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USW Welcomes U.S. Steel Plan to Restart EAF Construction

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:32

CONTACT:   R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                           

USW Petitions President Trump to Use SOTU to Honor Trade Promises

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 06:38

CONTACT: Holly Hart, 202-778-4384

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

USW: Black History Month Calls for Reflection and Action

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 09:00

Contact: Fred Redmond, (412) 562-2307

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

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

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

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

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

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

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USW Reaches Tentative Agreement with Shell Oil Company to Set Contract Pattern for Oil Sector

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 17:25

Contact: Lynne Hancock, USW, (412) 562-2442, (c) 615-828-6169, lhancock@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

USW: Labor Must Commit to Reclaiming Dr. King’s Dream of Dignity

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 09:00

CONTACT: Fred Redmond, (412) 562-2307

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

University of Pittsburgh Faculty File for Union Election

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 09:00

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2446, jkamm@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steelworkers Mourn Former Iron Range State Rep. Tom Rukavina

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 10:51

More information, contact: John Rebrovich - (218) 744-2757 or jrebrovich@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

USW Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New National Grid Contract

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 09:09

CONTACT:  Steve Finnigan: (508) 482-5555

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

                                                 

USW and IBEW Launch Organizing Drive at Tesla’s Buffalo Solar Factory

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 18:45


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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USW: NAFTA Still Needs Work

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 08:18

CONTACT: Holly Hart; (202) 778-4384; hhart@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steelworkers Ratify Agreements with ArcelorMittal

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 12:47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

USW Congratulates Los Mineros on Victory at the El Boleo Mine

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 18:05
The United Steelworkers (USW) congratulated Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, President and General Secretary of the Mexican mining and steelworkers’ union Los Mineros, on their November 20 election victory at the El Boleo Mine in Santa Rosalia in the State of Baja California Sur.   By a vote of 280-238, the workers at El Boleo voted for Los Mineros over a company union that was installed by the labor contractor, Servicios y Desarrollos Meseta Central SA de CV, without consulting the workers. The mine is controlled by Korea Resources Corporation (KORES), which is owned by the government of South Korea.   “This victory shows that the workers’ courage and determination can overcome corporate repression and government collusion,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “But it also underscores the fundamental unfairness of Mexico’s repressive labor law system that condems its workers to poverty level wages while threatening the jobs of Canadian and U.S. workers. Mexico’s new government must move quickly to reform its labor laws and end the practice of company-dominated unions, and the proposed US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) must include effective enforcement provisions to prevent and punish violations of workers’ rights.”   On April 20, 2016, the workers went on strike to demand the removal of the company union and free elections.  The strike was broken by a large force of police on May 5, and a month later the company fired 130 Los Mineros supporters.  The federal labor authorities then blocked the Mineros’ demand for an election for 2 ½ years in an attempt to discourage the workers.  

Federal Bronze Locks Out Dozens of Hourly Workers in Newark

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 11:34

Contact: Matt McCarty, 610-565-5051

Newark, N.J. – The United Steelworkers (USW) said that 31 members of Local 40M were locked out of their jobs today by management at Federal Bronze Casting Industries, Inc., after voting to reject the company’s latest contract proposal.

USW District 4 Director John Shinn called on the company to abandon its strategy to bully union workers into accepting management’s unfair demands and negotiate in good faith for a fair contract.

“Federal Bronze must be made accountable for its decision to hold our jobs, families and community hostage over issues that should be resolved through collective bargaining,” Shinn said. “Management needs to end this lockout immediately, return these workers to their jobs and resolve our differences at the table.”

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 condemns assassination of Turkish union leader Abdullah Karacan

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 17:51

The United Steelworkers condemned the brutal assassination today of Abdullah Karacan, general president of the Turkish Rubber and Chemical Workers’ Union Lastik-İş.
Karacan was murdered while on a visit to workers at the Goodyear factory in the city of Adzapari.  The union’s regional president, Mustafa Sipahi, and shop steward Osman Bayraktar were also wounded in the assault.  Bayraktar remains in critical condition.
 
