United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-06-24 07:53:32 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 USW Affirms Commitment to Operation of PES Refinery after Fire https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-affirms-commitment-to-operation-of-pes-refinery-after-fire Mon, 24 Jun 2019 07:53:32 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-affirms-commitment-to-operation-of-pes-refinery-after-fire CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592, tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the union has committed to work with investigators, government agencies and Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Inc. (PES) management to safely resume production after a fire late last week caused extensive damage to the oil refinery.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway said that although the fire created a spectacle that could be seen from miles away in the early morning hours of Friday, June 21, 2019, permanently closing the east coast’s largest oil refinery would have lasting, disastrous consequences for the entire country.

“Starting with almost 2,000 workers directly employed by PES and tens of thousands more whose employment depends on the refinery to some degree, closing the facility would have an immediate and deep impact on Philadelphia and the surrounding community,” Conway said. “Along the east coast and across the country, the cost of home heating oil, diesel, gasoline and other products will increase dramatically.”

USW Local 10-1 President Ryan O’Callaghan said that the union will assist in the ongoing investigation to ensure that production can resume without jeopardizing the safety of refinery workers, the surrounding community or the environment.

“Our highly skilled, expertly trained and experienced workforce prevented catastrophic injuries or fatalities last week,” O’Callaghan said. “We must look forward to repairing and operating this refinery safely and without negative environmental effects.”

“Without our production, the east coast of the U.S. would depend on Europe for its supply of refined products, which would compromise our economic and national security,” he said.

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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Mining Unions Call For a New MSHA Silica Standard https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/mining-unions-call-for-a-new-msha-silica-standard Wed, 19 Jun 2019 15:14:52 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/mining-unions-call-for-a-new-msha-silica-standard CONTACT: Phil Smith, UMWA (703) 291-2400; Mike Wright, USW (412) 562-2580

Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), and Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, today called for a new standard to protect miners from silica dust. The request came in a letter to David Zatezalo, the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Silica is believed responsible for a large rise in cases of black lung disease among coal miners in central Appalachia. In the past, the primary cause of black lung was thought to be coal dust, but as coal seams become deeper and thinner, miners are cutting through more waste rock, much of which is high in silica.

Silica is many times more dangerous to miners’ lungs than coal dust, and ordinary diagnostic techniques cannot distinguish between the two causes of respiratory disease. The epidemic of black lung has been widely reported in the scientific literature and the press, including major stories on National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting’s Frontline

In addition, silica causes both lung cancer and silicosis, another deadly dust disease, which has not been eliminated in metal and mineral mines. OSHA set a new silica standard in 2016, cutting the permissible exposure limit in half, but MSHA has yet to follow suit. 

“Black lung afflicts thousands of coal miners,” Roberts said. “We know what causes it, we know how to prevent it, yet miners are still getting it. MSHA took action in 2016 to reduce respirable coal dust. Now it must act to reduce silica exposure, and quickly.”

“All miners need this standard, surface and underground, no matter what they’re mining,” said Gerard. “This Administration says they love miners. Let’s see if they mean it.”  

The UMWA represents 105,000 active and retired miners, clean coal technicians, manufacturing workers, health care workers, public service workers and corrections officers in the United States and Canada.

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

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USW Applauds PLRB Decision on Pitt Faculty https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-applauds-plrb-decision-on-pitt-faculty Wed, 19 Jun 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-applauds-plrb-decision-on-pitt-faculty CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) applauded today’s decision by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), agreeing with the union that the administration-provided list of University of Pittsburgh faculty in a potential bargaining unit warrants further review. 
 
Faculty organizers in April appealed a PLRB decision to reject their petition to form a union, citing potential irregularities with the list the university administration gave the labor board.
 
Today’s decision supports this claim, directing a hearing to examine the list and ordering the administration to provide the USW with the names of potential bargaining unit members they gave the PLRB.
 
“This decision is not surprising,” said Tyler McAndrew, a visiting lecturer in the English department. “Deliberately inflating the number of people in a potential bargaining unit is a common union avoidance tactic. It’s important that this list sees the light of day, so that Pitt faculty are able to exercise their right to vote on unionization without outside interference.”
 
Pitt faculty began exploring unionization in 2012 with the hope that a union would be a democratizing force on campus. They also have concerns about pay, job security and the faculty’s shrinking role in university governance. 
 
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. 

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USW Praises House Action on Beryllium Protections https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-praises-house-action-on-beryllium-protections Thu, 13 Jun 2019 15:45:53 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-praises-house-action-on-beryllium-protections CONTACT: Mike Wright, (412) 370-0105, mwright@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today praised the U. S. House of Representatives and its Democratic leadership for passing an appropriations rider protecting workers in shipyards and construction from the ravages of beryllium.

