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Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

USW: Section 232 Agreement Will Advance North American Steel, Aluminum Production, Promote National Security

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 12:57

CONTACT: Holly Hart, 202-778-4384, hhart@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With No Contract Resolution Imminent, USW and Arconic Agree to Extend Labor Agreements as Bargaining Continues

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 20:58

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USW Negotiations with Alcoa Stall Hours before Expiration: Members Should Report for All Scheduled Shifts

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 20:52

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Orders New Union Vote at Kumho Tire Plant in Georgia

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USW: PLRB to Hold Hearing on Unfair Labor Practice Charges in Pitt Grad Election

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 09:51

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USW Urges Passage of Bill to Protect Workers’ Rights

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:07

CONTACT: Roy Houseman, (202) 778-3312, rhouseman@usw.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Locked-Out ABI Workers Demonstrate at Alcoa Annual Meeting

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 07:41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hundreds of Locked-Out ABI Workers to Rally at Annual Alcoa Meeting

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 10:58

CONTACTS: 

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

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

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

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

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

Attention Assignment/Editors: Speakers, Interviews & Photo Opportunities

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

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

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

WHERE:           Hotel Fairmont Pittsburgh, 510 Market Street, Pittsburgh

USW Welcomes Investments Announced for Mon Valley Works

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 09:49
Capital Expenditures by U.S. Steel Will Improve Air Quality, Secure Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global unions target safety at work in pulp, paper, graphical and packaging in a year of action

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 09:03

CONTACT:
Leeann Foster, lfoster@usw.org, 412-225-5964
Jess Kamm Broomell, jkamm@usw.org, 412-562-2444

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USW Blasts Dow Chemical Co. for Locking Out Texas Workers

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 14:17

CONTACT: Ben Lilienfeld, (832) 556-0370, blilienfeld@usw.org

DEER PARK, Texas (April 22) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today condemned Rohm and Haas Texas Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., after the company made the decision to lock out more than 200 workers at its plant in Deer Park, Texas.

The members of USW Local 13-1 have been working to bargain a new contract with Rohm and Haas for the past several weeks.

“The company’s decision to lock its doors on these hard-working union members is reckless and irresponsible,” said Ruben Garza, director of the union’s District 13, which includes Texas and three neighboring states. “These workers have been bargaining with this company in good faith to reach a fair agreement, and now, through no fault of their own, they find themselves on a picket line.”

The union and the company had been operating under a 24-hour rolling extension of the current collective bargaining agreement while negotiations on a new contract continued. Dow Chemical Co. informed the union last week that it would lock the workers out if they could not reach a deal by 2 p.m. today.

For the USW, a sticking point in the negotiations has been the issue of overtime and possible safety and fatigue concerns as a result of understaffing.

“The USW is committed to making sure that we have consistent and safe staffing levels,” Garza said. “These negotiations are about more than just money. We also must consider the safety and well-being of the workers and the entire community.”

The union is committed to bargaining for as long as it takes to reach an agreement, Garza said.

“We have been and we remain willing to work with the company to reach a fair and equitable contract settlement,” he said. “We hope that the company reconsiders this ill-advised decision, puts its work force back on the job, and returns to the bargaining table to negotiate a new agreement.”

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. 

Pitt Faculty Organizers Blast Administration Anti-Union Tactics, Plan to Appeal PLRB Decision on Recognition Hearing

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 10:00

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

(Pittsburgh) – The Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee announced today that it believes the University of Pittsburgh administration deliberately inflated the number of university instructors in their potential bargaining unit in an attempt to avoid a union election.  

As a result, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) has declined to conduct a hearing on the committee’s election petition, contending that it did not find that the required percentage of the faculty members had signed authorization cards within the allotted time period. The committee plans to appeal 

The organizing committee anticipated this problem because the university administration failed to disclose exactly who they put on the list of eligible faculty they gave the PLRB or whether they included job classes or schools excluded in the petitioned-for unit.

“So, for example, the university administration may have told the PLRB that part-time faculty members who have not taught for years and faculty of the medical school were to be included,” said Tyler Bickford, an associate professor in the English department.“We planned to address this at the hearing. Now we’ll have to do it through the appeal process.”

