United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/rss United Steelworkers Press Releases Feed 2019-12-10 16:26:35 -0600 AMPS en hourly 1 Local 2-21 uses holiday parade as organizing opportunity https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-2-21-uses-holiday-parade-as-organizing-opportunity Thu, 12 Dec 2019 09:53:37 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/local-2-21-uses-holiday-parade-as-organizing-opportunity Nursing home and rehab center workers at Bishop Noa Home (BNH) have been in a tough fight with their employer for a first fair contract, and on December 6, the local and their greater community came together for a massive and jovial display of solidarity. 

The new members of amalgamated Local 2-21 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan organized a huge turnout and exhibition for the annual Escanaba Christmas Parade, all under the banner of the United Steelworkers (USW).

Debbie Lyle, a Bishop Noa employee for 38 years, works in environmental services and sits on the unit’s negotiating committee. After she and a small group of workers marched in the Labor Day parade, they decided to do it again in the winter, using it as an opportunity to showcase their solidarity to the community.

“Everyone had a ball,” said Lyle. “We had a lot of support.”

The group paraded through town in a USW and holiday-themed float decorated with lights, garland, and banners reading “Be Fair to Those Who Care.” They also shone a “Bat-Signal” onto buildings and structures they passed along the route that read “Bishop Noa Unfair.” A man from the crowd even came up to the trailer, took the group’s photo, and told them, “Don’t give up.”

“Seeing that kind of support makes it really worth it,” Lyle said.

Other members of Local 2-21 joined the parade as well, bringing the delegation’s size to about 46 people, far larger than the Labor Day turnout. Part of that, Lyle said, is in their growing connections.

“We’re only getting stronger,” said Lyle. “I almost feel like it’s brought us all closer together. We’re all fighting for the same thing.”

You can see more photos from the parade and stay up-to-date on the workers’ campaign by visiting and liking the We Support Bishop Noa Workers page on Facebook.

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Connie Mabin Talks the Next Generation of Labor on The Leslie Marshall Show https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/connie-mabin-talks-the-next-generation-of-labor-on-the-leslie-marshall-show Fri, 06 Dec 2019 07:16:55 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/connie-mabin-talks-the-next-generation-of-labor-on-the-leslie-marshall-show USW's Connie Mabin, director of the Next Generation program, talked about the union's young worker initiative and the future of labor on The Leslie Marshall Show this week.

Mabin, who also leads the union's digital platforms, said the Next Gen program, which focuses on engaging and empowering younger USW members, was launched partly out of leaders finding that many new workers are less likely to have a strong union background. Many are college graduates saddled with student loan debt whose parents lost their jobs during the 2008 recession.

"It was a very intentional effort to reintroduce the union to a whole new generation and to do what we've always done," Mabin said, "which is bringing up those who come up behind us and to get them to bring up those behind them."

Diversity -- of race, gender, sector and more -- is also something that the next generation brings to the table. Mabin said the Steelworkers no longer represent only manufacturing workers because the workforce is evolving; labor, as a result, has evolved with it.

"If you have a job, a union is for you."

Just two weeks ago, in Pittsburgh, more than 900 young USW activists from across the U.S. and Canada gathered for the inaugural Next Generation Conference, a week of education and inspiration.

Aside from enjoying a wide array of workshops and guest speakers, attendees also volunteered at multiple nonprofits throughout the city on the final day, as community service is a core tenet of the program.

"It helps young people realize how important it is to give back," said Mabin.

The third-generation Steelworker noted that young workers face unique challenges their parents escaped, in large part due to an onslaught of attacks from anti-union legislation and greedy CEOs.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Mabin said Millennials and other younger workers recognize labor as a potential partner in tackling things like environmental degradation, corporate greed, and more.

A new study even revealed that they embrace unions at higher rates than ever before.

"They understand the power of collective action. They know how to communicate," she said. "You combine that with the power of a union, can you imagine the possibilities?" 

 

To listen to the conversation, click here.

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USW Cares: 2019 Jefferson Award Winners Announced https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-cares-2019-jefferson-award-winners-announced Thu, 05 Dec 2019 12:21:54 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-cares-2019-jefferson-award-winners-announced Stacey Goodman, a USW member from District 1 who lost her daughter to drug addiction last year, is the 2019 champion of the USW Cares Jefferson Awards for her efforts to help others.

