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USW Applauds Biden’s Plan for Manufacturing, Innovation

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 06:39

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

PITTSBURGH – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement in response to the manufacturing and innovation segment of Joe Biden’s Build Back Better economic plan, released today:

“Recovering from the Covid-19 crisis and ensuring shared prosperity for generations to come will take bold action and a sustained commitment. Joe Biden’s plan for revitalizing American manufacturing demonstrates both.

“As the pandemic made clear, our country must be able to supply its own needs. And now, more than ever, we urgently need to create good, family-sustaining jobs, both to stop the economic freefall and reverse decades of rampant economic inequality.

“Biden will jump-start American manufacturing through a long-needed investment in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Coupled with strong ‘Buy American’ provisions that ensure tax money supports domestic industry, this rebuilding campaign will make our country more secure and create millions of jobs. 

“His plan also includes a massive procurement commitment as well as a roadmap for bringing critical supply chains back to the United States. These provisions will put our country on stronger economic footing and bolster our national security.  

“Just as crucially, Biden’s plan acknowledges the necessity of strong labor protections that enable workers to bargain collectively for higher wages and better benefits. By supporting the PRO Act, Biden will ensure that the jobs created through his economic plan are middle-class jobs that enable workers to live the American dream. 

“Our nation needs a leader who understands the necessity of a strong manufacturing base; from medicines to steel to clean energy technology, our country must produce things here and pay workers competitive wages to make them. 

“Joe Biden’s plan demonstrates that he not only grasps the strategic importance of domestic manufacturing but also values American workers.”

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

Pitt Grad Student Organizers Condemn Changes to ICE Student Exchange and Visitor Program Rules

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 11:51

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

Members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC-USW) at the University of Pittsburgh today issued a statement expressing solidarity with international students and denouncing the Trump administration’s recent modifications of existing ICE Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) rules.

Under the rule change, students in the United States on F-1 visas must take at least one in-person class or face deportation. This comes at a time when many universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, are still weighing their options for online instruction in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“This is yet another targeted attack on immigrants disguised as a premature return to ‘business as usual,’” the statement reads. “The modified policy not only forces international students to choose between our safety and academic careers, but also makes it especially dangerous for us to join the call to cancel in-person teaching.”

The group commended the Pitt administration’s call to reverse the decision, but stated university leaders needed to do more.

“We ask that Pitt immediately halt its expensive legal campaigns designed to deny us our right to form a union, and instead divert those millions of dollars to take legal action, which must include retaining immigration attorneys to serve students and faculty,” the statement reads.

“As a union, we are committed to fighting for the rights of all people to study, teach, and conduct research without having to compromise their health, safety, or visa status. We will not sit idly by while more workers become collateral damage due to the U.S. government’s abdication of its duties. Similarly, we will continue to hold the Pitt administration accountable to make sure it protects the safety and wellbeing of our community when making decisions about the upcoming academic year,” according to the statement.

Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh filed for an election to join the USW in 2017. Last fall, a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hearing examiner found that the university administration committed “coercive acts” that undermined the integrity of that election, held in April 2019, and ordered a new one. The Pitt administration appealed the decision, and this process is still underway.

The full GSOC-USW statement on the SEVP rule changes is available here

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

USW International President Testifies on Manufacturing, Climate Crisis

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:18

Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway testified today before the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, calling for robust investments in domestic manufacturing that will both create jobs and reduce emissions.

“We can and must transform our manufacturing sector to become the cleanest, most efficient, most advanced in the world,” said Conway in his testimony. “Our goal should be to accomplish that mission without displacing a single worker.”

This will require financial commitments from top policymakers, so that manufacturers can upgrade their operations to make them more efficient, Conway said. These include the recommendations outlined in the BlueGreen Alliance’s manufacturing agenda released last week.

Ensuring that domestic manufacturers can remain globally competitive as they make costly investments is also essential.

