United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-03-14 08:04:52 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW Plans Rally and March to Mark Two Years of Solidarity at Lucky Friday https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-plans-rally-and-march-to-mark-two-years-of-solidarity-at-lucky-friday Thu, 14 Mar 2019 08:04:52 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-plans-rally-and-march-to-mark-two-years-of-solidarity-at-lucky-friday CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592 or tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that on Saturday, March 16, 2019, the union will sponsor a rally and march to commemorate two years of solidarity for the members of Local 5114 who went on strike against unfair labor practices at Hecla Mining Company’s (NYSE: HL) Lucky Friday mine on March 13, 2017.

USW members, retirees and their families, as well as activists and supporters from the labor movement will attend the rally, which will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mullan Pavilion and culminate with a march to the Lucky Friday picket line. Featured speakers will include USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture as well as other elected union officials and community leaders.

About 250 members of USW Local 5114 began their strike at Lucky Friday after working under the terms of an expired agreement for nearly eleven months before Hecla management’s unfair labor practices forced the dispute, which ranks as the longest work stoppage in the storied history of organized labor in the Silver Valley.

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.

ATTN ASSIGNMENT/EDITORS: Photo Opportunities, Interviews, Music

WHO:  USW members and retirees, their families and supporters

WHAT:  Rally to mark two years of solidarity at Hecla’s Lucky Friday mine

WHEN:  11 a.m., Saturday, March 16, 2019

WHERE:  Mullan Pavilion - 300 Earle Street, Mullan, Idaho, 83846

USW Disappointed in Voter Suppression at Pitt https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-disappointed-in-voter-suppression-at-pitt Tue, 12 Mar 2019 16:25:59 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-disappointed-in-voter-suppression-at-pitt CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell (412) 562-2444

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) and the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) are disappointed by the University of Pittsburgh’s actions and use of “union avoidance” firm Ballard Spahr leading up to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) vote to be held later this spring.

“I’m deeply disappointed that Pitt is fighting its own graduate student employees and obstructing our right to simply hold an election for a union,” said Caitlin Schroering, a graduate student assistant in the Sociology Department. “Let us vote, and let us do it in a way that makes voting accessible for students.”

Representatives of the university administration are attempting to push the PLRB and the USW to hold the election in more remote campus locations uphill from easily recognized and central buildings like the William Pitt Union or the Cathedral of Learning. 

“Keep the vote fair by locating polling places in a convenient place for the most grads,” said Patrick Beckhorn, a teaching fellow in the Anthropology Department. “Anything less amounts to the administration’s continued disregard for the rights of its grad student employees.”

The University of Pittsburgh administration is claiming the best places for a union election would be the Biomedical Science Tower and Benedum Hall, the home of Swanson School of Engineering. 

Emily Ackerman, a graduate student in the Chemical Engineering Department, disagrees. “Many of my colleagues would feel uncomfortable or intimidated voting in a building whose common spaces are so hyper-visible and open to the administrators of the School of Engineering,” said Ackerman. “The William Pitt Union is a more accessible and private space for voting.”

“It is disappointing that people I am supposed to look up to are using a union-busting law firm and are now engaged in plausibly deniable voter suppression by trying to hold the election in areas that would lower turnout,” said Daniel Libertz, a teaching fellow in the English Department.

The PLRB issued its decision in favor of Pitt’s grad workers last week, affirming their status as employees with the right to seek a union election.

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

USW President Emeritus Boyd Young Dies https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-president-emeritus-boyd-young-dies Tue, 12 Mar 2019 11:39:07 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-president-emeritus-boyd-young-dies CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

Boyd Young, the Steelworkers president emeritus who guided two of the USW’s predecessor unions, PACE and the UPIU, through historic mergers, died on Monday, March 11.

Young was a union activist for more than five decades, starting in 1960 as a member of the International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers Local 801 at East Texas Pulp & Paper Co., where he was elected local union president in 1971. Young organized paperworkers throughout the southern United States for the United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU). He served as a UPIU staff representative and regional director before his election as UPIU president in 1996.

