United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-12-10 16:26:35 -0600 AMPS en hourly 1 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.

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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.

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Human Service Workers at Persad Center Vote to Join the USW https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/human-service-workers-at-persad-center-vote-to-join-the-usw Fri, 06 Dec 2019 10:02:17 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/human-service-workers-at-persad-center-vote-to-join-the-usw CONTACT: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, 412-562-2446

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, voted yesterday, December 5, to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union. 

The unit of 24 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last month and filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

“We care about our work and the communities we serve,” said Johanna Smith, Persad’s Development, Communications, and Events Associate. “We strongly believe this work and our connections to our clients will only improve now that we will be represented by a union.”

The Persad workers join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW, especially in the Pittsburgh region. Their membership is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage LGBTQ+ members and improve contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“Workplaces are changing and evolving, and the labor movement is changing and evolving along with that,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee as well as the USW Health Care Workers Council. “This campaign gives us an opportunity to diversify our great union while uplifting and empowering a group of workers who give their all for others.”

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

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USW Stands with Workers against Discrimination at Tesla https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-stands-with-workers-against-discrimination-at-tesla Tue, 26 Nov 2019 08:52:31 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-stands-with-workers-against-discrimination-at-tesla For Immediate Release: Nov. 26, 2019

More information, contact: Dave Wasiura, (716) 565-1720, dwasiura@usw.org                                       

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today expressed support for workers who have spoken out against racial discrimination and harassment at Tesla’s Buffalo, N.Y., production facility.

USW District 4 Director Del Vitale said that the union shares workers’ frustration with Tesla management’s failure to address widespread complaints from employees in Buffalo and elsewhere.

“Companies that spend considerable time, money and effort to convince the automobile-shopping public that their brand represents progress ought to be leading from the front when it comes to providing an environment free of discrimination in any form,” Vitale said. “Considering how Tesla’s positive image helped secure public funding to build its modern, solar-powered Buffalo plant, the USW is dismayed that employees are experiencing racism.”

Vitale urged Tesla to address specific complaints with urgency and adopt a new approach to ensure all workers are treated with dignity and respect moving forward.

“The USW is proud of its vastly diverse membership throughout North America and its ability to negotiate fair contracts in all of the industries and sectors in which they work,” Vitale said. “For generations, union contracts have been the surest and simplest way to prevent workplace discrimination in all forms, and it remains true today.”

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.

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USW: Chinese Transit Poses National Security Risk https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-chinese-transit-poses-national-security-risk Mon, 25 Nov 2019 13:44:26 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-chinese-transit-poses-national-security-risk The United Steelworkers (USW) stands behind the well-researched and documented work of independent investigators as well as its partner organizations regarding the state-influenced and state-supported transit companies from China. 

The USW is the largest manufacturing union in North America and represents workers throughout the supply chain of every major manufactured product in the country. Whether it is an iron ore miner in Minnesota, a steelworker in Indiana, or a worker engaged in the manufacture of vehicle components, the ability to supply the products that go into our transportation infrastructure in an environmentally sound way is vital for the livelihoods of millions of Americans.

For decades, our union has raised alarms about unfair and predatory trade practices by China and many of its companies. Our union has seen both indirect and direct attacks from a foreign government intent on using mercantilist anti-competitive practices to gain an unfair advantage. More than three million U.S. jobs were lost or displaced because of our massive bilateral trade deficit with China alone. Our union has been cyber attacked by this foreign government intent on economic wins at any cost.

As has been highlighted by several well-researched policy reports, including the most recent by Radarlock, an independent research organization, China’s rolling stock companies are closely tied to a communist government that has set policy goals that treat the clean energy vehicle industry – its incubation, development, and global domination – as a top national priority. The close link between the military and private sector in the People’s Republic of China supports a country tipping the scales against U.S. workers and adversely impacting our country’s security.

That is why our union and our labor management partnership, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), has been supportive of the bipartisan Senate language in the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) modeled after the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act (TIVSA). This important provision prevents federal transit dollars from being used to award a contract or subcontract for the procurement of passenger rail cars or transit buses to Chinese state-owned, controlled or subsidized enterprises.