“As long as domestic manufacturers are bearing any cost of reducing emissions that is not borne by foreign competitors, they will be at a disadvantage in the marketplace,” said Conway. “Therefore, we must also have a strong, comprehensive, and timely border adjustment mechanism.”

Finally, preserving and creating good, family-sustaining jobs must remain the central focus. “We must, above all, ensure that American workers are the leaders of this charge, not the victims of it,” Conway said.

Read the full testimony here

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

USW Says Much Work Remains to Ensure Effectiveness of USMCA

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 08:56

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement on the effective date of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA):

“The USW sought for years to replace the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with an agreement that was fair to workers, that ensured good jobs for families and communities in all three countries, and that protected our planet for future generations.

“While the new version of NAFTA, the USMCA, gets us closer to those goals, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that this new deal is effective in protecting good jobs, preserving our environment, and ensuring workers’ rights.

“Despite the big promises workers have gotten from Washington, D.C., in recent years, the U.S. trade deficit with its North American trading partners has only increased under this administration. This is simply unacceptable and unsustainable. We have to do better.

“The labor movement, led by thousands of USW members, pushed hard to ensure that the USMCA was a significant improvement over NAFTA, which cost the United States tens of thousands of good manufacturing jobs. Thanks to the hard work of Democrats in Congress, the new agreement contains stronger language to protect good jobs from offshoring and to ensure workers’ rights, particularly in Mexico.

“Unfortunately, Mexico’s government still fails to control greedy corporations and provide the strong labor protections that the Mexican people deserve.

“The harsh repression of democratic unions in Mexico by Grupo Mexico (which has also been charged by the National Labor Relations Board with violating the rights of USW and other union members at its Asarco subsidiary in the U.S.), the murders of union organizers at Canadian company Torex Gold, and the recent unjust arrest and imprisonment of labor attorney Susana Prieto Terrazas, prove that Mexico hasn’t stopped the bullying of workers and their allies.

“We also can’t ignore that today’s implementation of the USMCA comes at a perilous time for all workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken thousands of lives, cost millions their jobs, and put the health of millions more at risk. Now, more than ever, we need to protect working people and fight for good, family-supporting jobs for people across North America.

“Simply put, the USMCA is a baseline, not a final destination. It sets minimum standards, and we must continue to fight each day to ensure those standards are enforced. As we look forward to future trade pacts with other countries, we will seek even stronger rules to protect workers and communities from offshoring, pollution, unfair trade policies and violations of labor rights.”

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 Salutes the Heroism of Postal Workers

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 06:55

Contact: Joe Smydo, jsmydo@usw.org, 412-562-2281

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway today issued the following statement in honor of National Postal Worker Day.

“National Postal Worker Day takes on added significance this year because of the tremendous sacrifices that these dedicated public servants have made to keep the nation functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Postal workers risk their lives every day to deliver the medicines and other supplies that their fellow Americans need to survive the health crisis. They bring the letters that keep families and friends connected during this unprecedented period of lockdowns. 

“And come November, the U.S. Postal Service will play a critical role in preserving American democracy by delivering the unusually large number of absentee ballots likely to be cast in a presidential election occurring amid the pandemic. 

“Sadly, although the postal service is more important than ever, its fate has never been in greater jeopardy.

“Unless Congress and President Donald Trump act quickly, the postal service will soon be forced into bankruptcy because of budget problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 recession. The U.S. mail is a lifeline Americans cannot afford to lose. That’s why the public overwhelmingly supports saving it.

“The USW salutes postal workers for their heroic service to America and calls on the federal government to take immediate steps to safeguard this vital institution.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers 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.

Carnegie Museum Workers Announce Organizing Campaign to Join USW

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 10:00

Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, 412-212-8173

(PITTSBURGH) – Workers from across four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh locations announced on Monday, June 29, that they will be conducting an election to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union. 

Presenting themselves as the United Museum Workers, the group of more than 500 scientists, educators, art handlers, front staff, gift shop clerks, event ushers, and other workers said, in their mission statement, “We are proud future members of the United Steelworkers union, whose members built the fortune of our museum’s founder.”