“Boyd Young never wavered from his deeply held commitment to building better lives for working people through the labor movement,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “He provided steadfast leadership and vision at a time when workers needed it the most. Every member of the USW owes him a debt of gratitude. He will be missed.”

As UPIU president, Young consistently sought to increase workers’ bargaining power. With that goal in mind, he led his union through a merger with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW) in 1999, creating the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE). Young became the president of the new union, which merged with the Steelworkers in 2005 to form the USW.

“Boyd’s dedication and sense of purpose made the USW the union we are today,” Gerard said.

Young was responsible for creating the union’s Emergency Response Team, which provides members, families and co-workers with immediate assistance after life-altering workplace injuries and fatalities, and for establishing the union’s coordinated bargaining program in response to growing consolidation in the paper industry. He also served as a vice president of the AFL-CIO.

“While we feel a deep sadness at Boyd’s passing, we also feel a strong sense of gratitude for his dedication to the labor movement and to the cause of fairness and justice,” Gerard said. “His was a life well lived.”

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: Bold Action Required in Fight for Women’s Equality https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-bold-action-required-in-fight-for-womens-equality Fri, 08 Mar 2019 08:06:35 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-bold-action-required-in-fight-for-womens-equality CONTACT: Chelsey Engel, (412) 562-2446, cengel@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard and Vice President Carol Landry issued the following statement today in honor of International Women’s Day:

Unions have always fought for dignity on the job, civil rights, and freedom from violence. Our union remains dedicated to that fight and to creating a more gender-balanced world both in the workplace and in our communities.

We also recognize that women’s equality is about more than just the absence of violence and harassment—it’s about the presence of respect and opportunity. Unions offer women and other marginalized groups a gateway to economic success, leadership positions, and better health and safety protections at work, but there is still much to be done.

The labor movement must take bold action as women continue to face challenges due to the growth of economic, racial, and gender inequality. We must be on the frontlines in the battles for parental leave, workplace violence legislation, and equal representation from the shop floor all the way to the boardroom. We must be stronger and smarter than the forces working against our most vulnerable communities in order for them to receive the dignity they need and deserve.

Our union knows there is nothing stronger than a Woman of Steel, and today we recommit to creating a world in which that strength can thrive.

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

USW Members Call on Congress to Protect Multiemployer Pensions https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-call-on-congress-to-protect-multiemployer-pensions Thu, 07 Mar 2019 14:11:01 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-call-on-congress-to-protect-multiemployer-pensions CONTACT: Roy Houseman, (202) 778-3312, rhouseman@usw.org

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union visited Capitol Hill today to attend a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on the crisis facing multiemployer pension plans and to urge Congress to act to protect workers’ retirement funds.

Two dozen USW members and retirees attended today’s House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing entitled “The Cost of Inaction: Why Congress Must Address the Multiemployer Pension Crisis,” and later visited with members of Congress to urge action to preserve workers’ pensions, particularly multiemployer plans. In particular, the workers urged Congress to pass H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the “Butch-Lewis Act.”

The bipartisan House bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, would help to protect workers’ retirements by selling bonds and using the funds to bolster struggling multiemployer pensions through a long-term, low-interest loan program.

“A number of multiemployer plans are in financial distress – but their problems have nothing to do with these workers and their families,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Retirees shouldn’t suffer because of bad trade policy, or poor business decisions, or because of lingering fallout from the Great Recession. This bill would make sure that American workers get the secure retirements they deserve.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, introduced a version of the “Butch-Lewis Act” in 2017.

Gerard wrote about the pension issue in his weekly blog, which readers can find at www.usw.org/blog. The USW also produced a video that includes personal stories about workers and retirees who are at risk of losing their pensions. Viewers can find that video at www.usw.org/protectourpensions.

“Too many American workers and retirees now live in fear that they may not receive the benefits they worked their entire lives to earn,” said David McCall, director of USW District 1, which represents thousands of USW members in the state of Ohio. “This bill would provide critical funding to troubled plans and provide security for millions of American workers and retirees.”

