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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

NLRB Hearing Officer Urges Certification of USW Election at Kumho Tire

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 15:32

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

A hearing officer with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recommended certifying Kumho Tire workers’ organizing victory with the United Steelworkers (USW) and dismissing the company’s objections “in their entirety.”

After workers at the Macon, Ga., plant last year overcame Kumho’s oppressive anti-union campaign and voted to join the USW, the company filed several groundless objections in an effort to overturn the election.

The NLRB Regional Director dismissed some of those objections months ago, citing the lack of evidence.

In a report issued Nov. 10, NLRB Hearing Officer Brenna C. Schertz discredited the remaining objections. She determined that one company witness fabricated testimony and scolded Kumho for presenting “nonsensical” evidence and making allegations that were “wholly without merit.” 

Schertz recommended overruling all of Kumho’s objections and certifying the workers’ election. The decision now rests with the NLRB Regional Director.

“Since the start of the organizing campaign, Kumho has employed every underhanded tactic possible to thwart the election, break the will of its workers and silence them,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who represents thousands of USW members in seven southern states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

“It’s time for the company to face facts,” he said. “Workers voted to unionize so they could obtain decent wages and safe working conditions. Kumho must now come to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith for the fair contract their workers earned.”

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 Looks Forward to Working with Biden-Harris Administration

Sat, 11/07/2020 - 14:21

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today from USW International President Tom Conway in response to the results of the U.S. presidential election:

“The USW congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory in Tuesday’selection. We are hopeful that their administration will usher in a new era in Washington of leaders who don’t just talk about supporting working Americans, but who actually follow through with action.

“The President-elect ran on a platform, which the USW supported, of containing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring access to quality health care, getting our economy back on track and putting millions of Americans back to work. These must be the top priorities as the new administration transitions and prepares to take office in January.

“In particular, the USW looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration on their plan to invest $1.3 trillion over 10 years to rebuild and modernize our crumbling infrastructure using American-made products. This comprehensive infrastructure plan is central to our economic recovery and must be a top priority for the newly elected president and Congress.
“We also are excited about the incoming administration’s stated goal of empowering workers and making it easier for them to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers. For too long, our leaders in Washington have sided with corporate America to silence workers’ voices. It’s time for a president who has workers’ backs and stands with the people on Main Street instead of Wall Street. 

“We know this has been a long and contentious election campaign, but we hope that Americans are ready for us all to move forward, together, to fight for the things all working people deserve: Good jobs, quality health care and a secure retirement.”  

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 Alerts Trump Administration to Plight of Mexican Labor Activist Susana Prieto Terrazas

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 13:20

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

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway today sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating concerns about the treatment of independent trade union lawyer and attorney Susana Prieto Terrazas.

Prieto, an outspoken advocate for labor rights, was jailed in June and has now been ordered to attend court hearings this week where it is likely that she will again be detained and incarcerated.

The letter further expresses alarm that Prieto’s treatment undermines the Mexican labor law reforms spelled out in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and urges the administration to convey these concerns to the Mexican authorities.

See the full text of the letter 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.

Carnegie Museum Workers File for Union Election

Tue, 10/20/2020 - 14:29

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

Approximately 500 scientists, educators, art handlers, front staff, gift shop clerks, ushers and other workers from across the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh system today announced that they filed for a union election as they seek to join the United Steelworkers (USW).

The group, working under the banner of the United Museum Workers, announced their organizing drive on June 29 and are now seeking a formal vote through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“Our movement began with concerns about transparency and limited career opportunities, but it now has even greater urgency as it’s expanded to address furloughs, pay cuts, and safety issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Katie Pirilla, an art handler at the Carnegie Museum of Art. “Workers continued organizing throughout the pandemic and found renewed strength in our fight for a safe museum for employees and the public alike.”

By filing for a certification election, the United Museum Workers seek to create a wall-to-wall collective bargaining unit comprising the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, the Carnegie Science Center, the Andy Warhol Museum, and central administrative staff.

