Monday Morning Minute: Feb. 28, 2022

Union Work

USW Call for Member Organizers

Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen how workers are ready for change. It’s time to show those workers that they can make improvements at work, in their lives and for their families by becoming USW members and getting union contracts. To do that, we need to organize, and to organize, we need trusted messengers. That’s where our members come in.

The USW is looking for members from all demographics who are passionate about their union. Members with good communication and listening skills would be particularly well-suited to this opportunity, especially members who speak more than one language. Organizers are on the job when workers are not at work, so members should be prepared to work long and irregular hours. And, of course, they have to be able to get out of their shop on union leave—preferably for longer periods of time. The International will cover lost wages, mileage and any travel costs.

This call is particularly important to the paper sector as we ramp up efforts to organize more box shops and other paper facilities across the U.S. If you’re interested in joining this effort, please fill out the organizer application contained at the following link: Apply to be a USW Member Organizer | United Steelworkers.

We are looking for serious, dedicated activists, and intensive training and travel will be required. If you have questions, please call 877-511-8792.

State of Wisconsin to Provide up to $8.2 Million in Matching Funds Related to “The Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant”

Earlier this month, it was announced that the state of Wisconsin has committed to provide up to $8.2 million in matching funds to support a federal grant application for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge submitted by the Wisconsin Paper Council. The two-phase competition for grant funding will ultimately award 20-30 regional coalitions across the United States between $25 and $100 million to implement 3-8 projects that support an industry sector.

The prospective project submitted by the Wisconsin Paper Council – a trade coalition comprised of various entities that advocate for Wisconsin’s paper, pulp and forestry industries before state and federal elected officials and regulators – successfully made it through the first stage of the application process and was one of 60 finalists to receive a $500,000 planning grant. In order to be eligible to apply for the next round of the process, applicants have to prove that they can provide at least $20 million in matching funds for their project. The coalition has already raised about $11.8 million from businesses, tribal and local governments, individuals and nonprofits; with the state’s additional commitment, the required threshold for stage 2 has been met.

The paper industry in Wisconsin is the largest in the nation, providing jobs to nearly 10,000 USW members and contributing $14.6 billion to manufacturing output in the state. The USW paper sector experienced several closures in the state in recent years due to changes in demand and other economic factors. If awarded grant funds, the projects proposed by the coalition will reinforce the region’s innovation capacity, supply chain and labor force to ensure that the businesses located here can confidently make the capital investments necessary to diversify into new markets and grow and sustain operations long term.


New OSHA Alert on Improving Workplace Ventilation During Cold Weather

Indoor air quality in the workplace during cold weather is especially critical while influenza, cold and COVID-19 viruses are circulating. Improving ventilation is a key engineering control that can be used to increase the delivery of clean air and remove or reduce the concentration of viral particles or other contaminants. Building managers may perform some steps to improve indoor air, while others should be conducted by a qualified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.

Key steps to improve ventilation include:

To view the entire alert and requisites for maintaining an HVAC system, click here: Improving Workplace Ventilation During Cold Weather (

Industry Update

Paper-Based, At-Home COVID-19 Test with the Accuracy of PCR has been Developed by a Researcher at the University of Connecticut

A researcher at the University of Connecticut developed a paper-based test for COVID-19 that is comparable to PCR accuracy. The “lab-on-paper” diagnostic system detects genes related to the virus using CRISPR – a revolutionary gene-editing tool with many applications, from creating disease-resistant crops to potentially curing hereditary diseases in humans.

The test involves adding the cellulose-based pH paper membrane to a smart cup along with a nasal swab to incubate for 40 minutes. Results are indicated as the pH of the paper changes color.

Even as the virus mutates, it will be detectable by the paper-based device as the two SARS-CoV-2 genes that are identified are found across different variants. The test could also have broader applications for diagnosing other viruses, including HIV, influenza or HPV by modifying the genes it detects.

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