In 2017, OSHA released a new standard for beryllium, a highly toxic metal found in some abrasive blasting compounds and in certain high-tech materials, setting a lower exposure limit and including ancillary provisions for workplace monitoring, medical surveillance, and other protective measures. 

The incoming administration let the standard remain for most workers but attempted to cancel the ancillary provisions for workers in shipyards and construction.

This process can only be done through new rulemaking, and the rider, authored by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, forbids OSHA to complete that rulemaking, a first step in restoring the provisions.

To become effective, the measure must also pass the Senate.

“OSHA’s action never made sense,” said Gerard. “How can the agency justify protecting one group of workers, and stripping those protections from another? Our thanks to Chairman Scott and the House of Representatives for recognizing this injustice and moving to correct it. We call upon the Senate to do likewise.” 

 

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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Union Membership Authorizes Strike against Arconic https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/union-membership-authorizes-strike-against-arconic Thu, 06 Jun 2019 17:56:35 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/union-membership-authorizes-strike-against-arconic For more information: Tony Montana – 412-562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

PITTSBURGH– The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that members of local unions representing Arconic (NYSE: ARNC) workers at the company’s facilities in Davenport, Iowa; Lafayette, Ind.; and Massena, N.Y., have granted their negotiating committee the authority to implement a strike if necessary at those three facilities covered by a master agreement.

The strike authorization votes were conducted during meetings at each location over the course of the past several weeks. USW members have continued to work under the terms and conditions of a contract that was set to expire on May 15, 2019, when the USW and Arconic agreed to a temporary extension, subject to termination by either party with 24-hours’ notice.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the union committee, said that negotiations between the USW and Arconic broke off with the company demanding major economic and non-economic concessions that the union considers excessive and unnecessary.

“Although we hope to resolve the outstanding issues without a work stoppage, our members have delivered a strong message through their overwhelming support for strike authorization,” Conway said. “We are prepared to fight for the fair contracts we have earned and deserve.”

“Through decades of hard work and personal sacrifice, USW members have made these facilities among the most productive in the world,” he said. “When bargaining started, we hoped that management would come prepared with proposals that respect these workers’ contributions to the company’s past, current and future success.”

“Instead, Arconic is scheming to extract deep concessions from hourly workers while at the same time orchestrating a $1.5 billion stock buyback designed to reward a few senior executives and short-term investor, Elliott Management, at the expense of practically everyone else associated with the company,” Conway said.

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 to Return to Work at Dow Chemical Plant in Deer Park https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-to-return-to-work-at-dow-chemical-plant-in-deer-park Thu, 06 Jun 2019 12:23:58 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-to-return-to-work-at-dow-chemical-plant-in-deer-park CONTACT:  Ben Lilienfeld, 832-373-9754, blilienfeld@usw.org

Members of the United Steelworkers union will return to work at the Dow Chemical plant in Deer Park on Monday, June 10, seven weeks after the company made the decision to lock them out of their jobs.

After a series of calls from the union to end the lockout, and displays of support for the work force from the community and public officials, the company agreed to end the lockout and put the 235 skilled union workers back on the job at Rohm and Haas Texas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. The workers will cease picketing and be back on the job by 6 a.m. Monday, June 10.

“It’s good to see that the company has finally come to its senses and ended this unnecessary and destructive lockout,” said USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza, who represents Steelworkers in Texas and three neighboring states. “This victory is a credit to the strength and solidarity of the USW membership, and to the support that the workers received from the community and from allies across Texas and around the country.”

“This decision is good news not just for these workers and their families, but for the safety and economic well-being of the entire region,” Garza said.

The union members voted overwhelmingly three times to reject unacceptable “last, best and final” proposals from Dow Chemical.

“The union disagrees with the company’s claim that the two sides are at impasse,” Garza said. “From the beginning, the workers have been committed to bargaining in good faith for a fair and equitable contract. We look forward to continuing to work with the company to achieve that goal.”

The workers began bargaining with the company in February. The USW offered to continue working while negotiations continued, but the company responded by locking the workers out of their jobs on April 22.

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

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USW Celebrates Pride Month and Recommits to Fighting for LGBTQ+ Community https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-celebrates-pride-month-and-recommits-to-fighting-for-lgbtq-community Mon, 03 Jun 2019 12:21:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-celebrates-pride-month-and-recommits-to-fighting-for-lgbtq-community Contact:  Chelsey Engel, 412-562-2446, cengel@usw.org

(Pittsburgh)—United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard, along with the union’s recently formed LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, released the following statement today, in honor of Pride Month:

“Our union was founded on the guiding principle that all workers should be treated with dignity and respect. In 1942, our founders declared that we would unite in one organization, regardless of creed, color or nationality, all working men and women eligible for membership. This month, as the world observes the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with annual Pride celebrations all across the globe, we recommit to that principle and honor all of our proud members of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community.  

