of United Steelworkers (USW) union members from the Granite City area today delivered a letter to U.S. Rep. Mike Bost seeking the Congressman’s support for a workers’ rights bill currently under consideration in the U.S. House.

The letter, written by USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap, urged Bost to support the proposed legislation, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474), which would remove unnecessary and overly burdensome barriers to union organizing and establish stronger penalties for companies that illegally block unionizing drives.

“This bipartisan piece of legislation remedies the inequality and exploitation of workers and helps to secure their rightful voices in the workplace,” Millsap wrote in the letter. “The PRO Act ensures worker access to justice.” 

The legislation, introduced last year by Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, would represent a major step forward for workers’ rights and would restore a number of worker protections contained in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which corporations and anti-union lawmakers have slowly eroded over the years.

“The correlation between inequality and federal policy decisions which have stripped workers of their collective power cannot be emphasized enough,” wrote Millsap, who represents thousands of USW members in the states of Illinois and Indiana. “The PRO Act pulls away from decades of exploitation, unsafe working conditions, stagnant wages, and benefits.”

The House Education and Labor Committee passed the PRO Act (H.R. 2474) in September 2019, and the full House is expected to debate and vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

To read the full letter, visit the following link: http://usw.to/359.

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.

]]>
USW Members Urge Stauber to Support Workers’ Rights Bill https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-members-urge-stauber-to-support-workers-rights-bill Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:55:11 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-members-urge-stauber-to-support-workers-rights-bill Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

A group of United Steelworkers (USW) union members from across Minnesota’s Iron Range met today with officials from U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber’s office to urge the Congressman to support a workers’ rights bill currently under consideration in the U.S. House.

The proposed legislation, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474), would remove unnecessary and overly burdensome barriers to union organizing and establish stronger penalties for companies that illegally block unionizing drives.

“Polls show that more than half of non-unionized workers would join unions tomorrow if they had the chance,” said USW Local 2660 President Dan Pierce, who has worked for nearly 20 years at U.S. Steel’s Keewatin Taconite (Keetac) operation in Keewatin, Minn.

“The problem is that too often companies bully and intimidate and otherwise block the efforts of well-meaning workers who simply want a voice in their workplaces,” Pierce said. “The PRO Act would change all of that and give workers the chance to make up their own minds.”

The legislation, introduced last year by Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, would represent a major step forward for workers’ rights and would restore a number of worker protections contained in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which corporations and anti-union lawmakers have slowly eroded over the years.

“Every worker deserves a voice in their workplace, and every worker deserves fair treatment, good wages, quality health care and a secure retirement,” said USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, who represents workers in nine states, including Minnesota. “The PRO Act will level a playing field that for too long has been tilted in favor of big corporations. This bill will give power back to the families on Main Street instead of Wall Street.”

The House Education and Labor Committee passed the PRO Act (H.R. 2474) in September 2019, and the full House is expected to debate and vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

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.

]]>
USW: Work Ahead to Ensure USMCA Improvements https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-work-ahead-to-ensure-usmca-improvements Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:04:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-work-ahead-to-ensure-usmca-improvements Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org  

 

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement today after President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).     

“The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a disaster for American workers. As corporations outsourced jobs and production to Mexico, good, family-sustaining manufacturing jobs disappeared, hollowing out communities and dragging down middle-class wages.

“The USW opposed NAFTA from the outset. Our members understand as well as anyone the devastating consequences of bad trade deals and have been among those hardest hit as greedy corporations shift their operations away from the United States and Canada.

“The original USMCA, which the administration negotiated in 2018, was inadequate and left workers in all three countries vulnerable.

“The labor community and its Democratic allies, especially Sens. Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, worked tirelessly to remedy the first version of the USMCA and were successful in addressing the most pressing concerns, including enforcement mechanisms to hold Mexico accountable to its new labor laws.

“Thanks to the improvements we fought for and won, this USMCA is significantly better than the original, and the USW supports it. It was the product of compromise. It’s far from perfect, but leaving the original NAFTA in place was not an option.

“There is still a great deal of work to do, however, to ensure that corporations stop exploiting workers in their quest for larger and larger profits. For all who supported this agreement, the work is just beginning to ensure it lives up to all its promises.  