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh was founded in 1895, originally as the Carnegie Institute, by steel giant Andrew Carnegie. The museums consist of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Despite their diverse range of departments and duties, Gabi DiDonna, an assistant registrar of loans at the Carnegie Museum of Art, said in the campaign’s video announcement, “What unites us is a dedication to preserving and presenting art, scientific collections, and ideas.”

DiDonna also said that although working at a prestigious, mission-driven nonprofit is often a labor of love, many of the workers struggle to make ends meet. “Prestige doesn’t pay the rent,” she said.

Along with better pay and benefits, the United Museum Workers are demanding inclusivity in hiring, accessibility, increased transparency and a voice in the museum’s decision-making process.

“We are looking forward to the days ahead,” DiDonna said at the rally’s conclusion, “and we can’t wait to win our election.”

The USW represents 850,000 working people 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, higher education, tech and service occupations.

 

As Carnegie Museums Reopen, Workers Launch Unionization Effort

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 07:25

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

MEDIA ADVISORY

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that roughly 500 workers from the Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Science Center are taking steps toward organizing a union at their workplaces.

At 6:30 p.m. today, the union will sponsor a multimedia campaign launch and virtual card drop to be streamed on both Facebook Live and YouTube, where employees from each of the museums will talk about the many reasons that they have chosen to join together and bargain with a stronger voice for safer workplaces and fair wages and benefits.

Workers who will participate in the campaign perform a variety of important jobs at the museums, interact with guests constantly and often care for priceless or unique exhibits.

The announcement comes on the eve of the 128th anniversary of the Battle of Homestead, a watershed moment in U.S. labor history, where workers engaged in a strike against Carnegie Steel over issues that included management ignoring employees’ concerns about dangerous working conditions and low wages.

WHO: Workers from all four of the Carnegie Museums

WHAT: Multimedia Launch of Organizing Campaign with the USW

WHEN: 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 29, 2020

WHERE: https://www.facebook.com/steelworkers/live/ or   https://www.youtube.com/Steelworkers

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

PLRB Hearing Examiner Rules Pitt Inflated Faculty List to Impede Union

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 07:19

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) hearing examiner ruled today that the University of Pittsburgh administration artificially inflated a list of its faculty employees in order to impede a unionization campaign by the workers to join the United Steelworkers (USW).

PLRB Hearing Examiner Stephen A. Helmerich said that the employee list the administration provided to the board “was factually and legally inaccurate” and that more than 300 names should be removed, including upper administrators, supervisors and others, including some who had left the university years earlier.

In order to trigger a unionization vote, the union needed to show support from at least 30 percent of the potential bargaining unit. The administration supplied an inflated list, which included more than 4,000 names, making that 30 percent threshold harder to reach.

“This is only the most recent example of the administration’s hostility to the faculty exercising their right to vote,” said Peter Campbell, assistant professor of English. “The administration also recently had the Faculty Association of the School of Medicine abolished, which had existed since 1976, without allowing the faculty it represented to vote on it.”

The USW expects the administration to appeal the ruling. The administration spent more than $1 million over the 2018-2019 fiscal year on fees to the union-busting law firm Ballard Spahr.

“Using frivolous litigation to delay an election is a classic union-busting tactic,” said Claude Mauk, senior lecturer in linguistics. “Clearly they’re worried that faculty, once they have the choice, will seize the opportunity to compel the administration to shift the university's priorities back to the teaching, research, and clinical work that faculty do.”

“It’s appalling that, during a period in which many of the university’s lowest-paid faculty are being laid off, the administration is choosing to spend taxpayer dollars and student tuition on unionbusting,” said USW International President Tom Conway.

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

USW Backs BlueGreen Alliance National Manufacturing Agenda

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 12:39

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union, along with other members and leaders of the labor-environmental partnership BlueGreen Alliance (BGA), today launched the group’s ambitious agenda to rebuild American manufacturing while fighting the effects of climate change.