“For the past two and a half years, our country’s administration has launched relentless attacks on LGBTQ+ Americans, from banning transgender soldiers from serving in the military, to aiming to give doctors the right to deny health care to patients because of who they love. These actions do not represent the American spirit or the principles that lie at the core of the labor movement, including our union.

“Labor leaders and activists must continue fighting both in Washington and at the bargaining table to empower LGBTQ+ workers by pushing legislation such as the Equality Act and improving union contracts by adding non-discrimination language that includes sexual orientation and gender identity protections. 

“The USW calls on its activists to celebrate Pride across the United States and Canada this month by recommitting to this fight, and to continue ensuring LGBTQ+ voices and concerns are addressed in the halls of Congress and within our collective bargaining agreements.”

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



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USW Members Authorize Strike against Alcoa https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-authorize-strike-against-alcoa Fri, 31 May 2019 14:50:31 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-members-authorize-strike-against-alcoa Contact: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592;

PITTSBURGH– The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that members of local unions representing more than 1,500 Alcoa (NYSE: AA) workers have granted their negotiating committee the authority to implement a strike if necessary at the company’s facilities in Warrick, Ind.; Massena, N.Y.; Gum Springs, Ark.; Point Comfort, Texas; and Wenatchee, Wash.

The strike authorization votes were conducted during meetings at each location over the course of the past two weeks. USW members have continued to work under the terms and conditions of a contract that was set to expire on May 15, 2019, when the USW and Alcoa agreed to a temporary extension, subject to termination by either party with notice.

Formal negotiations between the USW and Alcoa broke off with the company demanding major economic and non-economic concessions that the union considers excessive and unnecessary.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the union committee, said that when bargaining resumes, management should come prepared with proposals that reflect an understanding of workers’ contributions to the company’s past, current and future success.

“USW members have dedicated years of hard work and personal sacrifice to keep these facilities operating efficiently and profitably,” Conway said. “Corporate executives and shareholders are reaping the benefits while Alcoa continues to demand concessions too broad and too deep for our members and their families to absorb.”

“Although we hope to resolve the outstanding issues without a work stoppage, our members have delivered a strong message through their overwhelming support for strike authorization,” he said. “We are prepared to fight for the fair contracts we have earned and deserve.”

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 Announces Changes in Leadership https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-announces-changes-in-leadership Wed, 29 May 2019 15:21:14 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-announces-changes-in-leadership CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today announced changes in its leadership as a result of a series of retirements, including USW International President Leo W. Gerard, Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson and Vice Presidents Carol Landry and Jon Geenen. 

The union’s International Executive Board (IEB) passed a resolution approving the plan and the transition, which will take place between now and mid-July when the changes become effective.   

“The decision to announce these changes together will ensure that a capable and experienced group of trade union leaders will hit the ground running as a team,” said Gerard. “It will also pave the way so that the union continues to be on solid footing and that the transition is seamless and serves the best interest of our membership.”

Gerard will be replaced by USW International Vice President Tom Conway.

Gerard served the USW for more than 50 years. He began his career at age 18 in the mining industry in northern Ontario, and has since held a series of positions in the union, guiding it to what it is today. He spent his whole life fighting for working families and labor rights across the globe, and his impact as a labor leader in North America is immeasurable.

Gerard worked as union staff and ultimately became a District Director, the National Director of Canada, Secretary-Treasurer and finally in 2001 the USW’s International President. 

During his time with the union, Gerard has been a constant, strong and credible voice for the USW in both Washington, D.C., and Ottawa. He has testified on innumerable occasions on behalf of the union’s membership and their jobs, families and communities.

Gerard served on variety of advisory councils and task forces, setting policy and relentlessly defending workers during his presidency.

Under Gerard’s leadership, the USW formed the first global union, Workers Uniting, and he has built global labor alliances around the world.

He intends to remain active in the labor community but has largely decided to enjoy his well-earned retirement and looks forward to spending more time with his wife and family.

Conway, who will take over for Gerard as USW International President, has been USW Vice President since 2005. He began his career as a millwright at Bethlehem Steel in 1978. He has served as a staff representative and as the secretary of the USW’s Basic Steel Conference. He has also chaired many of the union’s major sector negotiations in steel, mining, aluminum, tire and rubber, oil, and other metals and manufacturing operations.

Conway has led the charge on trade issues affecting these sectors, including the union’s efforts in trade enforcement. He also spearheaded the USW’s efforts in fighting to bring change to the nation’s trade and manufacturing policies. 

In addition to serving on the governing board of the Institute for Career Development and the board of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), Conway has been instrumental in building and guiding the USW staff training program and in helping to develop the union’s leadership development program.

Conway’s position as Vice President will be filled by District 1 Director David McCall.

McCall first joined the union’s international executive board in 1998. Beginning his career as a millwright, he has held many union positions, including serving as a staff representative, assistant director and director with more than 40 years of union experience.