“The administration doesn’t want the faculty to hold a union vote,” said Paul Johnson, an assistant professor in the department of communication. “This was evident when they hired high-priced union-busting lawyers, and it’s evident in the way they’ve treated this information. Our whole campaign has been about the need for greater transparency, and this is just one more example of how essential it really is.”

The university hired infamous union-busting firm Ballard Spahr of Philadelphia to help it obstruct the unionization efforts of both the faculty and the graduate students. Creating confusion over who is eligible to be in a bargaining unit is a typical corporate tactic to avoid collective bargaining. 

The graduate student employees are voting this week on whether to gain union representation and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions. The two organizing campaigns, one for the faculty members and one for the graduate student employees, are completely separate. 

The Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee began collecting cards from instructors in January 2018 and this January submitted cards to the PLRB petitioning for an election.  

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.

 

 

 

 

 

USW Members Vote to Ratify New Harley-Davidson Contract

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 07:31

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

MILWAUKEE (April 15) -  Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted on Monday, April 15, to ratify a new five-year contract with Harley-Davidson that covers workers at the company’s facilities in Milwaukee and Tomahawk, Wis.

The new contract provides a signing bonus, wage increases and enhancements to retirement benefits for more than 1,000 USW members. The contract also includes job security measures sought by members of USW Local 2-209 in Milwaukee and USW Local 460 in Tomahawk. The wage increases, which total 14 percent over the life of the agreement, are the first raises for the workers in seven years.

“It’s certainly a positive step to see a pay increase, but this contract was always about more than just economic issues,” said USW District 2 Director Michael Bolton, who led the negotiations. “It was also about making sure that these hard-working union members continue to have a strong voice in their workplace.”

The two sides reached a tentative agreement on April 10 after twice agreeing to extend the previous contract and continue bargaining. Workers voted on April 1 to reject a previous contract offer by the company and then agreed to extend talks through April 14.

Among the issues the union was determined to address was job security. The new contract includes a commitment from the company to invest $65 million in its Milwaukee facility and $10 million in its Tomahawk facility.

“These investments should ensure the long-term viability of our facilities,” said USW Local 2-209 President Mark Eilers. “We look forward to working with Harley over the next five years to continue our shared success.”

The USW was determined to make sure that good, family-supporting jobs remained in their communities, said USW Local 460 President Darrin Ernst.

“This contract isn’t just about us,” he said. “We will always fight for a better life, not just for ourselves, but for our families and for our neighbors throughout Wisconsin.”

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 Participates in Global Campaign Launch, April 11 Day of Action, Calls on Kimberly-Clark to Consult Workers Before Restructuring

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 09:52

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) announced that they would participate in a global campaign launch today by standing with the Kimberly-Clark workers around the globe in a day of action coordinated by global union federations UNI and IndustriALL.

The unions stand opposed to global restructuring plans announced by Kimberly-Clark in early 2018 to close 10 unidentified plants over a 3-year period and dismiss 5,500 workers, pitting all plants against each other and throwing workers into insecurity and uncertainty. 

So far, the plan has resulted in plant closures and job losses on four continents, including a USW-represented facility in Neenah, Wis. The USW-represented Fox Crossing, Wis., facility has remained open, but only after deep concessions that harm both workers and the community and state tax breaks despite the company’s profitability.

Kimberly-Clark operates under a number of popular and profitable brands including: baby care Huggies and Pull-Ups; Depends and Poise for adult incontinence; Kotex feminine products; Kleenex tissue and Cottonelle bathroom tissue. 

All restructuring has taken place without input from key stakeholders, its workers, which could be catastrophic for the company. Instead the company has said, and maintains, that it will only comply with national laws on worker consultation.

“Compliance means that Kimberly-Clark intends to do the minimum amount necessary to avoid prosecution. This is about corporate greed, pure and simple,” said Leeann Foster, IndustriALL Pulp and Paper Sector Chair. “The only solution is for workers around the world to stand together. Corporations are multinational, but so too is our solidarity.”

To read the UNI’s and IndustriALL’s full statement on Kimberly-Clark, click here.

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

USW Plans Rally and March to Mark Two Years of Solidarity at Lucky Friday

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 07:04

CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592 or tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that on Saturday, March 16, 2019, the union will sponsor a rally and march to commemorate two years of solidarity for the members of Local 5114 who went on strike against unfair labor practices at Hecla Mining Company’s (NYSE: HL) Lucky Friday mine on March 13, 2017.

