You are here

Steelworker News

Subscribe to Steelworker News feed
United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed
Updated: 2 hours 8 min ago

USW Urges Colorado Lawmakers to Quickly Pass Paid Sick Leave Bill

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 13:22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USW Endorses Joe Biden for President

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 09:17

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

“Vice President Biden has long been a friend of workers and our union,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “The USW is proud to stand with him now as he seeks to put our country back on a path toward shared prosperity through responsible leadership.”

The decision was the culmination of a months-long process that began last fall when the union sent all the prospective presidential candidates a detailed questionnaire to determine where each of them stands on key issues affecting working people.

The USW then shared this questionnaire with its entire U.S. membership. It also solicited feedback through a membership survey and held approximately 170 town hall meetings across the country where members could discuss their top priorities and concerns. 

“We came to this endorsement through listening,” said Conway. “We listened to our members when they told us that their top issues were affordable health care and prescription drugs, retirement security, and labor laws that protect working people.

“We also listened to the candidates, examined their responses to our questionnaire and assessed what their past records demonstrate about their values.”

“Vice President Biden shared with us his plans for how he intends to expand access to affordable health care, protect those with preexisting conditions, stabilize multiemployer pension plans, defend Social Security and preserve and expand labor rights.

“Joe Biden spent his life fighting for these things because he understands what it’s like to work for a living. As the son of a working-class family from Pennsylvania’s coal country, he has never forgotten his roots.

“We are confident that as president, he will put workers and their needs first.”

Conway said the union has a responsibility to back a candidate who knows the challenges workers face on the job.

“Workers need an administration that takes workplace health and safety seriously, now more than ever, and Vice President Biden’s record supporting strong, enforceable federal safety standards that help keep workers healthy and safe make it clear that he is committed to this vital work.

“On issues from creating good paying jobs through significant investment in our crumbling infrastructure to raising the minimum wage, we know Vice President Biden stands with working people,” Conway said.

President Trump did not respond to the union’s questionnaire.

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.

USW Files Trade Petitions on PVLT Tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 13:07

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today announced that it filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions on dumped and subsidized passenger vehicle and light truck (PVLT) tires with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.

The petitions allege dumping margins as high as 195 percent for Korea, 147 percent for Taiwan, 217 percent for Thailand, and 33 percent for Vietnam. The petitions also detail numerous government subsidies benefitting Vietnamese tire producers, including loans, tax breaks, and grants.

PVLT tire imports from these four countries shot up nearly 20 percent from 2017 to 2019, reaching 85.3 million tires, valued at $4.4 billion dollars, last year.

“This deluge of unfairly traded imports hurt our domestic industry and workers, including many USW members,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “Even though demand for PVLT tires increased, domestic producers were still forced to grapple with reduced market share, falling profits and lost jobs.”

The USW obtained AD and CVD orders on PVLT tires from China in 2015, and Chinese imports have since shrunk dramatically, allowing the domestic industry to invest in new capacity in the United States.

Yet importers soon sought out new sources of unfairly traded goods. Chinese producers, desperate for continued access to the attractive U.S. market, also invested in facilities in Korea and Thailand in order to export PVLT tires without paying AD or CVD duties.

“Slowing Chinese imports was vitally important to saving the domestic tire industry,” said Kevin Johnsen, who chairs the USW’s Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference. “But Chinese producers found a way around our safeguards, and other bad actors are eager to take advantage of U.S. demand.”

The USW’s petition is also the first petition to contain a currency undervaluation subsidy under new rules the Department of Commerce issued earlier this year. It alleges that the Vietnamese government’s systematic undervaluation of the Vietnamese dong in relation to the U.S. dollar constitutes a countervailable subsidy.

“The USW has long sounded the alarm on the dangers of currency manipulation and its impact on trade,” said Conway. “Now, under the Commerce Department’s new rules, we must address it for what it is: an illegal subsidy.” 

The Covid-19 crisis is putting even more pressure on domestic producers, increasing the stakes of addressing unfair trade, Conway said.

“The only thing domestic producers should be worrying about right now is how to restart their operations safely,” said Conway. “Yet even as they face falling demand in the wake of this deadly disease, they’re still struggling with unfairly traded imports that have continued largely unabated. Our only chance to preserve thousands of good, family-sustaining jobs is to stem this tide.”

The USW is the largest North American union in tire manufacturing, representing workers at the following U.S. PVLT tire plants: Cooper Tire’s plants in Findlay, Ohio and Texarkana, Ark.; Goodyear’s plants in Fayetteville, N.C., Gadsden, Ala., and Topeka, Kan.; Michelin’s plants in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Sumitomo’s plant in Tonawanda, N.Y.; and Yokohama’s plant in Salem, Va.