McCall, whose district encompasses the state of Ohio, has many years of bargaining experience across the union and chairs major negotiations in steel, paper and other sectors. He also serves as secretary of the USW Constitution Committee.

USW Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson will be replaced by District 4 Director John Shinn.

Johnson has served the USW as Secretary-Treasurer since 2009. He began his union career at a URW tire plant in 1975 as a tire builder. He has held many union positions throughout his career at the District and International levels.

As the union’s CFO, Johnson has brought stability, strength and confidence to the union’s finances. He oversees the union’s crucial Rapid Response program and chairs the union’s Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference, leading negotiations with some of the nation’s largest tire makers. He also chairs bargaining within the paper industry.

John Shinn, who will become the union’s next Secretary-Treasurer, currently serves as the director of USW District 4, which encompasses the Northeast corridor states and New England, as well as Puerto Rico. 

He joined the USW executive board in 2012 and has aggressively promoted job creation within his district. Shinn chairs the Inter-Union Gas Conference and various committees within the union’s paper conference.

Shinn joined the labor movement in 1974 as a member of the United Glass and Ceramic Workers International Union (UGCWIU), which later merged to become the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers (ABG). He served as a staff representative in the ABG and as a sub-director in the USW before becoming director.

Roxanne Brown will take over for International Vice President at Large Carol Landry.

Landry joined the USW executive board in 2008 as the first woman to ever serve on the board, bringing with her years of experience as an activist and negotiator.

Landry began her career in 1986 and held many union positions. She has been responsible for the union’s nuclear and chemical sectors and served as co-chair of the USW’s Next Generation program. She also served as Vice President of the IndustriALL Global Union and spearheaded programs encouraging women to take leadership roles in the union.

Filling Landry’s seat will be Roxanne Brown, who currently serves as USW Legislative Director in the union’s Washington, D.C., office. She will continue to oversee legislative, public policy and political matters while remaining based in the capital.  

Brown has a broad base of experience working for legislation that supports USW members and all working people. She also works with the various companies and associations that are impacted by regulations and laws under consideration in the nation’s agencies and Congress. She began working for the USW legislative department in 1999.

International Vice President Jon Geenen will be replaced by Leeann Foster.

Geenen joined the USW Board in 2008 and has overseen bargaining, trade issues and public policy related to the domestic paper industry.

He began his career in 1977 as a journeyman maintenance tech in the pulp and paper industry. Since then, Geenen has worked tirelessly to guide USW paper workers through a maze of mergers and acquisitions, to develop a coordinated pattern of labor agreements within the industry and to improve contract language and strengthen the voice for members.

Leeann Foster, who currently serves as Assistant to the International President and has served as Associate General Counsel since the 2005 USW/PACE merger, will replace Geenen.

Foster works as the lead bargainer with many companies within the paper sector, as well as leading the union’s Women of Steel leadership program. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the IndustriALL Global Union working group for the pulp and paper sector.

Together with Geenen, Foster has led the USW paper industry through difficult bargaining and has worked to develop a safety strategy within the sector.

Throughout these changes, the USW remains a progressive and powerful voice for workers in the United States and Canada and around the world.

“Our union is changing and becoming more diverse,” said Gerard. “We represent more different kinds of workers in more and more sectors, and our board is changing to reflect that growth. The USW is committed to bringing forward the next generation of labor leaders and to provide the tools, training, and opportunity they will need to succeed.

“These changes in leadership do not mean we are shrinking from any of our longstanding commitments. Rather, these new leaders are redoubling our promises to them and to our mission to always fight for the working class. The new team brings vast experience and knowledge of our industries and issues and will continue the proud traditions the union has always stood for.”

“While we will miss our colleagues,” said Conway, “we recognize their desire to move into new phases of their lives, and we wish all the best for them. They have left behind a solid and stable union, and for that, we thank them.”

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

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USW’s Anna Fendley Selected as IndustriALL North American Vice President https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usws-anna-fendley-selected-as-industriall-north-american-vice-president Thu, 23 May 2019 09:48:25 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usws-anna-fendley-selected-as-industriall-north-american-vice-president CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that USW Associate Legislative Director Anna Fendley has been selected as Vice President for the North American region of the global labor union IndustriALL.

Fendley has worked in various positions at the USW for a decade, including the past six years in the USW’s Washington, D.C., office. She also chairs the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) youth committee, of which she’s been a member since 2014.

“Anna is doing exceptional work in our legislative office, tackling a wide range of issues from health and safety to health care to climate and energy,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “We know she is more than ready to take on this new role.”

Fendley will take over for retiring USW Vice President Carol Landry on the IndustriALL executive board, effectively immediately.

IndustriALL is a global federation of labor unions founded in June 2012. It has more than 600 affiliates from 140 countries, all fighting for better working conditions and workers’ rights.