For her relevant work in taking on the opioid epidemic after her daughter, Jordan Bladel, became a victim of it, Stacey is the 2019 USW Champion Volunteer.

“She was my fighter,” Goodman said of her daughter, who was 24 and a mother of two young children when she died. “She would fight for anybody that she loved, and I am going to continue to fight for her and everybody else.”

Since 2015, the USW has partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, recently renamed Multiplying Good, to celebrate Steelworkers who do amazing works of community service, and to show the world that Steelworkers have big hearts.

The USW is proud to have generous and compassionate members who foster a culture of giving back in our union. Don’t forget to nominate members who are active in their communities for the USW Jefferson Awards and encourage your brothers and sisters to do the same!

Goodman was chosen as this year’s USW champion from a select group of volunteer winners from every district, SOAR and the USW staff. The champion award went to the volunteer with the highest overall score.

The winners follow:

District 1 – Stacey Goodman, Local 700T:  Goodman lost her daughter in 2018 to opioid addiction and decided to help other families with addicted loved ones. She got involved with FACT, Families and Addicts Coming Together.

Through FACT, Stacey conducts mock overdose trainings and raises money for addiction services. She works with her local union and district to encourage employers to treat addiction as a health and safety issue at work.

District 2 – Donna Dams, Local 2-21: Through involvement in her local’s Women of Steel committee, Donna has volunteered more than 100 hours, helped raise thousands of dollars and collected hundreds of donations for a variety of community service efforts. They include a back-to-school back pack drive and a pancake breakfast for fellow workers who were ill or going through cancer treatment. Donna also made over 100 blankets by hand and collected pajamas to donate to local nursing homes and a veterans hospital.

District 3 – Brian Arnold, retired from Local 7619: Over the nearly 30 years he worked in a mine and over the course of his lifetime, even after he retired, Brian has devoted his life on a daily basis to the sincerest service and care of everyone around him. He visits hospitals to check on friends and co-workers, he volunteers as a pastor to those who are sick or otherwise afflicted, and he has participated in countless community events and fundraisers for worthy causes.

District 4 – Buffalo Black Labor Week Committee: Started in District 7 by 2017 Jefferson Awards winner Ephrin Jenkins, Black Labor Week is a program dedicated to educating, empowering, and uplifting Buffalo, N.Y.

The Buffalo Black Labor Week committee plan and execute the annual program. USW members taught labor history and social justice courses in schools, cooked breakfast for and provided toiletries to veterans, hosted panel discussions, and led community service projects, including a Habitat for Humanity project and free haircuts.

District 5 – Gilles Bordeleau, retired from Local 6887: Although retired, Gilles is still active in his local as a member of its Retirement Committee. He meets with workers and their families to explain the defined benefit pension plan and other benefits.

Bordeleau is founder of the breakfast program “Petits déjeuners CCR” for the children of St-Octave school of Montréal-East. He organizes the collection of Christmas baskets for distribution to the most disadvantaged people of the Montréal-East and Pointe-aux-Trembles area, and he created a soccer league for people with trisomy, a genetic disorder,

District 6 – Alex Patterson, Local 6500: Alex is on the Health Sciences North Foundation Board in Sudbury, Ontario. He dedicates much of his spare time and energy to the board, which funds a variety of projects for the hospital ranging from raising money for equipment to donating to other causes that help better serve hospital patients. Most recently, the board has been raising funds to purchase two badly needed MRI machines for the hospital.

District 7 – Jerry Coppinger, Local 6103: Jerry and his wife have adopted five children out of foster care. In an effort to thank the organization that helped them build their wonderful family, they fund a “party” for the community that raises donations that pay for Christmas gifts to children in foster care. The party became known as the Forever Family Festival.

District 8 – Dave Riffle, Local 477: Dave supports the youth of Upshur County as a middle school archery coach, 4-H camp leader, and fundraiser for the Buckhannon Upshur High School band.

Although he has a wife and three children and works overtime often, he finds the time to be a strong youth leader in his community, even if that means using more than two weeks of his vacation time to do it.

District 9 – Bill Powers, Local 90: As chair for USW Local 90, Bill has led his local to participate in projects that better their community. He has helped raise more than $300,000 in member donations for United Way of Greater Knoxville over the past several years. He took the lead on two Habitat for Humanity homes, and has personally donated more than $10,000 to the United Way of Greater Knoxville. He is also a longtime volunteer at the Cerebral Palsy Center.