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 Applauds PLRB Ruling in Favor of Pitt Grad Union https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-applauds-plrb-ruling-in-favor-of-pitt-grad-union Thu, 07 Mar 2019 13:57:44 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-applauds-plrb-ruling-in-favor-of-pitt-grad-union CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2446, jkamm@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) applauded today’s ruling from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) affirming University of Pittsburgh graduate student employees’ right to join a union.

The PLRB found that the approximately 2,000 teaching assistants, teaching fellows, graduate assistants and graduate student researchers are university employees, entitled to seek union representation.

“Pitt’s grad students work hard as teachers and as researchers, providing valuable services to the university,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “They are absolutely employees and deserve a seat at the table.”

Pitt grad employees filed for a union election in December 2017, seeking greater transparency in the decision-making process that affects their working conditions, as well as protections against discrimination and harassment.

“We need a union because we deserve to participate in the decision-making process that affects us and our jobs,” said Hillary Lazar, a graduate employee in the department of sociology. “From bargaining over issues like health care for our families to instituting safeguards against harassment, a union helps ensure we have the same rights as any other group of workers.”

The university administration filed an objection to the grad students’ petition last winter, claiming the graduate workers were students, not employees of the university. The PLRB held a hearing in October and issued its ruling March 7, holding that graduate workers are employees.

“It’s disappointing that the university administration chose to draw out this process,” said Abby Cartus, a graduate student employee in the epidemiology department. “Hiring high-profile, union-busting lawyers at Ballard Spahr in an attempt to intimidate graduate students was a waste of tuition and tax dollars. We hope moving forward they act in better faith.”

University of Pittsburgh faculty filed a petition with the PLRB in January for their own union election.

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

Union at Par Hawaii Refining Rejects Company’s Offer, Citing Par’s Refusal to Commit to Benefit Stability & Security https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/union-at-par-hawaii-refining-rejects-companys-offer-citing-pars-refusal-to-commit-to-benefit-stability-security Tue, 05 Mar 2019 10:48:51 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/union-at-par-hawaii-refining-rejects-companys-offer-citing-pars-refusal-to-commit-to-benefit-stability-security CONTACT: Ryan Meyhoff, USW Staff Representative (253) 854-4563

The United Steelworkers (USW) members employed by Par Hawaii Refining, LLC (PHR), in Kapolei, a subsidiary of Houston based Par Pacific Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:PARR), overwhelmingly rejected the Company’s contract proposal.

The USW represents 150 production and maintenance employees at PHR. With nearly 90 percent of USW members voting, over 95 percent of them rejected PHR’s onerous demands.

Jarrett Wa’a, USW Local 12-591 Kapolei Unit President, said, “Our members deserve predictable benefits from the company. PHR relies on our members’ vast knowledge, experience and skill to make fuels efficiently and safely; in exchange, our members expect to be treated with dignity and respect. Par Pacific and PHR must step up and negotiate benefits for their workers – our members – in Hawaii now.”

Members of USW Local 12-591 are bargaining with Par for a new 3-year labor agreement that covers the approximately 150 bargaining unit members producing gasoline, diesel, jet, and other products at the only fully operating oil refinery in Hawaii. USW members are currently working under a rolling 24-hour extension to the Feb. 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2019 Labor Agreement.

USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture said, “Our members in Kapolei have sacrificed millions of dollars to benefit Par’s rapid growth and consolidation.” On Jan. 1, 2017, Par discontinued certain pension and all retiree health care benefits for its workers at PHR. The USW continues to protest many of the cuts.

Director LaVenture went on to say, “Our members have played an instrumental role in Par’s success and growth. The Kapolei oil refinery, once owned by Tesoro and idled in 2012, is now a viable, profitable operation that provides refined fuels for Hawaii and export. It is time Par joins the universe of responsible corporations and provides its employees with negotiated, strategically planned health care, disability, and pension benefits. Par Pacific owes that to its shareholders, employees, and Hawaii.”

USW: Mexican Steelmaker Violating Workers’ Rights https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-mexican-steelmaker-violating-workers-rights Wed, 27 Feb 2019 12:12:13 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-mexican-steelmaker-violating-workers-rights Contact: Ben Davis, 412-562-2501 or bdavis@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today condemned labor rights violations by Mexican steelmaker Altos Hornos de México, S.A. (AHMSA), a major exporter of steel to the U.S. market.