Unfortunately, some organizations fail to see the national security threat posed by the dismantling of our country’s transportation infrastructure manufacturing base and have decided to take a cynical and short-term view that the only way to win is to surrender economic dominance to a foreign country that actively opposes democratic unions. This is deeply disappointing and is not a position to which our union subscribes.

It is also unnerving that the Chinese sphere of influence has now reached the point that it is affecting U.S. unions and that Chinese attempts to weaken the solidarity of our labor movement appear to be bearing fruit.

However, our union cannot support U.S. tax dollars being directed to companies such as BYD or CRRC that heavily import Chinese content and skirt the intent of Buy America laws with minimal product transformation, displacing American work while putting our national security at risk.

It’s simple: Our members’ mills and manufacturing plants and the millions of unionized building trade man hours spent maintaining those facilities should not be put at risk to import Chinese state-supported and subsidized rail and bus kits for final assembly. Anyone who does not understand this cannot truthfully say they support U.S. manufacturing or national security.

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, health care, and service occupations.

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USW-backed Workplace Violence Bill Passes U.S. House https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-backed-workplace-violence-bill-passes-u-s-house Thu, 21 Nov 2019 14:54:29 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-backed-workplace-violence-bill-passes-u-s-house CONTACT: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, 412-562-2446

After a months-long campaign bolstered by United Steelworkers (USW) activists, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309) reached the floor of the U.S. House today and passed 251-158.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard that requires health care and social service industry employers to develop and implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans.

“Our members mobilized all across the country and across industries to collect more than 80,000 signatures in support of this bill because they know it affects all working people,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “This is how we make progress – by finding common ground and solidarity around issues that impact everyday Americans and making our voices heard.”

Three weeks ago, hundreds of Steelworker activists descended onto Capitol Hill for a legislative conference where they also marched to the Department of Labor to hold a rally in support of the bill. They were joined by several legislative leaders, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), before walking the halls of Congress to speak to their representatives about the legislation.

Workplace violence is the third-leading cause of death on the job, and health care and social service workers are among the most vulnerable. Women are disproportionately affected, with two out of every three serious workplace violence events suffered by women.

“It is past time for these workers to have the protections they need,” said Conway. “We hope Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does what’s best for them, their patients, and their families by bringing this bill to a vote in the Senate, where we believe it will see the same support as it did in the House.”

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, health care, and service occupations.

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USW Drops Lawsuit Opposing Sale of Keystone Cement Plant https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-drops-lawsuit-opposing-sale-of-keystone-cement-plant Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:18:21 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-drops-lawsuit-opposing-sale-of-keystone-cement-plant Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union has dropped its opposition to the proposed $151 million sale of Keystone Cement’s Bath Plant in Northampton County, Pa., to Lehigh Hanson Inc. and issued the following statement:

“Last week, the USW filed a lawsuit regarding the sale of Keystone’s facility, and the union has now filed to dismiss it. The Steelworkers and Lehigh Hanson have been involved in a good-faith effort to resolve their differences, therefore rendering the lawsuit unnecessary.

“The Steelworkers and Lehigh Hanson have a longstanding, positive bargaining relationship, and the USW believes that Lehigh Hanson’s potential acquisition of the Keystone Cement facilities in Bath, Pa., will be in the best interests of the nearly 100 USW-represented employees who work there.

“If Lehigh Hanson purchases the Keystone facility, the USW looks forward to working with the company in the future and expects to continue to build a positive, constructive relationship.”

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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Proterra Workers to Join USW https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/proterra-workers-to-join-usw Tue, 19 Nov 2019 11:25:01 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/proterra-workers-to-join-usw CONTACT: Jess Kamm, (412) 562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that it is proud to welcome into the union more than 60 Proterra employees in City of Industry, Calif., where they manufacture battery electric buses.

After an overwhelming majority of workers requested representation, Proterra management voluntarily recognized the union on Nov. 12.

USW International President Thomas M. Conway congratulated the union’s newest members and praised Proterra management for its conduct throughout the organizing process.

“In Proterra, we have a dedicated, highly skilled, productive work force, an American company committed to manufacturing in the United States and management that respects employees,” Conway said. “This is a winning combination not only for this company and these workers, but for our country as a whole as we look at the kinds of jobs we want to have in the future.