“Mexico must honor its commitment to improving labor conditions, which will require devoting proper resources and attention to enforcing its labor laws. The United States and Canada must also be vigilant in ensuring that workers’ rights are a top priority.

“The U.S. government must further support other policies that will combat rampant economic inequality and level the playing field for working people. This includes a commitment to affordable health care, retirement security, infrastructure investment, a healthy environment and stronger labor protections in the United States. 

“The new USMCA will only be an improvement if there is a shared commitment to helping workers in all three countries. While this deal does not erase the legacy of NAFTA, it offers us a new starting point in our approach to international trade. We will have to build on it to make certain trade agreements promote, rather than undermine, the interests of working people.”  

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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

 

]]>
USW Remains Committed to Saving PES Jobs https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-remains-committed-to-saving-pes-jobs Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:46:40 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-remains-committed-to-saving-pes-jobs Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org 

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement today in response to reports that Industrial Realty Group (IRG) has teamed up with former Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) CEO Philip Rinaldi to reintroduce IRG’s bid and potentially resume operations at the shuttered refinery.     

“More than 600 hard-working USW members lost their jobs when PES shut its doors last year. Our members’ prospects for returning to good jobs will be dashed if the refinery site is sold to parties that would redevelop the property for other uses.

“Since the start of PES’s bankruptcy last summer, the union has remained committed to finding a bidder who wants to continue the refinery as a going concern and employ our members.

“To this end, we have been in contact with every key stakeholder, including Philip Rinaldi as well as Peter Navarro, the assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy. 

“Our members know better than anyone that resuming operations won’t be easy. But, the dedication of USW members in Philadelphia will be indispensable to those efforts. We look forward to working with any employer who shares our commitment to keeping the refinery open and preserving good, family-sustaining jobs.” 

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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

]]>
USW Sues EPA to Save Chemical Disaster Rule https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-sues-epa-to-save-chemical-disaster-rule Thu, 09 Jan 2020 09:17:42 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-sues-epa-to-save-chemical-disaster-rule Contact: Joe Smydo, jsmydo@usw.org, 412-562-2281

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that it filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s decision to gut a regulation intended to prevent chemical disasters and save lives.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) capitulated to industry demands by rescinding crucial provisions of the Chemical Disaster Rule that bolstered EPA’s Risk Management Program regulations, including requirements that companies take commonsense actions to prevent foreseeable catastrophic incidents.

“Eliminating these requirements will allow a profit-hungry industry to police itself while putting workers, first responders and the public at risk,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “The USW spent years advocating for the Chemical Disaster Rule. Thousands of our members signed petitions imploring the EPA not to gut it. Now, we’re going to court to protect our members and our communities.”

The USW’s lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to implement the Chemical Disaster Rule as the EPA originally wrote it, before the current administration took office.

The USW and other safety advocates called for stronger regulation following a string of deadly incidents, including the 2005 fire and explosions at BP’s Texas City, Texas, oil refinery that killed 15 contractors, and the 2010 fire and blast at Tesoro’s Anacortes, Wash., refinery that killed a supervisor and six workers represented by the USW.

Recent incidents at USW facilities subject to Risk Management Program requirements demonstrate that U.S. workers and their communities still urgently need the full protections of the Chemical Disaster Rule. In June, USW members’ quick thinking prevented a catastrophic amount of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid from escaping into the community during a fire and explosions at Philadelphia Energy Solutions. In November, explosions at a TPC chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes and threatened the livelihoods of USW members at the facility.

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.

###

]]>
USW Local 5114 Ratifies Agreement to End Lucky Friday Strike https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-local-5114-ratifies-agreement-to-end-lucky-friday-strike Wed, 08 Jan 2020 11:53:02 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2020/usw-local-5114-ratifies-agreement-to-end-lucky-friday-strike CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592 or tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the members of Local 5114 in Mullan, Idaho, have ratified an agreement to resolve their strike at Hecla Mining Company’s (NYSE: HL) Lucky Friday mine.

In secret ballot election, about 200 USW members who began a strike against the company’s unfair labor practices on March 13, 2017, ratified the three-year agreement, reached last month between the union and Hecla management.

USW District 12 Director Gaylan Prescott praised the members and officers of Local 5114 for standing together for close to three years to demand a fair contract.