“AHMSA has systematically denied the rights of its workers in order to drive down steel prices by imposing a company-controlled union in violation of Mexico’s Constitution and international law,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “That is unfair to its workers in Mexico and unfair to steelworkers in the United States.”

In 2008, AHMSA withdrew recognition from the national mining and steelworkers’ union, known as Los Mineros, and subsequently signed a contract with a pro-company union. 

In November 2018, the Mexican Federal Labor Board ruled that the company union was illegally constituted and voided its statutes and legal registration. However, AHMSA has refused to bargain with Los Mineros and continues to “negotiate” with the company union, while exporting about 450,000 tons of steel annually to the United States.

AHMSA has also withheld millions in dues owed under its contract with Los Mineros, and refused to recognize an election conducted by the Labor Board at the Hercules Mine, which Los Mineros won in 2016. On several occasions, company union members have violently attacked Los Mineros supporters. 

“AHMSA’s unfair and illegal actions demonstrate why we need strong labor rights improvements and enforcement. Mexico must act quickly to pass and implement strong labor law amendments. Mexico must also be a better partner in fighting unfair trade that jeopardizes North American jobs and security interests,” Gerard said.

“AHMSA is undermining both and wants to shift the story away from their labor abuses. We won’t let them get away with it,” he said.

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

USW Welcomes U.S. Steel Plan to Restart EAF Construction https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-welcomes-u-s-steel-plan-to-restart-eaf-construction Mon, 11 Feb 2019 11:32:48 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-welcomes-u-s-steel-plan-to-restart-eaf-construction CONTACT:   R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (February 11) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today welcomed the announcement from U.S. Steel that it would restart construction of an electric arc furnace (EAF) at its facility in Fairfield, Ala.

“The USW is pleased to have finally concluded an agreement with U.S. Steel to build a new EAF,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “This decision paves the way for a solid future in continuing to make steel in Alabama and the Birmingham region.”

The company said it would invest approximately $215 million and add about 150 employees at the plant. The EAF is expected to have an annual capacity of 1.6 million tons.

“This is an important step forward for the current employees making world-class pipe, and it will further result in additional jobs,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who serves as chair of the union’s U.S. Steel bargaining committee. “Restoring a hot end at the plant is essential to maintaining and growing good union jobs in Fairfield.”

The USW in October reached a new four-year contract with U.S. Steel covering about 16,000 workers at the company’s facilities across the United States, including Fairfield.

“The USW operates EAF furnaces at many of our represented plants across the country, and we look forward to starting up another new furnace and delivering top-quality products for our customers,” said Kevin Keys, president of USW Local 1013, which represents the Fairfield workers.

The company said construction was expected to begin immediately and that the furnace would be producing steel by the second half of 2020.

“This re-establishes steelmaking again in the valley and ensures the future of the plant. It’s a very welcome development,” said Daniel Flippo, director of USW District 9, which represents Alabama and six other states, as well as the Virgin Islands. 

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.

USW Petitions President Trump to Use SOTU to Honor Trade Promises https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-petitions-president-trump-to-use-sotu-to-honor-trade-promises Tue, 05 Feb 2019 08:38:35 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-petitions-president-trump-to-use-sotu-to-honor-trade-promises CONTACT: Holly Hart, 202-778-4384

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 5, 2019 – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement in advance of President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address:

“In the everyday lives of American workers, far more threatening than immigration is offshoring. American workers are looking to President Trump to assure them in his State of the Union address that he will keep the pledges he made on the campaign trail to replace the broken free trade regime that has cost the United States tens of thousands of factories. Workers want fair trade that preserves family-supporting American jobs.

“President Trump has embarked on several trade reform efforts, but the work to secure jobs and prosperity is far from complete. The administration has made far too little progress to suggest that the president’s trade promises have been kept. A good example of the ongoing problems is GM. The corporation announced late last year that it would shift significant vehicle production to Mexico while bringing nearly $7 billion into the United States for half the tax rate, a bonus for offshorers that was slipped into the 2017 GOP tax law. 