District 10 – Justin Calderone, Local 2227: On top of working full time, helping the union grievance committee and spending time with his wife and daughter, Justin runs the Calderone Caring Foundation, which he started in memory of his two-year-old son who died from ongoing health issues from birth.

The Calderone Caring Foundation aims to help families with children who encounter health problems by offering paid hospital parking, food vouchers, gift bags, and date nights for parents who are staying at the hospital. The foundation also assists families with medical supplies that are not covered by insurance.

District 11 – Local Union 444 Women of Steel Committee: Because of their hard work over the last few years, the Women of Steel in Local 444 are recognized in their community for helping disadvantaged children, veterans, and people in need.

Here are a few of the many projects Local 444 WOS either assist with or organize themselves: an Easter egg hunt for children with special needs, an annual bake sale and raffle to purchase adult bikes for a local sober-living house, a backpack drive for foster kids and veterans, an  annual “Angel Giving Tree,” a collection for their union sister who was seriously injured on the job, a fundraiser for Quilting for Warriors, and a huge food drive that donated 5,549 items and $1,200 to five area pantries.

District 12 – Xochitl Cobarruvias, Local 675: Xochitl has created strong ties to the communities of Carson and South Los Angeles, Calif., through her tireless efforts bringing money, food, school supplies, and legal help to struggling people.

She started a monthly food bank at her local’s Maywood office, which has distributed more than 10,000 bags of groceries to people in need. Because of her, 2,000 families were able to have a Thanksgiving meal and 500 children received backpacks with school supplies last year.

She raised over $7,500 for families involved in the area sports program to buy uniforms and cover fees, and she is a great help to Local 675’s annual children’s Christmas party, which provides gifts to underprivileged kids.

District 13 – Locals 1226 and 13-725 Women of Steel Committees: The two committees collaborated to plan and execute fundraising projects to benefit two different groups of community members, the Great Adventure Camping Trip Group (GACT) and the Rosepine Nursing Facility.

The WOS sisters raised $1,100 for GACT, which provides a no-cost weekend camping trip to single parents and their kids, and convinced their employer to match that contribution. Members from both locals help with activities for campers and talk to young adults about millwork and unionism. For the Christmas holiday, they collected personal items for a nursing home and volunteered at a party where they distributed gifts and spent time with residents.

SOAR – Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, District 3: Eleanor organizes the annual Terry Fox Run, fundraises for Relay for Life, is heavily involved with her church’s service and philanthropy, volunteers for Silver City Days, cooks and serves food for junior hockey teams and fans at Cominco Arena, provides service and support to struggling community members at Trail Association for Community Living, is serving her fourth consecutive term as a city councilor, and does so much more. She is truly devoted to building her community. Friends say her impact is priceless.

USW Staff – Karen Shipley, District 8: Karen raised tens of thousands of dollars for West Virginia flood relief and $5,000 for 4-H. She volunteers at soup kitchens, donates to women’s shelters, and delivers “blessing bags” to the homeless and backpacks to children. She is active in her church and is always doing something to help people in need.

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November Update from SOAR Director Julie Stein https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/november-update-from-soar-director-julie-stein Wed, 04 Dec 2019 09:19:13 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/november-update-from-soar-director-julie-stein Active and Retired Workers are Watching

Tuesday, November 5 marked another momentous election for union-endorsed candidates, with the two most notable demonstrations of the labor movement resurgence coming from Kentucky and Virginia.

In Virginia, the labor movement and our union, specifically, will remember this election as a significant victory in our work to reverse the many ways Virginians have been hurt by the state’s so-called “Right to Work” law and the persistence of an anti-worker majority in the State House (1997-2019) and State Senate (2015-2019).

Our union committed significant resources in this campaign with a core group of activists who knocked doors in addition to a targeted “Get-Out-The-Vote” mailing that hit mailboxes just before Election Day. USW activists accounted for more walk shifts than any other affiliate that participated in the AFL-CIO program, which helped lift six union-backed candidates to victory in legislative districts previously held by anti-labor lawmakers (two in the State Senate and four in the House).

This new pro-worker majority in the state legislature will be a welcome addition to the labor-friendly Governor, Ralph Northam, who we helped elect in 2017.