“U.S. manufacturing and manufacturing workers are vital to the innovation and economic future of this country. It’s important that we capitalize on the technological advancements and strengths of American companies to seize the tremendous momentum happening in the domestic electric vehicle sector and promote American leadership in this next transportation revolution.”

Conway said that it is imperative that the development and production of clean technology promote good jobs and healthy communities in the United States. This includes ensuring that the materials and components in the transportation supply chain are made in America and that the workers who make them earn fair wages and good benefits.

“There is an unprecedented opportunity to solve some of the greatest challenges facing us today while creating and preserving quality American manufacturing jobs,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple. “Proterra and the United Steelworkers share a common vision to support American workers while building a healthier and more resilient future for all, and we look forward to a strong partnership.”

“We are building a positive, cooperative relationship with Proterra and look forward to meeting the challenges ahead with management,” Conway said. “We have every reason for optimism and expect the company, its employees and community stakeholders to enjoy the benefits of its long-term, sustainable success.”

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.

Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission electric transit vehicles and EV technology solutions for commercial applications. Designed for durability, safety and energy efficiency, Proterra products are proudly designed, engineered and manufactured in America.


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USW Mourns Passing of District 12 Director Robert LaVenture https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-mourns-passing-of-district-12-director-robert-laventure Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-mourns-passing-of-district-12-director-robert-laventure FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 13, 2019

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell (412) 562-2444, jkamm@usw.org 

PITTSBURGHUSW International President Tom Conway issued the following statement on the passing of USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture:

 “It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that District 12 Director Robert LaVenture passed away today.

 “Bob was a tireless union activist who always fought on the side of working people, first in his home state of Wisconsin and later on behalf of our members in District 12.

 “Bob joined the labor movement in 1970 when he went to work at an International Harvester – now Navistar – foundry in Waukesha, Wis., as a member of Local 3740. He served many roles, including trustee, local union steward, vice president and president.

 “As local president, Bob helped develop the Navistar Education Center, the first employee education center in Wisconsin. He then went on to help develop other education centers as a state AFL-CIO coordinator.

 “Bob moved to Concord, Calif., in 1993 and then to Oklahoma in 1998 as a USW International staff rep. He became District 12 Director in 2009.

 “As director, Bob was a fierce advocate for American industry and jobs, chairing contract negotiations with EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, Kaiser Aluminum, ASARCO, and Kennecott Utah Copper, as well as heading the USW Cement Council.

 “He was also profoundly dedicated to cross-border solidarity, working closely with our union brothers and sisters at Los Mineros in Mexico, fighting so that all workers could have a better life. 

 “Bob was a good friend who touched many lives. He will be sorely missed.”


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.

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Human Service Workers at Persad Center File for USW Representation https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/human-service-workers-at-persad-center-file-for-usw-representation Thu, 07 Nov 2019 08:33:21 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/human-service-workers-at-persad-center-file-for-usw-representation Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, 412-562-2446

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, have launched their organizing effort with the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 23 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last night at Spirit Hall and Lodge in Lawrenceville. Earlier in the day, they filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The workers have been organizing for several weeks with the goal of gaining a stronger voice to advocate for themselves, their community, and their clients. They also hope for increased stability and transparency, as well as a commitment to hiring a more diverse staff.

“We care deeply about our work and the organization, which we believe will only benefit from greater input from staff,” said Diane Dahm, a clinical therapist at Persad. “We look forward to working with the board and management to make our agency stronger and better equipped to serve the vulnerable communities we work to uplift.”

The Persad Staff Union, which hopes for an election within the next few weeks, would join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW in the Pittsburgh region. Their campaign is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage their LGBTQ+ members and improving contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“It’s important to organize in the communities that need it the most,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who helps lead the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee. “These workers at Persad perform vital services, and they and their clients deserve to be empowered and heard.”