“We are outraged by this vicious assault on our sister union, which reflects the erosion of democratic rights under the Erdogan government in Turkey,” said USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson.  “We send our condolences to the family of Brother Karacan and to all the members of Lastik-İş, and our prayers for the recovery of brother Bayraktar. The Turkish authorities must immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute the criminals who are responsible for this attack.”
 
Johnson co-chairs the rubber industry section of IndustriALL Global Union, the global union representing industrial workers to which both USW and Lastik-İş are affiliated.  Karacan, a member of IndustriALL’s Executive Council, led the fight against contracting out by major tire companies in Turkey including Bridgestone, Pirelli and Goodyear, winning permanent jobs for thousands of union members.
 
A committed internationalist, Karacan visited the United Kingdom in 2015 to support of members of UNITE the Union at Goodyear who were fighting against closure of their plant in Birmingham.  The USW and UNITE are partners in the global union Workers Uniting.

USW Members Vote to Ratify 4-Year Contract with U.S. Steel

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 11:50

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              CONTACT:   R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450,
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018                                                            rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (Nov. 13) – Thousands of members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted by an overwhelming margin to ratify a new contract with U.S. Steel.

The new four-year master agreement takes effect immediately. It includes a total of 14 percent in wage increases over the life of the contract, maintains the union’s high-quality, affordable health care coverage and strengthens retirement benefits for the USW’s 16,000 members at 14 U.S. Steel locations. The contract also allows for much-needed investments in the company’s facilities.

Bargaining on the new contract began in July. The previous agreement, which was negotiated in 2015 during a difficult period for the steel industry, contained a wage freeze and other concessions. That three-year agreement expired on Sept. 1.

“In 2015, workers recognized that the steel industry was struggling and agreed to make sacrifices so that U.S. Steel could get through some tough times,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Now that the company has recovered and is projected to earn nearly $2 billion this year, workers rightly wanted a share of that success.”

Despite its improved financial position, U.S. Steel’s initial proposals demanded more concessions. In early September, USW members responded by voting unanimously to authorize a strike.

“The strength and solidarity of the USW membership were the keys to achieving a fair agreement,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, chair of the union’s U.S. Steel bargaining committee.  

The new agreement will run through Sept. 1, 2022.

“This contract puts the company in a position to succeed and ensures that the work force will be able to share in that success. It’s a win-win,” said Mike Millsap, USW District 7 director and secretary of the bargaining committee.

The contract covers members of 24 local unions who work at the following U.S. Steel facilities: Clairton Works, East Chicago Tin, Fairfield, Fairfield Southern, Fairless Hills, Gary Works, Granite City Works, Great Lakes Works, Keetac, Lone Star Tubular, Lorain Tubular, Midwest Plant, Minntac and Mon Valley Works.

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

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USW Welcomes Minnesota DNR Decision to Issue Permits for Planned PolyMet Mine

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 14:26

Contact: John Rebrovich, (218) 744-2757
                                                                                                                        

EVELETH, Minn. (Nov. 1) — The United Steelworkers union (USW) today said that it welcomed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announcement that it had issued permits for a planned mining project in northeastern Minnesota.

After a lengthy review, the state DNR approved the permits for PolyMet Mining’s proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. The USW has represented mining workers in the state for more than 75 years.

“The members of this union have a long and proud history of mining in Minnesota, and we are excited to continue that tradition,” said Emil Ramirez, director of USW District 11, which includes Minnesota and eight other states. “We’re confident that this work can be done in a way that provides hundreds of good, community-supporting jobs to the people of this region while also safeguarding our precious natural resources.” 

In making the announcement, Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said that “no project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated.”

“The economy, the people and the communities across Minnesota depend on mining as a way of life, and we need to work together to make sure that continues in a sustainable way,” Ramirez said. “We also want our children and grandchildren to have access to clean water and unpolluted air. We believe that this project will satisfy both of those goals.

“The choice between good jobs and a clean environment is a false one – we must have both, or we will have neither,” he said.

The PolyMet project still must clear additional regulatory hurdles, including air and water quality permits from the state’s pollution control agency as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

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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Copyright © 1999 - 2014 | United Steelworkers Local 351L | Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401 | P: 205.758.4476 F: 205.758.4479