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.

USW Urges Swift Action on Pennsylvania Sick Leave Bill

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:44

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today applauded Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Miller’s introduction of Pennsylvania House Bill 2495, calling for expanded emergency sick leave provisions in the wake of the deadly coronavirus.

The state legislation would close dangerous loopholes in the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which extends paid sick leave to some Americans but leaves out workers at companies employing 500 or more people.

“In this uncertain time, workers are putting their lives on the line to keep our communities healthy and safe,” said USW District 10 Director Bobby “Mac” McAuliffe. “Excluding some of them from basic, common-sense protections based on where they work or how big their employer is, is simply unacceptable.”

Shoring up deficiencies in national legislation will also help protect vulnerable communities and limit transmission of the disease, as fewer workers feel pressure to come to work sick, either out of financial necessity or because they fear retaliation from their employers, McAuliffe said.

“Our union fights for paid leave and other health and safety provisions for our members, but all workers deserve these protections, especially now,” said McAuliffe. “Rep. Miller’s bill reflects this need. We urge the Pennsylvania General Assembly to quickly pass this badly needed legislation and Gov. Wolf to sign it into law.”

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.

USW Supports Latest COVID Aid, Calls for Continued Bipartisan Action

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 10:00

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) today called the bipartisan passage of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act another important step in ensuring the safety and health of both workers and the economy, and expressed support for the aid to small businesses and the health care industry.

The legislation, signed by the president today, added $75 billion in extra funding for hospitals to use for a variety of purposes, including vital personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and other supplies. Many in labor, including the USW, believed the initial allocation in the CARES Act, passed on March 27, did not go far enough for health care workers.

“This package provides a significant amount of funding to those who are risking their lives on the front lines of this pandemic, and we applaud that,” said International President Thomas M. Conway. “It is essential that they have every resource they need, and that national and state legislatures keep working to ensure this support continues.”

Conway also said there is much work to be done.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration must immediately pass an enforceable emergency standard to better protect front-line workers, and future legislation must provide a mechanism for health care and other front-line workers to have guaranteed access to COVID-related sick leave,” Conway said.

Future relief should include significant investment in infrastructure, Conway said, as well as address the multiemployer pension crisis, so that vulnerable retirees are not further harmed in the economic wake of the virus.

The union also said it is disappointed in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting that states could pursue bankruptcy as an alternative to federal stimulus.

“Suggesting states be left to fend for themselves is disgraceful,” said Conway. “Working families are struggling through no fault of their own. McConnell playing politics with aid money they desperately need is simply unacceptable.”

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: Administration Undermines Buy American, Hire American

Mon, 04/20/2020 - 07:26

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

(PITTSBURGH) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s Sunday night announcement that it will delay collecting certain tariffs for 90 days:

“Manufacturing workers across the country woke up this morning to learn that the administration granted importers of certain foreign goods a three-month delay in paying the tariffs they owed on them.   

“This was a gift that major importers and global businesses had been demanding for weeks but was repeatedly disavowed by the administration, including by the president himself. 

“It’s no wonder that the announcement of this decision was made at 8:30 Sunday night when most Americans were huddled at home protecting themselves, their families, friends and communities, seeking to stem the continued spread of COVID-19. 

“Auto workers in Michigan whose plants are either shuttered or have been repurposed to make ventilators for COVID-19 victims, glassworkers in Ohio, workers making shoes in Wisconsin, and millions of other workers in every state, are questioning why importers are being given this gift when they have been told that this administration’s and this president’s priority is to ‘Buy American.’   

“They wonder why importers of Japanese cars can delay tariff payment for 90 days when many of those same importers also received loans which may very well be forgiven. Millions of other workers will wonder the same thing about the products they make that still must compete with foreign imports: online, on retail shelves and in showrooms.

“Many of the products included in this tariff holiday are already here, and importers knew they had a duty to pay. They claimed they needed this break to assist with cash flow. 

“But millions of retail workers who have already been laid off will be hard pressed to find any benefit in this new ‘liquidity’ as they wait for unemployment benefits and wonder how they’re going to put food on the table, make their rent or mortgage payments or afford health care. 

“We appreciate the fact that this decision will not apply to the tariffs that are the result of trade enforcement measures. We fought for that.  But many other domestic producers are also facing tremendous competitive pressures from importers, especially those who have outsourced their production.

“The administration should not have tried to hide this decision by announcing it on a Sunday evening. Instead, the president should have made the announcement himself, during the light of day, so he could explain why he would do something that runs so antithetical to his claimed priority to ‘Buy American, Hire American.’”