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 Local 63B Begins Strike over Carley Foundry’s Unfair Labor Practices https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-local-63b-begins-strike-over-carley-foundrys-unfair-labor-practices Fri, 01 Nov 2019 15:06:34 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-local-63b-begins-strike-over-carley-foundrys-unfair-labor-practices Contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

Blaine, Minn. – The United Steelworkers (USW) said that about 220 hourly production and maintenance workers this morning began a strike against unfair labor practices at Carley Foundry, which supplies parts for customers in the aerospace industry and others.

USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez said that Carley management’s scheme to divide the members of Local 63B by proposing a lower wage tier for new employees and other economic and contract language changes has instead united them in solidarity.

“Carley has broken federal labor laws in its drive to force workers to accept its unfair and unnecessarily concessionary proposals, and we are standing up to demand the fair contract USW members have earned,” Ramirez said. “As one, we will deliver the message to management that our work has dignity and we deserve the company’s respect.”

Ramirez said that USW members are proud of their work and rank among the most productive and efficient manufacturing workforces in the world.

“Such loyalty and dedication should be rewarded with more secure jobs, earnings and benefits, but Carley has proposed the opposite and insists that its employees accept it,” Ramirez said. “We urge management to return to negotiations at once and bargain in good faith for a fair contract to end the labor dispute and return our brothers and sisters to work as soon as possible.”

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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Negotiations Set to Resume November 14 as ASARCO ULP Strike Continues https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/negotiations-set-to-resume-november-14-as-asarco-ulp-strike-continues Wed, 30 Oct 2019 13:02:16 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/negotiations-set-to-resume-november-14-as-asarco-ulp-strike-continues Contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

Tucson, Ariz. – The United Steelworkers (USW) today confirmed that negotiations for a new contract covering about 2,000 hourly workers at five ASARCO, LLC, locations in Arizona and Texas will resume on Nov. 14, 2019.

Members of eight international unions have been on an unfair labor practice (ULP) strike since Oct. 13, when workers rejected the Grupo México subsidiary’s so-called “last, best and final” offer, and struck in protest against ASARCO’s serious unfair labor practices and its rejected contract offer. 

USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture urged ASARCO management to bargain in good faith for a fair contract to resolve the labor dispute so that union members can return to their jobs and resume production.

“We do not expect that ASARCO will propose anything radically different from the offer its employees overwhelmingly rejected two weeks ago,” LaVenture said. “We do expect the employer to honor its obligation under federal law to negotiate in good faith with us, and we are willing to stay at the table as long as it takes.”

LaVenture praised the union membership for delivering to management the unmistakable, unified and clear message that they will stand together and demand the respect they have earned and deserve.

“When we eventually resolve these issues and win the fair contract that ASARCO desperately wants to deny its workers, it will be thanks to the bravery and dedication of the men and women on the picket lines,” he said. “The history of organized labor teaches the same lesson in many different times and places, and we truly know that workers who are united in solidarity can accomplish great things against long odds.”

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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Maryland, America Lose a Moral Leader with Death of Elijah E. Cummings https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/maryland-america-lose-a-moral-leader-with-death-of-elijah-e-cummings Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:40:11 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/maryland-america-lose-a-moral-leader-with-death-of-elijah-e-cummings CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway released the following statement regarding the death of U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings:

U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, an orator of booming voice, a lawmaker of impeccable integrity and a visionary of the potential for all Americans, leaves with his passing a legacy of moral leadership.

Mr. Cummings, son of a sharecropper, served as chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Reform, a group integral to investigations into alleged wrongdoing by the administration. At the same time, he never lost touch with his roots, which included two summers as a steelworker at the now defunct Bethlehem Steel plant at Sparrows Point southeast of Baltimore. He consistently supported labor rights, pay equity and increases in the minimum wage.

Just this past Labor Day, he lamented that the Senate has refused to consider House-passed measures that would raise the minimum wage and reduce pay inequities. He said then, “Unfortunately, too many Americans have been left behind in the modern economy. Every month, working families scrimp and save, only to struggle to afford childcare . . . and across the country, labor unions are being attacked and are losing their right to organize.”

In 2011, when Mr. Cummings took over as minority leader for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he talked about how his experience working in the Bethlehem steel mill shaped his view on the role of government. He said that after just half an hour in the mill, black soot filled workers’ noses. He wondered how many who labored there eight hours a day for 40 years suffered lung disease as a result and died too early.