In Kentucky, USW activists led the way in a labor-led victory for Andy Beshear, defeating incumbent Governor Matt Bevin who earned the ire of teachers and first-responders when he supported legislation that would force them to work longer before even being eligible for retirement, and enforce deep cuts in benefits for future retirees. Additionally, Bevin reversed the state’s tradition of respecting union rights when he signed the so-called “Right to Work” law in 2017.

On the promise to fight on behalf of retirees and workers in Kentucky, Andy Beshear pledged to work with labor to protect pensions, strengthen public education, and expand access to good jobs and health care.

With 2020 on everyone’s mind, we should understand one thing very clear: Active and retired  workers are watching.

Source: https://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article208518614.html

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November Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/november-update-from-soar-president-bill-pienta Wed, 04 Dec 2019 09:14:24 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/november-update-from-soar-president-bill-pienta SOAR Active and Involved

Recently, SOAR has been involved in two USW  sponsored  conferences:  During  the third week of November, SOAR had an information booth and participated in a workshop at the first-ever Next Gen Conference, in  Pittsburgh.  During  the  last week of October, SOAR participated at the Rapid Response Conference, in Washington, D.C.

At the RR Conference, 46 SOAR activists were involved in a rally and participated in lobbying our  elected  representatives  on  issues  of  importance  to  active  and retired workers, as well as attending District meetings and general sessions of all those in attendance.

Pictured: SOAR members attending the Rapid Response Conference, with USW International President, Thomas M. Conway center.

Many seasoned SOAR members were teamed with first-time attendees and helped  them  navigate through the process of lobbying. Many of the SOAR attendees were there because of the generosity of their District Directors. Without their help and support, our  numbers  would  have  been  greatly  reduced. All of the SOAR members who attended the  RR  conference  should  make  a  point  of thanking their local union or district director for providing the support to allow their participation.

Participation by SOAR at the Next Gen Conference proved to be both energizing and educational. I believe SOAR and Next Gen have much to offer each other and can learn from each other if we choose  to talk to, instead of talking at, each other. A number of our issues are different; but, we have common ground on many, and we should work hard to find the issues on which we can agree and work together on those issues.

Pictured: Doug MacPherson, SOAR Vice President, greeting young workers at the Next Gen Conference.

Four years ago, no one was speaking about SOAR and Next Gen and Rapid Response working together to address issues; and now today, we cannot think about conducting activities without the input and involvement of these resources.

I think that is what I like most about this Union. The policy of the USW of inclusion and working together to help others is something we can and should all be proud of.

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Congratulations to the Winners of the 2019-2020 GMP Memorial Scholarship Program https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/congratulations-to-the-winners-of-the-2019-2020-gmp-memorial-scholarship-program Wed, 04 Dec 2019 07:50:54 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/congratulations-to-the-winners-of-the-2019-2020-gmp-memorial-scholarship-program The GMP Council is proud to continue the legacy of the GMP Memorial Scholarship Program to children of GMP Council members entering college. The GMP Memorial Scholarship Program is funded by donations in the memory of GMP Council officers, staff and members. The program offers six $4,000 scholarships to students entering a four-year degree program and two $2,000 scholarships to students entering two-year degree programs and are awarded for each year of their curriculum.

We want to urge every eligible student to apply for this outstanding scholarship award! Applications will open on November 1 and will remain open until February 13, 2020. Register at https://aim.applyists.net/GMP today!

AND THE WINNERS ARE . . . .

Anna Hemann
Daughter of Steve Hemann, USW Local 9B Keokuk, IA

All throughout high school I really tried to figure out who I was and what field of study would be best for me. I found my passion is through helping others. There is an ever-growing mental health field that I feel I would excel in. I am happy to have the opportunity to attend Wartburg College to study social work, sociology, and psychology. Among studying, I will be on the dance team and playing my clarinet for the ensemble. After college I want to further my education and receive my doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I have big plans moving forward and this GMP Scholarship I was awarded with helps me take that first step into not only discovering my dreams but receiving the education needed into making those dreams into a reality. Again, thank you so much for giving me this scholarship and the opportunity to turn my future endeavors into a career.

Claire Nichols 
Daughter of Daniel Nichols USW Local 63B Minneapolis, MN

I attend Cotter High School in Winona, Minnesota. During my years in high school, I was active in several activities both in and out of the classroom. I was a member of the marching band, concert band and jazz band all four years. I also participated in solo and ensemble music competitions all four years and participated in the school musicals. I was also a member of the track and field team throughout high school, competing at the section and state level during my career. I provided service to others in my community and country by volunteering at vacation bible school and participating in mission trips to underprivileged areas. In the future, I plan to attend St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minnesota, pursuing a career in respiratory care. I feel passionate about working with people that struggle with respiratory diseases. Eventually, I would like to continue my education and become a pulmonologist.