The first woman to hold the position, Landry was elected as IndustriALL North American Vice President at the 2016 IndustriALL World Congress meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I’m so proud to see the next generation taking on these fights,” said Landry. “With activists like Anna leading the charge, the global labor movement is in good hands.”

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

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USW: Section 232 Agreement Will Advance North American Steel, Aluminum Production, Promote National Security https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-section-232-agreement-will-advance-north-american-steel-aluminum-production-promote-national-security Fri, 17 May 2019 13:57:20 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-section-232-agreement-will-advance-north-american-steel-aluminum-production-promote-national-security CONTACT: Holly Hart, 202-778-4384, hhart@usw.org

The United Steelworkers union (USW) released the following statement today after the United States, Canada and Mexico reached an agreement on lifting U.S. Section 232 sanctions on aluminum and steel imports into the United States and ending retaliatory action by Canada and Mexico.

“Today’s agreement will help restore confidence and stability to the North American steel and aluminum markets,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “From day one, we made it clear that the real problem isn’t Canada or Mexico, but those countries that are undermining the trading system through predatory trade practices and non-market policies that have created massive overcapacity and trade imbalance.  

“We must now focus on ensuring that the production, employment and investments that the 232 actions stimulated continue and that our core national security interests are advanced.

“Let’s not forget that the basis for this action was protecting our national security and critical infrastructure. That objective remains, and today’s agreement, with its monitoring provisions, will ensure this goal is met.  

“Tariffs on steel and aluminum have already strengthened these critical U.S. industries, and workers are either back at work or being trained for new jobs necessary to meet our nation’s needs.  

“Today’s deal should not only ensure that our unique economic, defense, security and intelligence relationship with Canada remains strong, but that our equally skilled Canadian members in steel and aluminum will no longer be hurt.”

“Steel and aluminum are the backbone of our nation’s economy, defense and critical infrastructure,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “The Section 232 action has helped stabilize and promote the U.S. industry’s position and protected and increased jobs.  

“Canada and Mexico, as a result of today’s deal, are expected to be partners in ensuring that unfairly traded products won’t undermine the strength of our steel and aluminum companies. New monitoring provisions will allow for early detection if transshipment and circumvention occur. These provisions must be strictly enforced, and we will be on the lookout for product surges fostered by metal traders who are trying to take advantage of our market.

“We expect that the companies that benefitted from the Section 232 actions and today’s deal will invest in their operations and their workers, rather than jeopardizing our security interests by lining their pockets.

“The USW has fought for relief against unfair trade, and it is our fight that has helped foster the strength of these industries.”

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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With No Contract Resolution Imminent, USW and Arconic Agree to Extend Labor Agreements as Bargaining Continues https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/with-no-contract-resolution-imminent-usw-and-arconic-agree-to-extend-labor-agreements-as-bargaining-continues Wed, 15 May 2019 21:58:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/with-no-contract-resolution-imminent-usw-and-arconic-agree-to-extend-labor-agreements-as-bargaining-continues CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592, tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that contract negotiations with Arconic (NYSE: ARNC) have stalled, hours before the existing labor agreements are set to expire and with management demanding economic and non-economic concessions that the union has dismissed as excessive and unnecessary.

The union and company have agreed that USW members at Arconic will continue working under the terms and conditions of their existing agreements while bargaining continues.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the negotiations, said that the proposals currently on the table from Arconic contain concessions both too broad and too deep for USW members and their families to absorb.

“Arconic should understand by now that we are determined to negotiate fair agreements and nothing less,” Conway said. “Our members throughout the aluminum industry—especially at these facilities—create tremendous value and have earned and deserve a contract that recognizes that their contributions to the company's success.”

Representatives of the USW negotiating committee will return to their local unions in the coming days to provide detailed updates from the table and discuss the union's next steps.

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

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USW Negotiations with Alcoa Stall Hours before Expiration: Members Should Report for All Scheduled Shifts https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-negotiations-with-alcoa-stall-hours-before-expiration-members-should-report-for-all-scheduled-shifts Wed, 15 May 2019 21:52:49 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-negotiations-with-alcoa-stall-hours-before-expiration-members-should-report-for-all-scheduled-shifts CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592, tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that contract negotiations with Alcoa (NYSE: AA) have broken off, hours before contract expiration and with the company demanding economic and non-economic concessions that the union has dismissed as excessive and unnecessary.

The USW and Alcoa have agreed that union members will continue working under the terms and conditions of their current contracts while negotiations proceed.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the negotiations, said that the proposals currently on the table from Alcoa contain givebacks both too broad and too deep for our members and families to absorb.

“Management should understand by now that we are determined to negotiate fair agreements and nothing less,” Conway said. “Our members at Alcoa create tremendous value and have earned and deserve a contract that recognizes their contributions to the company's continued success.”

In the coming days, representatives from the USW negotiating committee will be returning to their local unions to provide detailed updates from the table and discuss the union's next steps.