“Our group represents a diverse range of departments, duties, interests and ideas, but what all of us need is a seat at the table and a voice in the museum’s decision-making process,” said Ryan Martin, a sales associate in the Carnegie Museum of Art gift shop. “The founder of our museums, Andrew Carnegie, made his fortunes on the backs of thousands of workers who labored for low pay in extremely hazardous conditions. We intend to honor this legacy by voting for union representation.”

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.

NLRB Affirms Kumho Illegally Suppressed USW Drive

Mon, 10/12/2020 - 13:20

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

(Pittsburgh) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last week upheld an administrative law judge’s findings that Kumho Tire illegally threatened and coerced workers at its Macon, Ga., site in a deliberate attempt to stop them from joining the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The Board ordered Kumho to call a plant-wide meeting and read a detailed statement that not only acknowledges the company’s unlawful conduct but pledges future compliance with workers’ labor rights. Kumho’s president and its highest-ranking human resources executive must read the statement exactly as prepared by the NLRB. The company’s conduct was so egregious that the Board also took the unusual step of ordering that the company must hold the meeting in the presence of a USW official. 

“No matter how low this greedy corporation stoops, it will never defeat its workers’ battle for representation and a fair contract. And the USW will never give up on helping these workers,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who represents thousands of Steelworkers in Georgia, six other southern states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan ruled that Kumho tainted a 2017 representation election by coercing union supporters and threatening to close the plant if workers voted to join the USW, among other labor law violations. Kumho appealed, but the NLRB, in an Oct. 8 ruling, affirmed Amchan’s findings. 

Last fall, Kumho workers voted to join the USW through a separate election process.

“Once again, the federal government has publicly censured Kumho for its egregious and oppressive conduct,” Flippo said. “It’s time for the company to face facts. Its workers voted to unionize, and Kumho now must come to the table and commit to good-faith negotiations for the equitable contract these hard-working men and women long ago earned.”

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 Backs Thermal Paper Trade Petitions

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 10:48

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today announced that it filed a letter with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission in support of antidumping (AD) petitions on thermal paper imported from four countries.

The petitions, filed by Domtar and Appvion, call for antidumping duties to be imposed on imports from Germany, Japan, Korea and Spain.  

“Domestic papermaking supports good, family-sustaining jobs, and the workers in these operations take a great deal of pride in what they do,” said USW International Vice President Leeann Foster, who oversees bargaining in the union’s paper sector. “They deserve to compete on a level playing field.

“We cannot allow dumped thermal paper to undermine our domestic industry or the communities that rely on these jobs.”

The USW represents workers who make thermal paper in Appleton, Wis., Ware, Mass., and West Carrollton, Ohio.

In May, the union filed its own trade petitions on dumped and illegally subsidized passenger vehicle and light truck (PVLT) tires. That case is now awaiting final determinations by the Commerce Department and ITC.

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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Paper, Packaging and Graphical Unions Team Up on Safety Rights

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 12:24

Contact: Leeann Foster, lfoster@usw.org, 412-562-2282; Jess Kamm Broomell, jkamm@usw.org, 412-562-2444

Trade union members on all continents are working together this month to promote health and safety in the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging industries, particularly emphasizing workers’ rights to participate in safety management on the job. 

This is the third global action of the 3R campaign led by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union. Each centers around one of three core rights: 

  • Right to know about hazards at work
  • Right to refuse, or to shut down, unsafe work
  • Right to participate fully in health and safety decision-making

All multinational companies across the industry have workplace health and safety programs. Some are designed in corporate offices and sent to local managers to implement. Other companies do it differently, with unions and worker safety representatives involved in the creation of policies, programs and procedures. This month’s work promotes those that are jointly designed and monitored by providing resources to union workers across the industries.

“In North America we rolled out this third coordinated action on Labor Day, and so far, more than 70,000 USW paper workers have received the action materials,” said Leeann Foster, IndustriALL Pulp and Paper Sector Co-Chair and USW International Vice-President, who leads this safety and health work. “Nobody wants death or injury to occur in their industry, not unions, not employers. But to make the change we must take action to ensure the three core rights of safety are a reality, and not just words.”

As the world grapples with the pandemic, many companies are rolling out new rules on health and safety, from personal hygiene, to restricted visitors, to physical distancing. This is a vital time for worker participation in identifying hazards, and how to mitigate them.