The government has a role, he said, to implement air quality and safety regulations to preserve the lives of such workers and protect their communities. “I think it's important for industry to do well,” he said, “but I want them to do well and do good at the same time. If I'm going to err on the side of a person’s welfare and safety, that's where I’m going to err.”

That is the kind of leader Mr. Cummings was. America’s workers will miss him.  

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

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Thousands to Strike against ASARCO’s Unfair Labor Practices https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/thousands-to-strike-against-asarcos-unfair-labor-practices Fri, 11 Oct 2019 14:50:38 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/thousands-to-strike-against-asarcos-unfair-labor-practices Contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

Tucson, Ariz. – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that about 2,000 hourly workers at five ASARCO LLC, locations in Arizona and Texas voted overwhelmingly to strike against unfair labor practices rather than to accept the Grupo México subsidiary’s so-called “last, best and final” offer.

USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture said that workers who sacrificed to sustain the company during past downturns have earned and deserve a fair contract with better and more secure earnings, benefits and pensions, but ASARCO has proposed the precise opposite. 

ASARCO’s four-year contract proposal insulted union members at all of the facilities by including no wage increase for nearly two-thirds of workers, freezing the existing pension plan, and more than doubling the out-of-pocket contribution individual workers already pay for health care, LaVenture said.

“Working 12-hour shifts in an open-pit mine, smelter or refinery is difficult and dangerous, and ASARCO employees have not had a wage increase in 10 years,” LaVenture said. “These workers deserve a contract that reflects their contributions.”

LaVenture said that the USW is willing to resume bargaining and ready to meet as long as necessary to negotiate a fair contract, and urged his management counterparts to make resolving the labor dispute an urgent priority.

 “We cannot allow ASARCO managers – even when directed by Grupo executives in Mexico City – to pick and choose which U.S. labor laws and standards apply to them, and the company can’t expect to roll back generations of collective bargaining progress without a fight.”

 “Management has tested these employees for years, and we’ve met their challenges each step along the way,” LaVenture said. “When we march together for fairness and justice at ASARCO, we are delivering a unified message that the company’s attacks on our livelihoods must end and that we are standing up for respect and dignity from this employer.”

Late in the evening of Friday, Oct. 11, after the counting of ballots, the USW, on behalf of itself and the nine other unions representing ASARCO workers, provided 48 hours’ notice to terminate the extension agreement under which the parties have worked since December 1, 2018. 

Following the termination of the extension agreement, picketing will begin simultaneously at ASARCO’s Arizona properties at 11:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday, Oct. 13 and at 1:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Monday, Oct. 14 at its Amarillo, Texas, 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.

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USW Members Ratify New Contract at Dow Chemical Plant in Deer Park https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-ratify-new-contract-at-dow-chemical-plant-in-deer-park Wed, 09 Oct 2019 08:46:10 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-ratify-new-contract-at-dow-chemical-plant-in-deer-park CONTACTBen Lilienfeld: 832-373-9754,  blilienfeld@usw.org

DEER PARK, Texas (October 8) – Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 13-1 voted today to ratify a new contract with Rohm and Haas Texas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical, that covers about 235 workers at the company’s facility in Deer Park.

The contract, which runs through March 1, 2023, contains annual wage increases and other improvements.

“This contract is a testament to the strength and solidarity of the members of this local union, their families, and the entire community of Deer Park, who stood beside them throughout this fight,” said USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza, who oversees bargaining for the union in Texas and three neighboring states. “The members of Local 13-1 should be proud of what they have achieved.”

Bargaining on a new agreement began in February. The company imposed a seven-week lockout of the workers that began on April 22 after USW members voted overwhelmingly three times to reject unacceptable proposals.

After a series of public displays of support for the work force from other union members, residents of the community and elected officials, the company agreed to end the lockout, and workers returned to their jobs on Monday, June 10, as negotiations on a new contract continued.

“This agreement brings closure to difficult negotiations and provides our members with improvements that allow them to maintain family sustaining jobs,” said USW Sub-District Director Ben Lilienfeld, who led the union’s bargaining committee. 