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

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Judge Orders New Union Vote at Kumho Tire Plant in Georgia https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/judge-orders-new-union-vote-at-kumho-tire-plant-in-georgia Wed, 15 May 2019 15:36:42 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/judge-orders-new-union-vote-at-kumho-tire-plant-in-georgia CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

An administrative law judge ordered a new union vote at a Kumho Tire factory in Macon, Ga., after finding that company officials violated workers’ rights during  the first election in October 2017.

The first vote resulted in a narrow loss for the workers, who were seeking to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union. Following that vote, the USW filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of illegal conduct in its effort to suppress the union.

In his ruling, Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan wrote that the company’s illegal conduct was “pervasive” and that it warranted not only a new election, but the “extraordinary” remedy of requiring company officials to read a notice to all of its employees outlining the specific ways in which they violated the workers’ rights.

Kumho’s violations, Amchan said, included illegally interrogating employees, threatening to fire union supporters, threatening plant closure, and creating an impression of surveillance, among other threats to workers.

“This ruling is a major victory, not just for the brave Kumho Tire workers and not just for union members, but for all workers who want to improve their lives through organizing,” said Daniel Flippo, director of the USW’s District 9, which includes Georgia and six other southern states, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. “The USW is committed to fighting for all workers’ rights.”

The USW recently used the Kumho election as a case study during a meeting with members of the Congressional Blue Collar Caucus in advocating for passage of the PRO Act (H.R. 2474), a labor law reform bill that would increase protections for workers who engage in union organizing and other collective action in their workplaces, and also would increase penalties on employers who violate workers’ rights.

The USW has been working with the AFL-CIO and other unions to build support for the bill.

“Workers are routinely threatened with plant closure, job displacement, or economic harm,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard wrote in a letter in support of the legislation. “Now is the time for Congress to act and provide millions of America’s workers the tools they need to secure a better future for themselves and their families.”

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

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USW: PLRB to Hold Hearing on Unfair Labor Practice Charges in Pitt Grad Election https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-plrb-to-hold-hearing-on-unfair-labor-practice-charges-in-pitt-grad-election Mon, 13 May 2019 10:51:55 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-plrb-to-hold-hearing-on-unfair-labor-practice-charges-in-pitt-grad-election CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

The United Steelworkers union (USW) said today that the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) will hold a hearing May 14 and 15 to address unfair labor practice (ULP) charges and objections the union filed on behalf of graduate student employees at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Graduate student organizers contend that the Pitt administration took illegal actions to influence the outcome of last month’s union election.

These actions included coordination between election watchers and university administrators during the election to track who had voted, and communications between supervisors and graduate student workers that further reinforced that their votes were being monitored.

“There is no doubt the administration’s conduct tainted the results of the election,” said Kimberly Garrett, a graduate student researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health. “We have a right to vote without coercion, and last month we were denied that right.”

Organizers are calling on the PLRB to set aside the April 15-18 election results and direct a new election. They are also requesting the PLRB require the Pitt administration to post a document conceding the illegality of its conduct. 

Graduate student organizers said that as the legal process unfolds, they intend to keep actively organizing.

“Our need for greater transparency in the decision making-processes that impact our work lives, freedom from harassment and discrimination, and sufficient wages and benefits to provide for ourselves and our loved ones is as pressing now as it was when we began organizing over four years ago,” said Hillary Lazar, a graduate student teaching fellow in the sociology department. “We will not give up this fight.”

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 Urges Passage of Bill to Protect Workers’ Rights https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-urges-passage-of-bill-to-protect-workers-rights Wed, 08 May 2019 13:07:26 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-urges-passage-of-bill-to-protect-workers-rights CONTACT: Roy Houseman, (202) 778-3312, rhouseman@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union is urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, as a means of empowering workers, reducing poverty and boosting the U.S. economy.

“The ability to form a union is one of the surest ways to improving economic outcomes,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard wrote in the letter sent to members of Congress this week. “In order to unlock the potential benefits of unionization, workers need Congress to address the ability of employers to flaunt current labor laws.”

The bill would increase protections for workers who engage in union organizing and other collective action in their workplaces, and also would increase penalties on employers who violate workers’ rights.

The PRO Act would “empower future generations of workers to act collectively,” Gerard wrote.

The House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on the proposed legislation on Wednesday, May 8. Testifying before the committee will be AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, among other labor law experts.

The USW has been working with the AFL-CIO and other unions to build support for labor law reform, participating in briefings and meetings across Capitol Hill. Last week, USW Organizing Director Maria Somma met with members of the Blue Collar Caucus to highlight the illegal tactics employers use and how the lack of penalties creates a culture of fear in many workplaces.

Protecting workers’ rights allows them to reach their full economic potential, which will benefit all Americans, Gerard wrote.

“Workers are routinely threatened with plant closure, job displacement, or economic harm,” he said. “Now is the time for Congress to act and provide millions of America’s workers with the tools they need to secure a better future for themselves and their families.”