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.

 


USW: Reported Administration Tariff Actions Troubling

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 09:01

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement in response to reports that the Trump administration will defer collecting MFN tariffs for 90 days:

“The administration’s plan to allow importers to defer certain tariffs, as reported in multiple press outlets, is ill advised and puts thousands of American jobs at needless risk.

“The argument that this move is necessary to increase ‘liquidity’ is also extremely troubling, as any flexibility it will afford will go to foreign producers and importers, while putting further strain on domestic manufacturers at a time when they can least afford it.

“Domestic workers making glassware, light trucks and countless other products will ultimately be the ones who pay the price as plants are forced to close and jobs are lost.

“The USW supports the administration’s reported decision to keep tariffs in place for items subject to current enforcement actions. These are vital protections that we must maintain.

“Nevertheless, the potential decision on MFN tariffs will hurt workers when they are most vulnerable.

“It’s indisputable that the United States must take bold, decisive action to protect its economy. However, the beneficiaries of these actions must always be workers and their families.

“Foreign manufacturers have been exploiting loopholes in our current trade laws for too long. Now is not the time for backsliding into a broken system.”

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.

USW Urges Congress to Build on Efforts to Aid American Workers

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 14:22

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) today applauded the bipartisan effort to pass a coronavirus stimulus package through the U.S. Senate and called on members of both congressional chambers to continue this effort to ensure that no workers are left behind in the face of the growing pandemic and its economic fallout.

The USW praised the bill for protecting jobs in vulnerable industries and providing expanded unemployment assistance, aid to small businesses, rebates to taxpayers, and funding for the U.S. health care system to treat and test patients and research vaccines, among other relief measures.

“The stimulus measure that the Senate passed yesterday is a significant improvement over the original Republican proposal, which would have provided a blank check for handouts to corporations with too little oversight, while not doing enough to help struggling workers and families,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “In particular, the expansion of unemployment payments is essential in this time of uncertainty, as jobless claims surge to historic levels. American workers must not be left behind.”

The USW said Congress must now demand new workplace safety standards and additional funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as increased production of personal protective equipment to make sure workers who are still on the job, especially health care workers and other first responders, can stay healthy.

In addition, the union urged lawmakers to guarantee that all Americans receive health care regardless of their employment status and to shore up pension funds to ensure retirement security.

“This must be one of many measures to protect workers. Too many Americans are still worried - about their health, the health of their families, about losing their jobs, or about how they are going to pay their bills in the coming weeks and months. These are the people Congress must always put first, not corporate executives and Wall Street millionaires,” Conway said.

The USW also said Congress must do more to ensure that paid sick and family leave is available to all workers who need it, and must remain vigilant so that companies don’t use the crisis as an excuse to exploit workers.

“Congress must continue to use its oversight to make sure companies don’t use this bailout as a means to enhance their bottom lines or line CEOs’ pockets. This money should be used to preserve and enhance the future for workers,” Conway said. “In addition, no American should wonder how they are going to care for themselves or their families during this pandemic. Barriers for patients must be removed, and costs must be kept to a minimum.”

The USW called on the House to quickly pass the bill and the president to sign it. The union also said Congress may need to provide additional stimulus payments in the future.

“This is going to be an ongoing crisis, and its economic effects will be long and far-reaching,” Conway said. “Congress will need to continue to make certain that the long-term effects of this pandemic don’t leave American workers and families to continue to struggle.”

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 Calls on Congress to Continue Strict Enforcement of Trade Rules

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 11:07

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) today sent a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate urging them to ensure that strict enforcement of fair trade measures continues despite the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the world.

“The USW strongly urges Congress and the Administration to not undermine existing trade enforcement authorities such as 301, 232 or traditional anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders,” USW International President Thomas M. Conway wrote. “Efforts to revoke or repeal such relief measures or delay duty collection could very well have a devastating impact on workers struggling to simply survive.”

Measures such as the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have provided American workers and manufacturers with stability, and relaxing enforcement of such duties during this crisis would take that away when it is most needed, Conway said.

“Our members have seen the importance that tariff relief can mean,” Conway wrote. “Plants have restarted, businesses have reinvested and turned a profit and American workers were able to bring home a living wage.”

Conway also pointed out that previous economic crises have led to a surge of imports and job losses, and cautioned against allowing the coronavirus outbreak to have the same result.

“Importers and their trade associations want Congress to overlook the significant record of illegal acts conducted by foreign companies and states to hurt American jobs,” Conway wrote. “Our union stands strongly against these measures.”

For the full text of the letter visit: http://usw.to/37b.

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

Pages

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