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Updated: 36 min 29 sec ago

PLRB Officer Orders New Vote for Pitt Grad Employee Union

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 16:48
Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org   PITTSBURGH (Sept. 18) – A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) official has ordered a new union election for graduate student employees at the University of Pittsburgh, ruling that the university committed unfair labor practices in its effort to affect the outcome of the graduate students’ vote in April to join the Academic Workers Association of the United Steelworkers (USW).   In his ruling, Hearing Examiner Stephen Helmerich said that Pitt committed “coercive acts” in order to convince graduates to vote against the union, and that those acts “potentially affected a large enough pool of eligible voters for the affect on the election to be manifest due to the extreme narrowness of the result.”   The ruling stated that Pitt’s anti-union actions included intimidation and misinformation, including creating the impression through emails that it was keeping specific track of who voted, and spreading false information about the subjects over which a potential union could bargain. In addition to ordering a new election, Helmerich ruled that the university must publicly share the decision regarding its violations.    “Sadly, the university has done everything it could since day one to stand in the way of its own graduate students having a voice, including engaging in unlawful conduct,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway.   “This time around, Pitt must allow these workers to exercise their rights under the law and allow the democratic process to proceed without obstruction,” he said. Pitt grad employees filed for a union election in December 2017, seeking a voice in decisions that affect their working conditions, as well as greater transparency and increased protections against discrimination and harassment. The April 2019 election followed an extensive anti-union campaign by the university, which included paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ballard Spahr, a Philadelphia-based law firm that specializes in “union avoidance.” The final tally showed 675 workers voting for the union and 712 no votes.    “Graduate students have known for a long time that we needed to join together in a union,” said Olivia Enders, a graduate student employee in the Department of Instruction and Learning in Pitt’s School of Education. “The recent unexpected increase in the already steep health care costs for our families is just one more example of our need for a collective voice. We hope Pitt learns from this situation and lets us exercise that voice without more illegal interference.”   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 Stands in Solidarity with Striking Auto Workers

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:45

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

(Pittsburgh) –United Steelworkers union (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement in support of United Automobile Workers (UAW) members who are on strike with General Motors: 

“The USW stands in total solidarity with striking UAW members, as they undertake this fight with GM. It inevitably falls to workers themselves to protect and advance their interests from runaway corporate greed and the continued abandonment of working-class communities. 

“When it comes to corporate self-interest, management at General Motors has displayed the worst possible behavior, including plant closings and a complete failure to share the rewards UAW members made possible. 

“UAW members had no choice but to stand up for themselves and their families. The USW, at every level of our organization, is prepared to offer assistance and support as they begin this struggle. They have our complete backing and commitment.”

To see Conway’s letter of support to the UAW, 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 Condemns HCL Technologies for Anti-Union Tactics as NLRB Election Nears

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:25

Contact: Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592 or tmontana@usw.org

PITTSBURGH–The United Steelworkers (USW) today condemned HCL Technologies, Ltd., for coercing employees into mandatory meetings aimed at defeating the workers’ campaign to organize a union and bargain collectively for better, more secure jobs at Google’s Bakery Square offices.

Last month, more than 66 percent of roughly 80 eligible HCL employeessigned cards indicating their desire to be represented by a union, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) scheduled a representation electionfor Sept. 24, 2019.

Since then, HCL has enlisted Eric Vanetti of “Vantage Point Alliance,” a controversial management consultant who gained notoriety in March 2018 for playing a role when Fuyao Glass defeated a union organizing campaign at its facility in Moraine, Ohio, as documented in the filmAmerican Factory.

“We have vast experience after decades of negotiating fair contracts for many thousands of members who work for multinational corporations,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway, “but in its drive to avoid bargaining in good faith with its employees in America, HCL, like Fuyao, is resorting to the same tactics employers have used for 100 years.”

Conway said “captive audience” meetings like those HCL coerced employees into attending typically begin with managers talking about how they prefer resolving conflicts “within the family” and without a union to advocate on the workers’ behalf. Generally, the company’s behavior evolves into bullying individuals or groups of workers if support for the union persists.

“We are a modern, international union with strategic partnerships around the world and members in every sector of the economy, including a variety of professional workers, from pharmacy technicians to university professors,” he said. “We are proud of the respectful and productive relationships the USW has established with employers and various industry groups through almost 80 years.”

HCL employees will cast secret ballots at the East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2019. The votes will be counted and results available immediately, but the NLRB has its own process for certifying the election.

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, health care, academic, tech and service occupations.