Joint Health and Safety Committees are provided by law in many countries, but they were initially products of collective bargaining. The worker representatives on those committees must be elected, and not chosen by management and truly have the Right to Participate.

“Experience shows us that in matters as important as health and safety, the management of the company cannot be the only one to decide. It is imperative to establish joint structures in which trade unions and employers jointly decide on measures to protect workers,” said President of UNI Graphical & Packaging, Joaquina Rodriguez Torrejon.

Download all the action materials here.

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 Launches Multi-State ‘Batlight’ Tour to Turn out Vote

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 07:56

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) this week kicked off a series of actions in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan to spotlight how elections and politics impact workers and their communities.

Between now and Election Day, the USW will use an outdoor projector to shine a “batlight” style image onto buildings after dark encouraging workers to make a plan to vote in the upcoming general election.

“USW members across the country are familiar with the consequences of the broken promises they have endured for the last four years,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “The president claims to have saved jobs, but his failed policies are responsible for hastening the loss of manufacturing employment.”

“Even though the pandemic has changed and in many ways limited our opportunities to interact with each other,” Conway said, “we still want to make sure everyone’s making a plan to vote.”

For pictures, please click 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 Backs Biden-Harris Made-in-America Plan

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 07:02

Click here to watch the USW Video "Broken Promises"

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

(PITTSBURGH) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement in support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s plan to end outsourcing and bring jobs back to the United States:   “American workers need leaders who understand that our economy cannot survive if we continue to ship manufacturing and other jobs overseas.    “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s vision to protect and create jobs through a combination of tax incentives, infrastructure investment with strong Buy American provisions, and attention to domestic supply chains offers common sense solutions and a clear path to success.   “For far too long, American workers have borne witness to a steady stream of plant shutdowns and closures. And while the pandemic certainly contributed to the devastation of the American economy and cost millions of jobs, the sad reality is that this trend stretches back well beyond this year.   “Donald Trump’s policies have been heavy on talk and massive corporate tax cuts, but light on strategic, long-term action when it comes to truly protecting American jobs. America’s workers and industries can’t count on short-term solutions.   “It’s no wonder then that imports continue to flow into our country, jobs continue to move offshore and massive Chinese overcapacity continues to erode global prices of our manufactured goods.    “The Biden-Harris plan shows that they will prioritize domestic manufacturing and more importantly that they intend to put American workers first.”    For more on Trump’s broken promises to steelworkers, click 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: Trump Prioritizes Politics over Manufacturing Jobs

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 13:23

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

(PITTSBURGH) — USW International President Tom Conway issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s tweet calling for a Goodyear boycott:

“During the past year, our union and our individual members reached out directly to the President and his White House staff on countless occasions as Goodyear was closing its 90-year-old American tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., which resulted in hundreds of workers losing their jobs. 

“This closure happened as imported tires from around the globe flooded the U.S. market, leaving the union no choice but to again file a trade case challenging these unfairly traded imports. 

“It would have been nice if the President would have paid as much attention to that loss of American jobs as he does to his MAGA hats. Maybe a tweet or two back then would have been helpful.”

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 Applauds Kamala Harris as VP Pick

Tue, 08/11/2020 - 19:46

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

(PITTSBURGH) — USW International President Tom Conway issued the following statement after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris will serve as his running mate:

 “The USW applauds Vice President Joe Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Like Vice President Biden, Sen. Harris has a strong record standing on the side of working people.

“Over the course of her career, she’s worked to hold big banks accountable, prosecuted employers for wage theft and introduced pro-labor legislation in the U.S. Senate. 

“Workers need leaders who put their interests first, fighting for retirement security, affordable health care and strong labor rights. We are confident that Sen. Harris, like Vice President Biden, will continue to prioritize these important issues.

“Now, more than ever, our country needs strong leadership. Together, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris offer us a choice to put our country back on the path toward stability and shared prosperity.”

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.

Kumho Workers Overcome Campaign of Oppression to Win USW Vote

Tue, 08/11/2020 - 14:27

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

(Pittsburgh) – Workers at Kumho Tire in Macon, Ga., won their battle to join the United Steelworkers (USW) despite the corporation’s relentless and illegal campaign to thwart their organizing rights.