The BGA, founded in 2006 by the USW and the Sierra Club, now includes more than a dozen unions and environmental organizations committed to fighting for good jobs, clean infrastructure and fair trade. The group’s proposal, released today, outlines a set of national actions necessary to create a manufacturing economy that is globally competitive, clean, safe and fair for workers and communities.

“The USW will always reject the false notion that we must choose between good jobs and a clean environment,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “We believe this country must have both, or we will have neither. That belief has formed the basis for our membership in the BlueGreen Alliance for the past 14 years.”

The BGA agenda outlines a set of national actions to modernize the U.S. industrial base, create good jobs, combat climate change and ensure fairness for workers and communities. The five pillars of the plan are to invest in a new generation of American manufacturing; to innovate to transform industry; to responsibly mine, recycle and reclaim the critical materials necessary for a secure, clean economy; to use public investment to create markets for a strong, clean, fair manufacturing economy; and to change the rules to build a clean economy that works for all Americans.

“These priorities, if they are followed, will mean a stronger, safer, more prosperous future for all workers, families and communities in the United States,” Conway said. “American industrial workers - and Steelworkers in particular - are an essential part of that future.

“USW members have led the way in producing the next generation of clean, environmentally friendly products, including tires designed for greater fuel efficiency, paper products from recycled materials, bearings for wind turbines, and new steel pipe to prevent leakage,” Conway said. “Manufacturing workers are the key to solving our environmental crisis while ensuring the growth of our manufacturing base.”

Conway said that the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the urgency of the United States rebuilding its manufacturing base and putting Americans back to work.

“We don’t have the luxury of time,” Conway said. “We need to act now, to ensure the long-term health of our citizens, our economy and our planet.”

Conway is scheduled to testify on Wednesday, July 1, before a special U.S. Senate committee on the climate crisis, and he plans to submit the BGA’s manufacturing agenda as part of his testimony.

“To achieve the goals laid out in the BGA’s agenda, we will need the support of workers as well as government and industry leaders,” Conway said. “We must make sure that American workers are leading the way on these changes, rather than becoming victims of them.”

The full text of “The BlueGreen Alliance Manufacturing Agenda: A National Agenda for Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership and Industrial Transformation” can be found here: www.bluegreenalliance.org/manufacturing

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

USW Applauds Commerce Department Investigation of PVLT Tires from 4 Countries

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 17:29

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today applauded the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to initiate an investigation of Vietnam’s currency manipulation as an illegal subsidy on passenger vehicle and light truck (PVLT) tires, as part of its investigation into unfairly traded PVLT imports from four countries.

The USW filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions against four countries on May 13. This included a countervailing duty petition on PVLT from Vietnam, alleging that the Vietnamese government’s systematic undervaluation of the dong in relation to the U.S. dollar constitutes an illegal subsidy.  

The Commerce Department issued new rules earlier this year that allowed currency undervaluation to be considered as an illegal subsidy.

“U.S. workers have for too long borne the brunt of a broken trade system,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “When a country like Vietnam artificially suppresses its currency for the purpose of propping up its own industry, we need to treat that like we would any other illegal subsidy. Importantly, these USW-initiated charges of currency manipulation are the first time they are being challenged under the new rules by the Department of Commerce.”

“We need swift and decisive action. Thousands of community-supporting domestic jobs depend on it,” Conway said.

At the same time that the USW filed the CVD petition against Vietnam, it also filed antidumping petitions against Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The International Trade Commission (ITC) is expected to vote on preliminary determinations in that case on July 14.

The USW is the largest North American union in tire manufacturing, representing workers at tire plants in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, North Carolina, New York and Virginia.

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

USW Applauds House Progress on Infrastructure Investment

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 15:40

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444,

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement today on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passage of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act:

“The USW applauds today’s committee action advancing a robust infrastructure investment that includes strong ‘Buy America’ provisions.