USW: Dem Debate Should Offer Meaningful Discussion of Trade

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 13:38

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

(Pittsburgh) –United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement in advance of the Democratic debate, calling on the 2020 presidential candidates to discuss the details of their proposed trade policies. 

“Each of the Democratic presidential candidates who will debate tonight offers a vision dramatically different from the current president who has only made America less secure and more divided and has left U.S. workers and communities less safe due to deregulation. On so many issues, the president is taking America in the wrong direction.

“On the issue of trade policy, the candidates tonight must provide more specific answers and identify a clear path forward for America’s manufacturing workers.

“American workers and their employers have faced barriers and predatory practices from bad actors across the globe. More than 3.4 million U.S. workers have lost their jobs as a result of China’s illegal trade. Democratic candidates must offer a realistic plan for containing the Chinese dumping and overcapacity that have devastated so many American industries as well as for ending theft of intellectual property.

“Democratic presidential hopefuls must also detail their plans for reforming NAFTA and fashioning any future trade agreements to include better affordable medicine provisions, while incorporating enforceable labor and environmental standards.

“The candidates owe it to all American workers to identify what they will do to ensure that those who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to succeed in the global economy.”

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia Kumho Tire Workers Vote for USW Representation

Sat, 09/07/2019 - 11:48

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

MACON, Ga. (Sept. 7) – Workers at the Kumho Tire factory in Macon, Ga., voted this week to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union nearly two years after the initial vote was marred by the company’s numerous violations of workers’ rights.

While some legal challenges remain before the election results are official, the initial vote count showed 141 votes for the union and 137 against, with 13 challenged ballots still to be resolved at an upcoming hearing.

About 325 workers would be in the USW bargaining unit at Kumho.

 “Kumho spent thousands upon thousands of dollars and used every trick in the book to fight its own workers, including suspending a union activist who was eight months pregnant. Still, solidarity prevailed,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo. “We look forward to resolving these challenges as quickly as possible so that these workers can finally have the chance to sit down with the company and bargaining a fair contract.”

An administrative law judge issued an order in May for a new vote at the Kumho factory after finding that company officials violated workers’ rights during the first election in October 2017.

Following that initial vote, which resulted in a narrow defeat for the union, the USW filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 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 employees outlining all of the violations.

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.

“Too often companies try to bully and intimidate workers who simply want to exercise their right to bargain collectively,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “That is simply a losing strategy. Rather than fighting their own workers, employers should work with them to build a better future for everyone.”

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 Announces Tentative Agreement with Alcoa

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 12:57

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that the union has reached a tentative agreement with Alcoa on a master contract and said that negotiating committee delegates will now return to their local unions to conduct membership information meetings and arrange ratification votes.

“We came to the table months ago prepared to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract, but management made us fight for it every step of the way,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “We are proud of what we have accomplished due to the unity, strength and solidarity of local union leaders, members and Contract Action Teams.”

USW District 7 Director Michael Millsap, who chaired negotiations with Alcoa for the union, said that the committee will be recommending the proposed agreement to the membership for ratification.

“The proposed contract builds on decades of collective bargaining progress with hard-fought economic and non-economic improvements,” Millsap said. “Our members have earned and deserve fair wages, benefits and working conditions.”

The USW will not be discussing the details of the proposed new contract with the public until after members have had the opportunity to review it with their elected union representatives in the coming days and weeks.

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.

Pittsburgh Association of Technical Professionals Files for NLRB Representation Election

Thu, 08/29/2019 - 08:41

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

The Pittsburgh Association of Technical Professionals (PATP) have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election with HCL, a tech contractor at Google’s Bakery Square offices. HCL’s 90 employees work side-by-side with those of the giant corporation for far less compensation and few, if any, of the perks.

The PATP is a project sponsored by United Steelworkers (USW) union to help Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania workers in high-tech fields organize and bargain collectively with their employers for improved working conditions and standards of living.

With more than 66 percent of eligible employees signing cards seeking union representation, PATP members decided to file for the election today so that they can begin the process of bargaining for fair wages and benefits as quickly as possible.

“HCL, its managers and we employees stand only to gain by seeking an expedient and fair NLRB-supervised election,” said HCL employee Joshua Borden.

“Workers at HCL deserve far more than they have received in terms of compensation, transparency and consideration, and it has gone on like this for much too long,” said HCL employee Renata Nelson. “While on-site management tries to do what they can, where they can, their hands are often tied by arbitrary corporate policy.”

The NLRB now must determine if the cards and signatures collected satisfy its criteria and schedule a representation election, when individual workers will cast ballots for or against organizing a new unit within the PATP and USW.

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, health care, academic, technical and service occupations.

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