Monday Morning Minute: Dec. 14, 2020

Union Work

American Roots Union-Made Masks and Other Pandemic PPE

American Roots is a USW shop represented by Local 366, located in Westbrook, Maine, that has produced face masks, shields and other personal protective equipment (PPE) items throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These items are union-made in America with 100% American materials, so you will never have to worry about a shipment of their products being delayed by customs inspections, trade politics or other global events.

The company has a stockpile of face masks, and is selling the remaining inventory at a discounted price. This includes a logo as shown in the below photo, in case your local or employer needs additional masks or wants to know where to purchase those that are American and union-made. Discounts on orders range from 10% to 20% off those placed this month, depending on the number of units ordered.

Face coverings are recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Since there is a portion of the population who is infected but not showing symptoms (asymptomatic), the CDC recommends that everyone wear a face covering whenever in public spaces. A cloth face covering helps prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. This is especially important given some people are infected but do not show symptoms. Support your fellow USW brothers and sisters working at American Roots while slowing the spread of COVID-19 by placing an order.

Product specifications and contact information for placing orders are contained in the this brochure.

Click here to visit their website.


States and Comprehensive COVID-19 Worker Protections

As of the beginning of December, 14 states adopted comprehensive COVID-19 worker safety protections, including: California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington. Virginia was the first state to pass an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) around COVID-19 the week of July 27 with assistance from comments submitted by the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department.

Some states issued executive orders with very specific worker protection requirements, and in addition to Virginia, Oregon and Michigan also issued emergency standards. Other states issued guidelines, some of which they intend to enforce. Some cities as well issued protective ordinances for workers. Many states’ executive orders (including the Virginia standard) require employers to heed the following:

In some states, such as Oregon, Michigan and Nevada, enforcement is handled by state occupational safety and health agencies; in others, by health departments, labor departments and the attorney general’s office. Some states where federal OSHA has traditionally done enforcement are still figuring out how best to enforce these protections.

In addition to these protocols, separate executive orders requiring face masks in the workplace have been issued by some governors, including North Carolina, Texas and Massachusetts, counties, and cities, including Raleigh, N.C., and Philadelphia. Philadelphia also issued the first citywide ordinance protecting workers from retaliation for raising COVID-19 safety and health concerns or for refusing to work under unsafe conditions related to COVID-19.

A comprehensive list of states and other jurisdictions that passed COVID-19 worker safety protections can be found at the following link:

Industry Update

Kimberly-Clark Invests $150 Million Converting to Natural Gas at Chester, Pa., Mill

USW Local 10-448 – Kimberly-Clark – Chester, Pa. – Kimberly-Clark began demolition of the coal-fired, steam plant at its mill in Chester, Pa., as part of a $150 million investment to make the site more environmentally-efficient. According to a local news article form the Delco Times, the entire building will be taken down to the ground and cleared out over the next three months.

The Chester mill operates five tissue paper machines, two of which are through-air-dried (TAD), and it produces consumer tissue products including the Scott brand. Nearly 500 USW members currently work at the mill; the switch from coal to natural gas will help the facility become more competitive and open up the possibility for bringing in additional good-paying jobs at the mill.

Tell Us Your Stories!

Has your local done something amazing? Have you had a great solidarity action? Done something huge to help your community? Made significant connections with other labor groups? Is your Women of Steel or Next Gen committee making waves? Have you had success in bargaining, major accomplishments? We all stay so busy working to improve our workplaces and communities that we often do not take 5 minutes to reflect, share and celebrate our accomplishments.

Tell us your story so we can all be part of it! Contact Laura Donovan at, or at 412-562-2504.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222