“For nearly three years, our solidarity has been tested,” Prescott said. “We are proud of their unity and resolve, which will serve as an example for all of organized 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.


]]>
USW Members Approve Contract Covering 9,400 WestRock Workers https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-approve-contract-covering-9400-westrock-workers Fri, 20 Dec 2019 09:18:06 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-approve-contract-covering-9400-westrock-workers Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union approved a new four-year master agreement with WestRock that sets standards for wages, benefits and working conditions for more than 9,400 union workers at 62 facilities across 26 U.S. states.

WestRock is the second-largest packaging company in the United States and one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies, operating in more than 30 countries.

The contract includes annual wage increases totaling nearly 10 percent over the four-year term, preserves affordable health care coverage, enhances retirement benefits, and improves health and safety provisions.

“The USW’s bargaining committee, consisting of local union leaders from every location and international leaders, entered these negotiations knowing that we were facing a number of challenges,” said USW International Vice President Leeann Foster, who oversees bargaining in the union’s paper sector. “These challenges included the company’s proposals, but also overcapacity in the board market, a shaky economic outlook, especially in manufacturing, and related falling box demand. All of these factors combined to create uncertainty.”

“Through the strength and solidarity of the members in an over year-long campaign involving all locations, we achieved a package with no concessions, no givebacks, only gains. In short, we achieved security for our members,” Foster said. “Our members stood together nationally and our local leaders joined together at one bargaining table and spoke with one united voice to win a fair agreement.”

The contract, which runs through 2023, covers workers at WestRock paper mills, converting and merchandising display facilities in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

“This contract sets a standard for the industry – it positions the company to succeed and invest in our facilities while making sure that workers, families and communities continue to share in that success,” Foster said.

The USW 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.

]]>
USW Sues Alcoa to Retain Retiree Life Insurance Benefits https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-sues-alcoa-to-retain-retiree-life-insurance-benefits Thu, 19 Dec 2019 16:08:47 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-sues-alcoa-to-retain-retiree-life-insurance-benefits CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444   

The United Steelworkers (USW) today filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana to protest Alcoa USA Corporation’s terminating life insurance benefits for approximately 8,900 union-represented retirees.

Alcoa informed the retirees by letter on Dec. 4 that it would eliminate life insurance coverage effective Dec. 31, 2019.  The company included with the letter a check equal to a fraction of the face value of their life insurance coverage and a federal 1099 tax form, since the payment would be taxable.

“We negotiated these retiree life insurance benefits with the company, and they are a critical part of our collective bargaining agreements with Alcoa,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “The company agreed to provide these benefits. Abruptly cutting off this coverage is not only immoral, it’s unlawful.”

“Families rely on the contractual death benefit to assist with funeral and other expenses,” said Mike Millsap, Director of USW District 7 and chair of the USW’s Alcoa bargaining committee. “It is deeply disturbing that Alcoa would show so little respect for its retirees, many of whom devoted decades of work helping the company grow and thrive.”

The lawsuit was filed as a class action, and three Alcoa retirees have joined the complaint as proposed class representatives. The Wenatchee Aluminum Trades Council, a coalition of unions representing workers at an Alcoa facility in Washington state, is also a plaintiff.

The union is also studying other announcements that the company made regarding the health care benefits for certain retirees effective in 2021.

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.

]]>
USW Supports Adoption of Improved USMCA https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-supports-adoption-of-improved-usmca Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:26:35 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-supports-adoption-of-improved-usmca Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org  

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement today regarding changes to improve the negotiated U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA).     

“Members of the USW, the largest industrial union in North America, have suffered firsthand the devastating effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The bad trade deal cost countless jobs, ravaged families and communities and pulled down wages as companies have outsourced jobs and production to Mexico. 

“For 26 years, workers have lived with NAFTA as a yoke around their necks, and we have been committed to fixing it.   

“Last fall, the administration, along with the Mexican and Canadian governments, signed an agreement they thought would sail past the labor community. But that agreement, called the USMCA, fell far short of what workers in all three countries needed.   

“Since the negotiations to improve the proposed USMCA began last year, we have been deeply involved in identifying essential changes to help working people, coordinating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats and other key leaders to address significant problems. 

 “The core concern has always been that companies profit by exploiting their workers – here, in Mexico and across the globe. 