“Our nation’s crumbling infrastructure has long needed attention. Now, as our nation works to recover from the economic devastation brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, it is doubly important that we devote significant resources to rebuilding our roads, bridges, highways and other infrastructure.

“Done properly, these investments will not only make our country safer and more secure but will also spur badly needed economic growth, strengthen domestic manufacturing and create jobs.

“The nearly $500 billion in the INVEST Act, championed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio, is an important start.

“The USW particularly commends Steel Caucus Chairman Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.), Vice Chair Rep. Rick Crawford (Ark.), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) and others who fought for amendments that strengthened Buy America language.

“These vital changes ensured that the bill closes loopholes in current policy, including those that allow foreign companies to skirt domestic content rules. The bill now also supports an increase of domestic content in rolling stock purchased with federal dollars.

“The INVEST Act serves as an integral part of a wide-reaching infrastructure proposal, the Moving Forward Act, which if enacted would provide $1.5 trillion dollars of investments in our country’s infrastructure. The USW supports these ambitious investments, while at the same time recognizing that Congress must roll up its sleeves and pass surface reauthorization legislation by September of this year.  

“We encourage lawmakers to continue working together as this legislation advances through the House and the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle, so that America’s workers remain the top priority.”

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

Court Rejects Constellium Bid to Reverse Health Care Ruling

Tue, 06/16/2020 - 10:17

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450

MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. ­– A U.S. District Court judge blocked an effort by Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood to overturn an arbitrator’s ruling that prevented the company from making unilateral changes to health care benefits for its retirees.

In his ruling, Judge Thomas E. Johnston rejected the aluminum company’s argument that it had the right to modify health and prescription drug coverage for retired workers and agreed with the arbitrator that the coverage was subject to the terms of USW’s collective bargaining agreement with the company, which went into effect in 2017 and runs through Sept. 19, 2022.

“This is a significant victory for this group of workers, many of whom devoted decades of their lives to this company,” said Ernest R. "Billy" Thompson, the USW’s director of District 8, which represents thousands of workers in West Virginia and three neighboring states. “They deserve the benefits that they earned over a lifetime of hard work, benefits that this company negotiated into their union contract.”

The dispute began in August 2018, when the Ravenswood, W.Va., company informed its retirees in a letter that it was planning to terminate their group medical and drug coverage at the end of that year and replace it with health reimbursement accounts that they could use to purchase supplemental Medicare coverage. The union filed a grievance objecting to the company’s plan, which ultimately led the two sides to arbitration.

The arbitrator’s ruling, upheld by Judge Johnston in his June 11 decision, ordered that “the retiree benefits in question must be maintained, unchanged, through the entire term of the 2017 agreement.”

The USW also sued to obtain an injunction, which prevented the changes from taking effect while the arbitration proceeded.

“We have collective bargaining agreements to prevent exactly this kind of scenario – to keep corporations from making unilateral, top-down decisions like this, decisions that hurt working people,” Thompson said. “I hope that this ruling sends a clear message that employers can’t simply decide to ignore the pieces of their contracts that they don’t like.”

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.

NLRB Issues Sweeping Complaint against ASARCO for Unfair Labor Practices that Instigated Strike by 2,000 Union Workers

Tue, 06/16/2020 - 10:10

CONTACT: Tony Montana. (412) 562-2592

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a far-reaching complaint against ASARCO LLC, a subsidiary of mining conglomerate Grupo Mexico, sanctioning the company for its numerous unlawful actions at and away from the bargaining table.

Almost 2,000 members of eight international unions have been on strike at five copper mining and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas since Oct. 13, 2019.

In the complaint, the NLRB outlines ASARCO management’s overall failure to bargain in good faith with the unions representing its employees, both before and during the ongoing dispute.

Additional specific allegations include bargaining with no intention of reaching an agreement, failing to provide information needed for bargaining, not having decision makers at the table with adequate authority to negotiate, discriminating against union representatives, and illegally declaring an impasse and unilaterally implementing changes to working conditions.