The National Labor Relations Board today declared the union drive victorious after processing the final 13 ballots from an election last fall.

Workers sought USW representation to fight low wages, hazardous working conditions and abusive treatment at Kumho, which ruthlessly harassed and bullied union supporters in an attempt to derail the organizing campaign.

“These workers voted to unionize even though Kumho tried every underhanded, despicable stunt it possibly could to violate their rights and poison the election results,” noted USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who leads thousands of Steelworkers in seven southern states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Workers’ solidarity in the face of extreme intimidation shows just how urgently they need the workplace protections that only a union can provide. And their victory over an abusive, greedy company should inspire other workers who want to end the mistreatment they face from their own employers.”

In 2017, Kumho workers narrowly lost an initial election on the heels of Kumho’s vicious union-busting campaign, which included threats against USW supporters. Kumho’s conduct was so egregious that Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan not only ordered a new election but took the extraordinary step of ordering the company to read workers a list of its numerous labor law violations.

While awaiting the final results of last fall’s election, conditions at Kumho only got worse. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the company failed to implement commonsense safety measures. Now, workers face a coronavirus outbreak that puts their lives at risk. 

“Kumho must begin acting like a responsible employer,” Flippo said. “The USW calls on the company to come to the negotiating table in good faith and quickly bargain the fair contract its workers long ago earned.

“In forming a union and holding Kumho to account,” Flippo added, “these workers will help set stronger pay and workplace standards for the whole industry.”

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 Joins Allies in Suing EPA Over Toxic Chemical Review

Tue, 08/11/2020 - 08:06

The USW and its allies on July 16 filed a lawsuit seeking a review of a new risk evaluation of the chemical methylene chloride.

The petition, filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not fulfill its obligations under the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act with regard to fully measuring the dangers associated with the chemical.

“Congress charged the EPA with determining whether chemicals pose an unreasonable risk to the public, workers and the environment given all the conditions of use,” said USW Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn, who heads the union’s chemical sector.

“But, we believe that the EPA did not take all of the relevant information into account when it assessed methylene chloride.”

The union and its allies flagged a number of concerns during the open comment period on the draft version of the risk evaluation last year.

Specifically, in comments last year, the USW argued that the EPA mistakenly assumed employers would provide particular types of personal protective equipment like respirators and protective gloves, which led to an understatement of workplace risk to methylene chloride exposure.

The comments further alleged that the EPA failed to consider reasonably available exposure data and workers' exposure outside the workplace. These concerns and others added to a serious under-assessment of how much exposure to methylene chloride workers receive.

The suit argues that the agency did not fix the problems with the draft risk evaluation and that its assessment of methylene chloride did not accurately review the risk of exposure to workers.

“Workplace hazards can only be controlled if they are accurately identified and measured,” said Shinn. “If the EPA bases its assessment on an incomplete analysis, the result will inherently be flawed.”

Methylene chloride is considered to be a potential occupational carcinogen. Health effects to such exposure may include harm to the central nervous system, liver and immune system, as well as irritation/burns and cancer.  This toxic chemical gives off fumes and at high doses of exposure, workers can be killed in as few as 10 minutes.

The toxic chemical is used in many ways, including as a solvent, propellent, processing aid or functional fluid in the manufacturing of other chemicals. It’s also used as a solvent in consumer and commercial products like sealants, automotive products, paint strippers and coating removers, as well as in the production of pharmaceuticals and polymers, metal cleaning and other items.

“Methylene chloride is the first chemical the EPA analyzed under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act, and the USW and its partners in the lawsuit want to ensure the agency is taking this responsibility seriously – in this case and in all future cases,” Shinn said. “We cannot allow incomplete assessments of toxic chemicals to place our members at unnecessary risk.”

The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Neighbors for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice and the New Jersey Work Environment Council joined the USW in filing the suit.

The 9thCircuit Court of Appeals will notify the USW and its co-petitioners when it will accept legal briefs and hold oral arguments in the case. This is anticipated to happen in the fall of 2020.

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