“In Mexico, there are hundreds of thousands of so-called ‘protection contracts’ signed by corporations with sham unions that have no regard for the interests, rights or needs of workers. Workers at facilities in Mexico operated by some of the world’s biggest and most profitable corporations are paid only a fraction of what workers get in the United States or Canada for essentially the same work. Workers who have attempted to form democratic unions have faced repression, violence and murder.

 “The original USMCA required changes in Mexican labor law that we supported, as they were clearly better than current law. But the agreement had no clear path to ensure that workers’ rights would be safeguarded.   

“The updated draft agreement now has enforcement provisions that can help make a difference.   There is still a great deal of work to do in terms of implementing, monitoring and enforcing the provisions, but the base for progress is there.

“There were also problematic provisions in the original USMCA that showered U.S. drug companies with huge opportunities for higher monopoly profits. Democrats, working with labor, were able to eliminate this language from the agreement.

“In addition, the labor movement, working with Democrats and other key allies, was also able to beat back portions of the original USMCA that would have jeopardized our ability to protect a sustainable environment.   

“The revised deal is better than the original USMCA and certainly better than NAFTA.  It should be adopted.  The leaders of all three countries must diligently enforce the provisions, however, and we intend to hold them accountable to ensure that workers, the environment and consumers are protected.  

“No one should overplay this agreement’s impact, or underestimate the work that remains to be done. Mexico must devote the money, resources and political will required to implement its commitments. The U.S. and Canadian governments must be active and vigilant in ensuring that companies respect workers’ rights in all of their facilities.

“We also have concerns about definitions of aluminum sourced in North America as they exist in the agreement. We have been on the frontlines protecting jobs in smelting and casting, but leaders of all three countries should be equally invested in this industry.

“Speaker Pelosi, the members of the Democratic Working Group and key leaders such as Sens. Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden deserve our thanks for their efforts and refusal to back down in the face of massive special interest lobbying. Mexican Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia should also be recognized for his key role in facilitating dialogue between the labor movement and the Mexican government.

 “Outsourcing won’t end as companies continue to search the globe for places where they can profit off of the hard work of others, spoil the environment to improve their balance sheets and raise prices for basic needs. The fight for fair trade won’t end with this agreement, but it’s an agreement worth passing.”

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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

]]>
USW Names Prescott as Union’s Director for Western U.S. States https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-names-prescott-as-unions-director-for-western-u-s-states Tue, 10 Dec 2019 10:31:55 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-names-prescott-as-unions-director-for-western-u-s-states Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) Executive Board today announced the appointment of Gaylan Z. Prescott to replace the late Robert LaVenture as director of the USW’s District 12.

A longtime union activist and leader, Prescott had served as the assistant to Director LaVenture since January 2018. LaVenture passed away suddenly on Nov. 13 at the age of 68.

After graduating from high school in his hometown of Kelso, Wash., Prescott earned his EMT certification and spent several years working alongside migrant farmers on a hop and grape ranch.

“I received a true education in the importance of hard work,” Prescott said. 

He then followed in his father’s footsteps, working for nearly 20 years at the former Reynolds Metals Co. aluminum reduction plant in Longview, Wash.

Prescott began his career as a union leader and activist in 1986 when he became a shop steward in the pot rooms at the Reynolds plant. In 1990, he was elected to his first of three terms as president of the Longview Federated Aluminum Council, which represented about 700 workers who belonged to multiple unions throughout the facility.

In 1999, the USW hired Prescott to assist the 2,900 members who were locked out at five Kaiser Aluminum plants in Washington, Ohio and Louisiana, in what would become one of the longest and most contentious work stoppages in the union’s history.

The USW named Prescott a staff representative in December 1999, and named him to oversee District 12’s Sub-District 3 in 2012. The USW’s District 12 includes 11 western U.S. states. 

Prescott said that, though it is impossible to fill the shoes of his predecessor, he looks forward to working throughout the district to enhance direct member-to-member communication and engagement, and to expand educational opportunities for workers, particularly for women and younger members through the USW’s Women of Steel and Next Generation programs.

“Director LaVenture is irreplaceable,” Prescott said. “He was a dear friend, and I was honored that he trusted me to serve as his assistant. He had a real love for the membership, and his dedication to workers was unmatched.”

The USW 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. USW District 12 encompasses the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

]]>