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

 

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Supreme Court Denies ASARCO’s Petition to Review Copper Bonus Case https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/supreme-court-denies-asarcos-petition-to-review-copper-bonus-case Mon, 07 Oct 2019 11:38:06 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/supreme-court-denies-asarcos-petition-to-review-copper-bonus-case Contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

Tucson, Ariz.– The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied ASARCO, LLC’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision to enforce an arbitrator’s order for the company to pay millions of dollars to hundreds of employees hired after June 30, 2011. ASARCO has now exhausted all of its appeals, and must comply with the arbitrator’s decision.

The eight international unions which represent more than 2,000 hourly workers at five ASARCO locations in Arizona and Texas have been fighting to collect the award since December 2014, when Arbitrator Michael Rappaport originally determined that the company wrongly withheld from newer employees quarterly bonuses based on the price of copper.

Prior to the company’s request for the Supreme Court to review the case, the Ninth Circuit twice affirmed U.S. District Judge Stephen M. McNamee’s 2016 decision to enforce the arbitrator’s award, as well as his declaration that ASARCO should pay post-judgment interest, which continues to accrue. The total amount wrongly withheld from ASARCO employees exceeds $10 million.

USW District 12 Director Bob LaVenture said that the company’s attempt to divide the union membership by withholding bonus payments from newer hires backfired and has become an issue that united workers in solidarity within and between ASARCO locations.

“Although ASARCO has delayed and postponed paying the millions of dollars it owes for years, we never stopped fighting to ensure justice for these workers and their families,” LaVenture said. “The company’s constant attempts to undermine our contracts have truly united us in solidarity.”

LaVenture said that the USW is gratified with the Supreme Court’s decision, but warned that the struggle for fairness with ASARCO and its corporate parent, Grupo Mexico, will continue.He said that the union will now work to make sure the company pays what it owes to current and former employees and would provide updates when a timetable is available.

“Management has proven that they are willing to go great lengths to avoid paying employees, but the company has finally run out of room to run from this obligation,” he said. “Asarco management now has no choice but to work with the unions representing its workers to determine what is owed and to pay these workers without further delay.”

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 Calls On Mexican Government to Locate Disappeared Union Activist https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-calls-on-mexican-government-to-locate-disappeared-union-activist Tue, 01 Oct 2019 05:56:30 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-calls-on-mexican-government-to-locate-disappeared-union-activist CONTACT: Ben Davis, 202-550-3729, bdavis@usw.org (Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today called on the government of Mexico to take immediate action to locate Oscar Hernández Romero, a union leader and community activist from Cócula, Guerrero who has been missing since September 23. 

Hernández is a leader of opposition to Canadian mining company Torex Gold Resources, which fought an organizing campaign by the independent union Los Mineros in 2018.  Los Mineros suspended their organizing after three union supporters were murdered. No one has been arrested for these crimes.

On Friday, Los Mineros filed a lawsuit on behalf of Hernández’s family demanding that the government investigate his disappearance.

“The Mexican government must act immediately to locate Oscar Hernández Romero and to investigate the murders of the workers killed during the organizing campaign,” said USW International President Tom Conway.

“The continued lack of protections for unionists in Mexico highlights the need for enforceable labor standards in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and additional resources in Mexico’s labor budget,” Conway said.

The USW has also demanded that the Canadian government hold Canadian mining companies accountable for human rights violations in other countries. 

“This disappearance underscores why Canada needs an independent human rights ombudsperson with real powers to investigate when there are allegations of human rights violations related to Canadian companies,” said USW Canadian National Director Ken Neumann.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Adjunct Faculty Reaches Contract Settlement with Point Park University https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/adjunct-faculty-reaches-contract-settlement-with-point-park-university Fri, 27 Sep 2019 15:08:26 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/adjunct-faculty-reaches-contract-settlement-with-point-park-university CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

Adjunct faculty members at Point Park University, who are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, have reached a tentative contract settlement with the downtown Pittsburgh school.

The new three-year contract, if ratified by the members of USW Local 1088, would include wage increases each semester through Spring 2022, along with a number of other contractual improvements that the faculty sought. The previous contract expired on Aug. 1.