A copy of Gerard’s letter to Congress can be found here.

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

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Locked-Out ABI Workers Demonstrate at Alcoa Annual Meeting https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/locked-out-abi-workers-demonstrate-at-alcoa-annual-meeting Wed, 08 May 2019 08:41:28 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/locked-out-abi-workers-demonstrate-at-alcoa-annual-meeting CONTACT: Clairandrée Cauchy (Montreal), 514-774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca; Tony Montana (Pittsburgh), 412-562-2592, tmontana@usw.org; Bob Gallagher (Toronto), 416-544-5966, bgallagher@usw.ca

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that some 200 locked-out USW Local 9700 members from the ABI aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Quebec, drove more than 12 hours to demonstrate at Alcoa's (NYSE: AA) shareholders’ meeting today. A delegation of union representatives equipped with shareholders’ proxies also attended the meeting to address Alcoa’s role in the 16-month lockout of 1,030 workers at the ABI smelter.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard pointed out that the lockout has brought no benefits to Alcoa over the last 16 months.

“The company’s shares have lost half their value. Income losses have been significant, and Alcoa management should be held accountable for choosing the path of confrontation and conflict,” Gerard said. “The company must end this lockout at once and negotiate in good faith with its workers for a fair contract.”

USW Local 9700 President Clément Masse urged Alcoa shareholders to issue a mandate to executives and demand that they resolve the lockout at the bargaining table.

“Aluminum smelters that are currently performing well in the market are those that have the ability to add value to raw aluminum production, which is precisely what ABI does,” Masse said. “Our smelter is a versatile, leading-edge casting facility with skilled workers who can produce complex alloys and a wide variety of high value-added products.”

“This is a costly lockout that is depriving Alcoa of one of its largest production capacities at a plant with the lowest labor costs in North America,” Masse said. “Yet Alcoa is leaving this multi-billion-dollar asset dormant.”

“We know there are ways to improve certain aspects of the plant’s operation, but these improvements must be pursued in co-operation with the workers, not by trying to shove unilateral changes down workers’ throats,” Masse said. “Workers are eager to get back to manufacturing quality aluminum, but that process must include a negotiated labor agreement and mutual respect.”

Assistant to the USW District 5 Director Dominic Lemieux pointed out that ABI, a joint venture between Alcoa, which owns 75 percent, and Rio Tinto, which holds the remaining 25 percent, locked out workers in January 2018, even though the union had agreed to pursue pension plan changes to address issues raised by the company and its shareholders.

“Once this important change was accepted, Alcoa and Rio Tinto still opted to implement a lockout rather than pursue a negotiated settlement,” Lemieux said. “Since then, the company has only made things worse by introducing new demands for concessions while rejecting further negotiations or arbitration.”

“We are here today because we believe shareholders must demand action from management to restore these workers to their jobs, beginning with a return to good faith negotiations,” Lemieux said. “It costs nothing to show respect for workers, but 16 months later, shareholders are paying dearly for the company’s mismanagement at ABI.”

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

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Hundreds of Locked-Out ABI Workers to Rally at Annual Alcoa Meeting https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/hundreds-of-locked-out-abi-workers-to-rally-at-annual-alcoa-meeting Tue, 07 May 2019 11:58:46 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/hundreds-of-locked-out-abi-workers-to-rally-at-annual-alcoa-meeting CONTACTS: 

Clairandrée Cauchy (Montreal) 514-774-4001 ccauchy@metallos.ca; Tony Montana (Pittsburgh) 412-562-2592 tmontana@usw.org; Bob Gallagher (Toronto) 416-544-5966 bgallagher@usw.ca

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, about 200 locked-out workers from the ABI aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Quebec, will demonstrate outside Alcoa’s (NYSE: AA) annual shareholders meeting at the Hotel Fairmont Pittsburgh.

ABI, a joint venture between majority-owner Alcoa and Rio Tinto, locked out some 1,030 members of USW Local 9700 on Jan. 11, 2018. The union will send proxy-holding delegates into the meeting to raise questions about the 16-month lockout with the company’s shareholders and top executives.

The group will assemble at USW international headquarters before marching to the Fairmont for the rally at 9:30 a.m., where the union will hold a short news conference for reporters at 9:40 a.m.

Later Wednesday morning, the locked-out workers also will demonstrate at Alcoa and Arconic headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Attention Assignment/Editors: Speakers, Interviews & Photo Opportunities

WHO:              About 200 locked-out USW Local 9700 members from Alcoa’s ABI aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Quebec; local and international union leaders

WHAT:            March from USW headquarters to rally outside Alcoa’s annual shareholders meeting

WHEN:            Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Rally from 9:30 until 10 a.m., news briefing at 9:40 a.m.