USW members, retirees and their families, as well as activists and supporters from the labor movement will attend the rally, which will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mullan Pavilion and culminate with a march to the Lucky Friday picket line. Featured speakers will include USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture as well as other elected union officials and community leaders.

About 250 members of USW Local 5114 began their strike at Lucky Friday after working under the terms of an expired agreement for nearly eleven months before Hecla management’s unfair labor practices forced the dispute, which ranks as the longest work stoppage in the storied history of organized labor in the Silver Valley.

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.

ATTN ASSIGNMENT/EDITORS: Photo Opportunities, Interviews, Music

WHO:  USW members and retirees, their families and supporters

WHAT:  Rally to mark two years of solidarity at Hecla’s Lucky Friday mine

WHEN:  11 a.m., Saturday, March 16, 2019

WHERE:  Mullan Pavilion - 300 Earle Street, Mullan, Idaho, 83846

USW Disappointed in Voter Suppression at Pitt

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:25

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell (412) 562-2444

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) and the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) are disappointed by the University of Pittsburgh’s actions and use of “union avoidance” firm Ballard Spahr leading up to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) vote to be held later this spring.

“I’m deeply disappointed that Pitt is fighting its own graduate student employees and obstructing our right to simply hold an election for a union,” said Caitlin Schroering, a graduate student assistant in the Sociology Department. “Let us vote, and let us do it in a way that makes voting accessible for students.”

Representatives of the university administration are attempting to push the PLRB and the USW to hold the election in more remote campus locations uphill from easily recognized and central buildings like the William Pitt Union or the Cathedral of Learning. 

“Keep the vote fair by locating polling places in a convenient place for the most grads,” said Patrick Beckhorn, a teaching fellow in the Anthropology Department. “Anything less amounts to the administration’s continued disregard for the rights of its grad student employees.”

The University of Pittsburgh administration is claiming the best places for a union election would be the Biomedical Science Tower and Benedum Hall, the home of Swanson School of Engineering. 

Emily Ackerman, a graduate student in the Chemical Engineering Department, disagrees. “Many of my colleagues would feel uncomfortable or intimidated voting in a building whose common spaces are so hyper-visible and open to the administrators of the School of Engineering,” said Ackerman. “The William Pitt Union is a more accessible and private space for voting.”

“It is disappointing that people I am supposed to look up to are using a union-busting law firm and are now engaged in plausibly deniable voter suppression by trying to hold the election in areas that would lower turnout,” said Daniel Libertz, a teaching fellow in the English Department.

The PLRB issued its decision in favor of Pitt’s grad workers last week, affirming their status as employees with the right to seek a union election.

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.

USW President Emeritus Boyd Young Dies

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 10:39

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

Boyd Young, the Steelworkers president emeritus who guided two of the USW’s predecessor unions, PACE and the UPIU, through historic mergers, died on Monday, March 11.

Young was a union activist for more than five decades, starting in 1960 as a member of the International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers Local 801 at East Texas Pulp & Paper Co., where he was elected local union president in 1971. Young organized paperworkers throughout the southern United States for the United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU). He served as a UPIU staff representative and regional director before his election as UPIU president in 1996.

“Boyd Young never wavered from his deeply held commitment to building better lives for working people through the labor movement,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “He provided steadfast leadership and vision at a time when workers needed it the most. Every member of the USW owes him a debt of gratitude. He will be missed.”

As UPIU president, Young consistently sought to increase workers’ bargaining power. With that goal in mind, he led his union through a merger with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW) in 1999, creating the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE). Young became the president of the new union, which merged with the Steelworkers in 2005 to form the USW.

“Boyd’s dedication and sense of purpose made the USW the union we are today,” Gerard said.

Young was responsible for creating the union’s Emergency Response Team, which provides members, families and co-workers with immediate assistance after life-altering workplace injuries and fatalities, and for establishing the union’s coordinated bargaining program in response to growing consolidation in the paper industry. He also served as a vice president of the AFL-CIO.

“While we feel a deep sadness at Boyd’s passing, we also feel a strong sense of gratitude for his dedication to the labor movement and to the cause of fairness and justice,” Gerard said. “His was a life well lived.”