The agreement, which covers about 340 adjunct faculty members at Point Park, came after several high-profile public events in support of the instructors, including the distribution of educational leaflets to students and family members when they arrived on campus on Aug. 19.

“The faculty owes a debt of gratitude to the wonderful students and families of Point Park, as well as the full-time faculty for their unwavering support,” said Damon Di Cicco, president of Local 1088 and an adjunct faculty member in the university’s journalism department.

Adjunct faculty members teach roughly half of the classes at the university. The university’s full-time faculty is also unionized, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

The faculty members will hold informational meetings and ratification votes over the next several weeks.

“This contract represents a victory for the faculty, but more importantly for quality education at Point Park,” said Local 1088 Vice President Sharon Brady. “Faculty working conditions have a direct impact on students’ learning conditions, so this agreement represents a step forward for everyone involved.”

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

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Workers at Google Contractor HCL Vote to Join USW https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/workers-at-google-contractor-hcl-vote-to-join-usw Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:56:35 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/workers-at-google-contractor-hcl-vote-to-join-usw CONTACT:  Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org  

The United Steelworkers (USW) union announced today that it is proud to welcome as new members approximately 80 tech workers employed by the Google contractor HCL Technologies.

The workers, who are staffed at the tech giant’s Bakery Square office alongside Google employees, voted today for union representation. They are seeking a voice on the job and the opportunity to bargain over wages and working conditions.

“I’m honored that HCL workers chose to join our union and our fight on behalf of all working people,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “They deserve to have their voices heard. Together, we’ll make sure that they are.”

HCL workers voted in favor of unionization despite a company-led anti-union campaign, which included mandatory meetings and the use of a controversial management consultant.

“Over the past few months, management has implied – and in some cases outright told us – that it’s better to just be quiet than fight for what’s right,” said HCL worker Johanne Rokholt. “Today we have proved that we are not willing to do that.”

The organizing effort began earlier this year through the Pittsburgh Association of Technical Professionals (PATP), a project sponsored by the USW.

The PATP’s primary goals include helping Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania workers in high-tech fields connect and communicate with each other about their working conditions, as well as providing support in organizing and collective bargaining.

“We deserve more respect, dignity and democracy in our relationship with our employer,” said HCL worker Joshua Borden. “We fought for a seat at the table, and today we won. We look forward to bargaining a contract that reflects our important contributions to HCL’s continuing success.”

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.

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USW Members Ratify New 4-Year Contract with Alcoa https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-ratify-new-4-year-contract-with-alcoa Thu, 19 Sep 2019 21:02:22 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-ratify-new-4-year-contract-with-alcoa Contact: R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (Sept. 19) – Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) voted overwhelmingly this week to ratify a new four-year master agreement that covers about 1,600 production and maintenance workers at five Alcoa facilities in the United States.

The contract includes annual wage increases of more than 12 percent over the term of the agreement and maintains high-quality, affordable health care coverage. The contract covers USW Local 104 at Alcoa’s Warrick, Ind., facility; Local 420A at Massena, N.Y.; Local 5073 at Gum Springs, Ark.; Local 4370 at Point Comfort, Texas; and Local 310A in Wenatchee, Wash. 

“This is a challenging time for these workers, with unfair trade and declining prices taking their toll on the U.S. aluminum industry,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “Thanks to their strength and solidarity, they were able to achieve a fair agreement, one that makes sure they can continue to care for their families and also positions the company for future success.”

Bargaining stretched past the previous contract’s expiration date in May. As talks continued, workers voted to authorize the USW bargaining committee to call a strike if necessary, while they stayed on the job under the terms and conditions of the expired collective bargaining agreement.

“These hard-working union members contribute a tremendous amount to the company’s success, and they stood up and demanded a contract that recognized those contributions,” said USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap, who served as the chair of the union’s Alcoa bargaining committee. “This agreement is a victory for the workers and for the company.”

The new contract, which runs through May 15, 2023, is the first since Alcoa split into two companies in November 2016. Alcoa, which dates to 1888, retained its smelting and refining operations while spinning off a downstream products division now known as Arconic. 

USW members ratified a new contract in July that covers about 3,000 workers at four Arconic facilities. 

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

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