WHERE:           Hotel Fairmont Pittsburgh, 510 Market Street, Pittsburgh

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USW Welcomes Investments Announced for Mon Valley Works https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-welcomes-investments-announced-for-mon-valley-works-capital-expenditures-by-u-s-steel-will-improve-air-quality-secure-jobs Thu, 02 May 2019 10:49:15 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/usw-welcomes-investments-announced-for-mon-valley-works-capital-expenditures-by-u-s-steel-will-improve-air-quality-secure-jobs Capital Expenditures by U.S. Steel Will Improve Air Quality, Secure Jobs

CONTACT: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; tmontana@usw.org

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today welcomed U.S. Steel’s announced plans to invest more than $1 billion to construct a cutting-edge endless casting and rolling facility at its Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock, Pa., and a new cogeneration facility at its plant in Clairton, Pa., to convert gas from the coke ovens into electricity that will power all of the company’s Mon Valley Works operations and feature state-of-the-art emissions control systems.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard applauded U.S. Steel’s decision to invest significant capital into these two Pittsburgh-area facilities.

“Almost 127 years after the Battle of Homestead, U.S. Steel seems to understand that the ultimate measure of the company’s success cannot be calculated just in profits and share price,” Gerard said. “This investment demonstrates a commitment to operate in the best interests of its employees and their communities and shows respect for the part our members, their families and neighbors have played in keeping the proud tradition of steelmaking alive in the Mon Valley for over a century.”

USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the union’s negotiations with U.S. Steel, added that the proposed improvements will not negatively impact employment but instead will bolster the long-term job security of about 3,000 USW represented workers at the company’s facilities in Western Pennsylvania.

“Together, these projects will reduce U.S. Steel’s carbon footprint significantly and improve regional air quality by reducing emissions of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide,” Conway said. “Just as importantly, these investments will provide much-needed job security for current employees and future generations of Steelworkers at this historic and soon-to-be much more modern integrated steelmaking complex.”

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

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Global unions target safety at work in pulp, paper, graphical and packaging in a year of action https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/global-unions-target-safety-at-work-in-pulp-paper-graphical-and-packaging-in-a-year-of-action Fri, 26 Apr 2019 10:03:04 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2019/global-unions-target-safety-at-work-in-pulp-paper-graphical-and-packaging-in-a-year-of-action CONTACT:
Leeann Foster, lfoster@usw.org, 412-225-5964
Jess Kamm Broomell, jkamm@usw.org, 412-562-2444

Workers in the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors, represented globally by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI, are using this 2019 Workers Memorial Day to kick off a yearlong campaign around the three fundamental worker rights needed to make work safe: (1) The Right to Know – workers must know the hazards and risks in their workplace; (2) The Right to Act (commonly known as the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work Without Punishment); and (3) the Right to Participate in the programs and structures that manage safety in the workplace.  Each of these Rights will be highlighted with action by workers across the global pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors.

May and June 2019 will focus on a Worker’s Right to Know. Right-to-Know laws typically focus on a worker’s right to know the hazardous substances and dangerous chemicals they work with, but workers require information on so much more that could endanger them at work.  Workers require:

  • Information on all workplace hazard information, including dangerous chemicals and materials but also hazardous tools, equipment, work processes and the way work is organized;
  • An accurate evaluation of hazards.  Where gaps in knowledge exist they should be filled;
  • Hazard and risk assessment done with workers participation.  The only people with the moral authority to assess a risk are those who must face it;
  • This means industrial hygiene surveys belong to workers.  Toxicology studies belong to workers.  Ergonomic surveys belong to workers.

“We invite the global pulp, paper and packaging sectors to work with workers and their representatives to fully facilitate the right to know and, by doing so, build safer and healthier workplaces, “ said Joaquina Rodriguez, president of UNI Graphical and Packaging.

“All health and safety standards exist because of trade union action and we invite the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging industries to share information and build safety programs together with their workers who know the work and its hazards better than anyone else, “ said Leeann Foster, IndustriALL Pulp and Paper Working Group Co-Chair and Assistant to the International President at the  United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW).

Similar international mobilizations will be conducted in September/October 2019 around the Right to Act and focusing March/April 2020 on the Right to Participate, culminating with Workers Memorial Day 2020.

Workers Memorial Day, observed by unions across the globe on April 28 of each year, is dedicated to remembering those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the struggle for safe jobs.  Worldwide, more than 380,000 workers die tragically at work each year, and another 2.4 million die from work-related illness.

The pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors are extremely dangerous, with a number of fatalities and even more life-altering injuries occurring across the globe annually. Transparency with workers on information relating to their health and safety and employer engagement with workers and their unions is fundamental to address loss of life and limb in the industry.

The two international unions, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI, bring together unions on all continents across these four industries. See more on the two global union websites: www.industriall-union.org and www.uniglobalunion.org.

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. The USW is an affiliate of IndustriALL and UNI.

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