“The incentives for manufacturers like GM to offshore jobs must be eliminated, and the proposed new NAFTA deal does not go far enough in doing that. The environmental and worker protections it contains must be swiftly and strictly enforceable, otherwise the deal is all talk and no action. 

“When Canada signed onto the proposed new NAFTA, it was with the understanding that the United States would terminate the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum charged to our northern neighbor. The Section 232 tariffs have preserved some U.S. mills, spurred new investment and brought back some lost jobs. That was the intent – to protect two U.S. industries vital to national security. 

“They would have worked better, however, if they had been imposed with the precision of a scalpel, not inflicted with the blunt force of a sledgehammer. In addition, they would have been far more effective if China had not been granted massive exceptions. 

“Canada is an essential security ally and manufacturing partner, with metal forged in both countries crossing the border repeatedly for finishing into products ranging from cans to car engines. Canada should never have been included in the Section 232 tariffs, and the administration must immediately honor its pledge to end charging the penalties on Canadian steel and aluminum. 

“This is particularly important because the United States has granted to Canada only miniscule exclusions from the tariffs – only 2 percent of its steel exports and .2 percent of its aluminum exports. Meanwhile, the United States handed to China, the primary violator of international trade regulations, such gargantuan exceptions that the tariffs on Beijing are virtually useless now. Forty percent of China’s steel exports to the United States are excluded from the tariffs and a whopping 86 percent of aluminum exports. 

“China is America’s – and the world’s – biggest trade problem. These colossal exclusions awarded to China defeat the purpose of the tariffs. 

“Workers across the United States are looking to the Trump administration to stand strong in current negotiations to resolve China’s pervasive trade violations that have cost millions of American jobs. U.S. negotiators must find a way to stop China from stealing intellectual property and forcing American companies to transfer technology. 

“But, just as crucially, the administration must get China to end its predatory trade practices, including overproducing commodities such as aluminum and steel and flooding the world market with the excesses, causing prices to plummet and American and European mills to close. 

“American workers are looking for action from the administration that promised trade transformation.”

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: Black History Month Calls for Reflection and Action https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-black-history-month-calls-for-reflection-and-action Fri, 01 Feb 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-black-history-month-calls-for-reflection-and-action

Contact: Fred Redmond, (412) 562-2307

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo Gerard and Vice President Fred Redmond released the following statement today in honor of Black History Month:

“There has always been a bond between the labor and civil rights movements. When Martin Luther King Jr. stood with striking sanitation workers in Memphis in February 1968, that bond strengthened. 

“This month, as the union honors our Black brothers and sisters who have endured great struggle to achieve great success, we must remember that historic bond. We must remember Black history is an important part of labor history.

“Though this is a time of reflection, let it also be a time of action. We encourage people to lend a hand in their communities, in a display of solidarity as well as to honor the many Black labor and civil rights activists who ignited the fire of freedom and workers’ rights all those years ago.

“Our union is strong because of our diverse membership and because of leaders like Dr. King, Bayard Rustin, and A. Philip Randolph, who helped pave the way. We must recommit ourselves to growing and strengthening the movement they built, and organize with their sacrifices at the forefront of our minds.”

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



USW Reaches Tentative Agreement with Shell Oil Company to Set Contract Pattern for Oil Sector https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-shell-oil-company-to-set-contract-pattern-for-oil-sector Thu, 31 Jan 2019 19:25:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-shell-oil-company-to-set-contract-pattern-for-oil-sector Contact: Lynne Hancock, USW, (412) 562-2442, (c) 615-828-6169, lhancock@usw.org

Pittsburgh -- The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that a tentative agreement was reached with Shell Oil Company for a pattern settlement on wages, benefits and working conditions. Shell leads the negotiations and consulted with the rest of the industry during the talks.

The three-year pattern agreement affects more than 30,000 oil refinery, petrochemical plant, pipeline and terminal employees in 220 USW bargaining units.

“We reached a tentative agreement because of our members’ solidarity and the industry’s willingness to negotiate a contract that is fair to both parties,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

The USW is not revealing the details of the proposed pattern agreement until members have a chance to examine it and vote. 