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: Bold Action Required in Fight for Women’s Equality

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 06:06

CONTACT: Chelsey Engel, (412) 562-2446, cengel@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard and Vice President Carol Landry issued the following statement today in honor of International Women’s Day:

Unions have always fought for dignity on the job, civil rights, and freedom from violence. Our union remains dedicated to that fight and to creating a more gender-balanced world both in the workplace and in our communities.

We also recognize that women’s equality is about more than just the absence of violence and harassment—it’s about the presence of respect and opportunity. Unions offer women and other marginalized groups a gateway to economic success, leadership positions, and better health and safety protections at work, but there is still much to be done.

The labor movement must take bold action as women continue to face challenges due to the growth of economic, racial, and gender inequality. We must be on the frontlines in the battles for parental leave, workplace violence legislation, and equal representation from the shop floor all the way to the boardroom. We must be stronger and smarter than the forces working against our most vulnerable communities in order for them to receive the dignity they need and deserve.

Our union knows there is nothing stronger than a Woman of Steel, and today we recommit to creating a world in which that strength can thrive.

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

USW Members Call on Congress to Protect Multiemployer Pensions

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 12:11

CONTACT: Roy Houseman, (202) 778-3312, rhouseman@usw.org

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union visited Capitol Hill today to attend a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on the crisis facing multiemployer pension plans and to urge Congress to act to protect workers’ retirement funds.

Two dozen USW members and retirees attended today’s House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing entitled “The Cost of Inaction: Why Congress Must Address the Multiemployer Pension Crisis,” and later visited with members of Congress to urge action to preserve workers’ pensions, particularly multiemployer plans. In particular, the workers urged Congress to pass H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the “Butch-Lewis Act.”

The bipartisan House bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, would help to protect workers’ retirements by selling bonds and using the funds to bolster struggling multiemployer pensions through a long-term, low-interest loan program.

“A number of multiemployer plans are in financial distress – but their problems have nothing to do with these workers and their families,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Retirees shouldn’t suffer because of bad trade policy, or poor business decisions, or because of lingering fallout from the Great Recession. This bill would make sure that American workers get the secure retirements they deserve.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, introduced a version of the “Butch-Lewis Act” in 2017.

Gerard wrote about the pension issue in his weekly blog, which readers can find at www.usw.org/blog. The USW also produced a video that includes personal stories about workers and retirees who are at risk of losing their pensions. Viewers can find that video at www.usw.org/protectourpensions.

“Too many American workers and retirees now live in fear that they may not receive the benefits they worked their entire lives to earn,” said David McCall, director of USW District 1, which represents thousands of USW members in the state of Ohio. “This bill would provide critical funding to troubled plans and provide security for millions of American workers and retirees.”

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 Applauds PLRB Ruling in Favor of Pitt Grad Union

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 11:57

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) applauded today’s ruling from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) affirming University of Pittsburgh graduate student employees’ right to join a union.

The PLRB found that the approximately 2,000 teaching assistants, teaching fellows, graduate assistants and graduate student researchers are university employees, entitled to seek union representation.

“Pitt’s grad students work hard as teachers and as researchers, providing valuable services to the university,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “They are absolutely employees and deserve a seat at the table.”

Pitt grad employees filed for a union election in December 2017, seeking greater transparency in the decision-making process that affects their working conditions, as well as protections against discrimination and harassment.

“We need a union because we deserve to participate in the decision-making process that affects us and our jobs,” said Hillary Lazar, a graduate employee in the department of sociology. “From bargaining over issues like health care for our families to instituting safeguards against harassment, a union helps ensure we have the same rights as any other group of workers.”

The university administration filed an objection to the grad students’ petition last winter, claiming the graduate workers were students, not employees of the university. The PLRB held a hearing in October and issued its ruling March 7, holding that graduate workers are employees.

“It’s disappointing that the university administration chose to draw out this process,” said Abby Cartus, a graduate student employee in the epidemiology department. “Hiring high-profile, union-busting lawyers at Ballard Spahr in an attempt to intimidate graduate students was a waste of tuition and tax dollars. We hope moving forward they act in better faith.”

University of Pittsburgh faculty filed a petition with the PLRB in January for their own union election.

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.


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