The NLRB’s complaint asserts that the strikers are unfair labor practice strikers, who are protected against permanent replacement under existing U.S. labor law.

USW International President Tom Conway praised the solidarity of the union members at ASARCO and gave credit to the union’s former District 12 Director Bob LaVenture, who passed away shortly after the unfair labor practice strike started.

“The courageous unity and solidarity of the union membership to continue their righteous struggle for a fair contract are a tremendous credit to Bob’s life’s work and leadership,” Conway said. “Our fight will continue until we have negotiated the fair and just contract these men and women have earned.”

USW District 12 Director Gaylan Prescott said that the unions will continue efforts to engage ASARCO management in good faith negotiations.

“The USW stands ready at all levels to work with the NLRB to bring  ASARCO to justice for breaking the law in its drive to avoid bargaining in good faith,” Prescott said, “and we hope that the company will take this opportunity finally to bargain in good faith and start showing its workers the respect they deserve.”

USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza said that ASARCO must answer the complaint in writing and that the NLRB will schedule a hearing for an administrative law judge to review evidence against ASARCO and to hear testimony in the case.

“Our members, families and communities are standing up to one of the largest and most powerful multinational corporations on the planet,” Garza said. “Today, we are one step closer to justice.”

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 applauds SCOTUS ruling shielding LGBTQ+ Americans from workplace discrimination

Mon, 06/15/2020 - 11:09

Contact: Amanda Green-Hawkins, agreen@usw.org, 412-562-2398

(PITTSBURGH) – United Steelworkers (USW) Vice President of Human Affairs Fred Redmond and the USW Civil and Human Rights Department released the following statement on behalf of the union in support of today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ+ workplace and employment protections under Title XII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: 

“The USW is proud to celebrate along with millions of others today the Supreme Court ruling that officially bans workplace and employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. It is now up to every one of us in the labor movement and beyond to ensure it is employed fully and fairly in our workplaces.

“Until now, workers in more than two dozen states were vulnerable to being fired by their employers simply for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Labor fought back against this at the bargaining table, as well as in the halls of Congress and in the streets, never ceasing in its pursuit of fairness and equality in our country’s workplaces.

“This ruling must not be the end of our fight for a more just and equal society, however. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the many disparities in our communities, especially for Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ people, who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. Many lack access to health care, and many work in essential industries earning low wages — they cannot be left to fall through the cracks created by the chaos.

 “So, let us honor this Pride Month with a renewed commitment to moving forward in our fight for the safety and health of all working people, while celebrating this long-overdue victory. There is still much work to be done.”

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 slams Trump administration decision to cut LGBTQ+ health care protections

Sat, 06/13/2020 - 10:00

Contact: Amanda Green, agreen@usw.org

(PITTSBURGH) — United Steelworkers (USW) Vice President Fred Redmond and the USW Civil and Human Rights Department released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s gutting of LGBTQ+ health care protections:

“The Trump administration’s decision to remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in health care and health insurance is yet another example of its disregard for human life and dignity. 

“This decision will particularly impact trans people. It is particularly devastating now as so many LGBTQ+ people struggle in the wake of the pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn.

“No one should be denied health care coverage or access to medical services simply because of their gender identity. That is not the America we believe in, and it is not the America we will settle for.

“Our union will continue fighting for trans-inclusive contracts at the bargaining table, and we once again call upon the Senate to take up and pass the Equality Act, which is needed now more than ever. 

“Too many lives depend upon those in government and other leadership positions to recognize their value—we all must do everything in our power to change that, and to ensure swift justice for Americans who just want to exercise their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The USW represents 850,000 working people 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 Backs ‘Workers First’ Plan for Reopening Michigan’s Economy

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 13:15

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union said today that it supported the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus plan for safely reopening the state’s economy, called the “Workers First Reopening Plan,” as the state continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This plan ensures that the reopening of our economy prioritizes the safety of workers, families and communities over the profits of corporations,” said Michael Bolton, director of USW District 2, which represents tens of thousands of workers in Michigan and Wisconsin. “We all want to go back to work, but we can’t do so at the expense of the very people we need to ensure that our economy can function.”