“We look forward to presenting the pattern settlement to our membership,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “The Policy Committee unanimously endorsed the final proposal.”

The next step is for the national pattern to be placed on local unit bargaining tables. Once local issues are settled at each worksite, the bargaining unit’s tentative agreement is sent to Kim Nibarger, chair of the union’s National Oil Bargaining Program, for his review to ensure the national pattern is part of the bargaining unit’s contract. 

After Nibarger gives his approval the local contract is submitted to members for an explanation and a ratification vote. “We think this proposal reflects the desires of our members in the oil sector,” Nibarger said.

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


USW: Labor Must Commit to Reclaiming Dr. King’s Dream of Dignity https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-labor-must-commit-to-reclaiming-dr-kings-dream-of-dignity Mon, 21 Jan 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-labor-must-commit-to-reclaiming-dr-kings-dream-of-dignity CONTACT: Fred Redmond, (412) 562-2307

(Pittsburgh) -- The following statement was issued today by Fred Redmond, United Steelworkers (USW) Vice President for Human Affairs, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

In March 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a mass meeting of over 10,000 people in Memphis, Tenn., in the midst of a strike of 1,300 black sanitation workers. He told them, “All labor has dignity.”

Today, as we celebrate the civil and labor rights activist’s life, we must uphold that belief and stand up for those who work hard every day, especially as thousands of federal government workers are currently furloughed and unable to make ends meet. In 2019, no worker in the United States should have to wait in a food pantry line or sell family heirlooms to pay their bills, but that is what we are seeing as the current administration holds workers hostage in an attempt to fund a symbol of racism and disunity.

We also see an ever-growing racial wealth divide in this country, one that Dr. King dedicated his life to eradicating. We in the labor movement must commit to continuing this work, as the stakes are higher than ever.

Unions must also stand up for Americans who are victims of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred and violence, a phenomenon that, unfortunately, is all too common in the United States. Hate crimes against minorities, including people of color, increased in 2018 for the third year in a row. Labor must consistently condemn these despicable acts and fight back against inequality of all forms just as we fight back against unfair trade.

Dr. King had a dream, one where all workers and all Americans are treated with dignity. Let us rededicate ourselves to doing the hard work necessary to make that dream a reality.

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

University of Pittsburgh Faculty File for Union Election https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/university-of-pittsburgh-faculty-file-for-union-election Fri, 18 Jan 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/university-of-pittsburgh-faculty-file-for-union-election CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2446, jkamm@usw.org

Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday filed for a union election with the state labor board. They are seeking a collective bargaining agreement that would cover approximately 3,500 full- and part-time faculty across Pitt’s five campuses.

“The work these faculty do as researchers and educators is what makes Pitt a world-class institution,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “They deserve a seat at the table and a voice in deciding how the university is run.”

Pitt faculty began collecting confidential union cards in January 2018. Their goals include addressing concerns about pay and job security for adjunct and part-time faculty. They also would like to see more academic freedom and greater transparency from the university administration.

“Specific faculty needs differ so much by department and rank,” said Tyler McAndrew, a visiting lecturer in the department of English and member of the Pitt faculty organizing committee. “But even for people on the tenure track, transparency is so important: with regard to tenure requirements, how everyday decisions are made at the university, and who’s deciding to put what money where and why.” 

“All this stuff ripples out to the students whether they realize it or not,” said McAndrew. “A union is not just good for us, but will be a positive thing for the students and the university as a whole because our interests are with the students.”

Pitt faculty also hope that the union will be a democratizing force on campus, breaking down silos and opening more conversations about how to make the whole university better.

“We’re organizing in the spirit of recognizing the intellectual labor all of us do,” said Mrinalini Rajagopalan, associate professor in the department of history of art and architecture. “A union is a way to bring back a level of dignity to scholarly work and teaching that we’re not seeing.It’s also about preserving what’s working, what’s viable and sustainable and humane in our university atmosphere.”

Faculty organizers delivered union cards to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) in Harrisburg, Pa., this afternoon.

Graduate students at Pitt filed for their own union election in December 2017. The university administration objected, and the legal process is ongoing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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












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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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