The plan, a package of 11 bills, includes measures such as expanded paid sick leave and workers compensation, extended hazard pay for front-line workers, strict health and safety standards, scheduling policies, mental health assistance, and safeguards against retaliation against workers.

In an April 27 letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Bolton called for hazard pay, sick leave and other benefits to be extended to workers at long-term care facilities, hospitals and other medical facilities. The USW represents nurses, nursing assistants and support staff at many hospitals and nursing homes in Michigan. In an earlier letter, Bolton called for extending paid sick leave to all workers in Michigan.

“Our first concern is, and must remain, containing this dangerous virus and making sure our people stay healthy,” Bolton said. “In doing so, we must ensure that nobody has to make the choice between their health and a paycheck. We must ensure that workers have the resources to adequately care for themselves and their families. This plan accomplishes those goals.”

Bolton pointed out the dangers inherent in some locations where workers labor in close proximity, such as long-term-care facilities, which have become COVID-19 hotspots in some states.

“Sadly, in looking at other areas of the country, we have seen what can happen when we move too fast or when companies value profits above people,” he said. “We can’t make that mistake in Michigan.”

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.

'We will not turn a deaf ear ... so many need so badly to be heard'

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 10:12

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

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s threats to deploy the military against peaceful protesters.

Our nation continues to be torn apart as a result of the persistent, unlawful and unchecked violence against people of color. Now our president finally decided to leave the safety of his White House bunker and address the nation in person instead of through his Twitter account.  

“Yet rather than choosing to de-escalate the tensions or deliver a message of unity that recognizes the nation’s pain about the ongoing racism and victimization of our fellow citizens at the hands of the police, he instead decided to fan the flames.

“The president of the United States yesterday threatened to amass the military against the protesting citizens and to send armed soldiers into our states, whether the states want them or not. 

“We cannot underestimate the danger in his threats. 

“When a leader threatens to use the military to quiet our nation’s voice of protest, to quell our First Amendment rights, then we are all on shaky ground. We cannot tolerate this sort of intimidation, for those who would seek to quiet even a single voice will find any excuse to do so again and again. 

“Our labor movement does not and has never supported the destruction of property that unfortunately has taken place under the cover of these lawful and righteous protests. 

“But at a time when our economy is so troubled, when so many are dealing with the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are all trying to safely get back to work while making sure our families are healthy, we deserve solutions. Instead we get threats. 

“Our labor movement was born out of our inherent right to assemble and protest. We exist solely as a result of our right to act collectively and present grievances both in our workplaces and to our government. 

“The history of our union is filled with similar incidents of guardsmen and police forces being used against workers. It’s not a far stretch to envision expanded use of the military against today’s labor movement if we stand by while it happens against these protestors. 

“We cannot support a president who threatens such acts against his own citizens. These protestors are justifiably angry, and we share their anger. We will not turn a deaf ear in these desperate times during which so many need so badly to be heard.” 

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

USW: Honor Pride Month by celebrating history, fighting for just future

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 08:35

Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, (412) 562-1178

United Steelworkers (USW) Vice President Fred Redmond and the USW LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee released the following statement in honor of Pride Month:

“Fifty summers ago, the first-ever Pride March took place in New York City on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the monumental Stonewall Riots. That moment in Greenwich Village in 1969 remains relevant and poignant today.

“Right now, as many of our communities express collective outrage over the many interwoven injustices brought further into the light, it is important to reflect on what happened on that heated night at the Stonewall Inn and on the nights that followed. We must remember the suffering and pain that precipitated the uprising and what rights the action eventually helped to win.

“But it is just as important to realize that the struggle for equality for LGBTQ+ people in America did not end with a march in 1970. Black trans women in 2020 have an average expected lifespan of 35 years.  Workers in more than half of U.S. states can still be fired from their jobs simply for their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must continue the fight to right these and far too many other wrongs until this nation is truly just and free for all.

“To do that, all people must come together to do the hard work of dismantling systems and beliefs that embolden homophobia, transphobia, and other hate-based ideologies, that divide workers for the sake of maintaining the status quo.

“The labor movement has always said that an injustice to one is an injustice to all; let us use this month, and every month onward, to live up to that acclamation and deepen our commitment to the liberation of all working people.”

The USW represents 850,000 working people 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 Urges Colorado Lawmakers to Quickly Pass Paid Sick Leave Bill

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 13:22

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today urged the Colorado Senate and General Assembly to swiftly pass and the governor to sign the “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act,” which would provide paid sick leave to Colorado workers.

The legislation, SB20-205, would close dangerous loopholes in federal legislation that extended paid sick leave to some American workers during the COVID-19 crisis but left out others, including workers at companies with 500 or more employees. Additionally, workers would accrue an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours in a calendar year. 

More than 40 percent of Colorado workers – about 800,000 people – are not currently eligible to earn paid sick leave.

“At a time like this, we simply can’t force workers to make the choice between their health and their paycheck. Such a choice puts us all at risk,” said Gaylan Prescott, director of USW District 12, which includes Colorado and 10 other western U.S. states. “This bill will allow us to contain this dangerous virus more effectively, keep workers and families safer, and put our economy on the path to reopen and recover more quickly.”

The bill will help to prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable communities and limit transmission of the disease, as fewer workers are forced to come to work sick, Prescott said.

“When workplaces and workers are healthy, businesses thrive,” he said. “A healthy work force means higher employee satisfaction, higher productivity and lower turnover. All of these factors serve to strengthen individual businesses and our overall economy.”

A poll conducted in early May showed 78 percent of Colorado voters support a law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave for workers to care for themselves and their families.

“All workers – whether during a pandemic or otherwise – deserve time to care for their health and the health of their families, particularly front-line workers like those in the health care and service industries,” Prescott said. “We have learned the hard way during this crisis that the health of our economy and the health of our work force are inextricably linked. This bill will give us the tools to protect both, now and in the future.”

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: Dam Failure Disaster Spotlights Need for Large-Scale Infrastructure Commitment

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:11

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, rhufnagel@usw.org, 412-562-2450

The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway released the following statement today in response to the breaching of the Edenville and Sanford dams, which caused historic flooding and forced at least 10,000 people from their homes in and around Midland, Mich.:

“This is a devastating blow to the people and communities of central Michigan, many of whom are members of our union. Our hearts go out to them and their families and to everyone dealing with the results of this terrible disaster.

“In particular, Midland is home to the headquarters and manufacturing facilities for Dow Chemical Co., where approximately 700 USW members make their living, as well as hundreds more members who work at other facilities in the area. The safety and well-being of them and their families is of paramount concern at this terrible time.

“Unfortunately, among the many upsetting facts about this situation is that it could and should have been prevented. The Edenville Dam is nearly 100 years old, and officials have warned for years that it was inadequate to handle water levels of this magnitude.

“This disaster brings into clear focus the horrible consequences of the federal government’s failure to invest in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. President Trump made that issue a central part of his campaign, and yet, four years later, we are still waiting for action.

“Especially at this time of ever-rising unemployment and economic anxiety, it’s time for leaders in Washington, D.C., to come to an agreement for a massive overhaul of our infrastructure. This will put Americans back to work, bring our country fully into the 21st century, allow us to compete in the global economy, and prevent future disasters like the one in Midland from devastating our communities.

“Our hope is that the government responds with swift relief for the people and businesses in the Midland region so that they can quickly recover from this tragedy.

“Then lawmakers must turn their attention to the rest of the country and provide the investments necessary to make sure a disaster like this doesn’t happen again.”

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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