Karishma Narayan
Daughter of James Narayan, USW Local 17M Modesto, CA

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help me achieve my goals and furthering my education through your contribution. Throughout high school, I played soccer and volunteered at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Ca. Volunteering at Doctors Medical Center gave me the insight on wanting to become a nurse because I was able to work with other nurses and employees who were able to inspire me to pursue a career in the medical field. I will be attending Sacramento State University this upcoming Fall of 2019 with an expressed interest in Nursing. I am very excited for what my future has to offer.

Kayla Pesock 
Daughter of Gary Pesock from Local 75M Port Allegany, PA

As a student of Port Allegany High School, I was a member of the Student government and was secretary for two years. I was honored to play for the Port Allegany Lady Gators Volleyball team for all 6 years in the Port Allegany High School. This Fall I will be attending the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. I will be majoring in Environmental studies with the ambition to work for the State of Pennsylvania as a State Forester. As I attend the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford I will strive to be an active member of Student Government and their Environmental Studies Club.

Mandi Farmer
Daughter of Tyler Croyle, 14M Farmland, IN

My name is Mandi Farmer, and I attended Monroe Central Jr./Sr. High School. Through high school I competed on the science academic and quiz bowl teams. I also spent all of my high school career participating in band and drama club, my most notable performance being in Shrek: the Musical, where I was Lord Farquaad. I am attending Trine University to major in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Aeronautical Engineering, this all with the endeavor of diving into the field of Aerospace after graduating and completing graduate studies. My future hope is to work for NASA, whether that be as an astronaut or as an engineer.

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2020 MLK Event Details Released https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/2020-mlk-event-details-released Tue, 03 Dec 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/2020-mlk-event-details-released We are excited to announce that registration for the 2020 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference is officially open.

With all the critical electoral and democratic work ahead of us in the new year, our theme for the 2020 MLK Conference is "Give Us the Ballot," drawn from Dr. King's pivotal voting rights speech delivered at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom gathering in Washington, D.C., in 1957.

More than 60 years after Dr. King laid out for the nation the innumerable gains that would be made possible if every citizen had full access to the voting booth, we are still facing voter disenfranchisement at alarming levels.

We in the labor movement know that ensuring full voting access and a fair count of every ballot are the most important work we are doing. And I am hopeful that when we convene Jan. 17–19 in Washington, D.C., we will come with our sleeves rolled up and ready to work!

WHEN

Friday, January 17-Sunday, January 19, 2020

WHERE

Capital Hilton
1001 16th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 393-1000

REGISTRATION

Click here to register online.

It is recommended that you register and/or purchase day passes in advance, as on-site registration will be limited and not guaranteed.

Friday - Day Pass: $125.00
General Admission: $200.00

Payment by credit card is preferred. The credit cards that are accepted include MasterCard, Visa and American Express. If paying by check, register online and select “check” as payment method.

Make check payable to "AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer" and mail promptly to:

AFL-CIO
Attn: Meetings and Travel—MLK
815 16th St., NW
Washington, DC 20006

Please include a copy of your registration confirmation and/or a list of the names for whom the payment is being submitted. All checks must be received by Dec. 21, 2019. Any registrants who have not paid by this date will be canceled. You will be able to register again at the prevailing rate and pay by credit card online.

Final date to request a refund is Dec. 21, 2019. You may request a refund by modifying your registration online.

Click here to register online.

HOTEL

Negotiated lodging rates have been established with the Capital Hilton (1001 16th St, NW, Washington, DC 20036) at for $169 a night plus taxes and fees.

You can secure your lodging by clicking here or Calling the Hilton's Central Reservation Line at 1-800-445-8667 referencing "MLK" or January 2020 AFL-CIO Conference. All rates include breakfast and access to the concierge lounge for hotel guests.

TENTATIVE AGENDA

Friday, January 17, 2020
 
7 a.m.-2:45 p.m.: Registration Opens

9-10:45 a.m.: Opening Plenary-Give Us the Ballot

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Workshops

12:30-1:30 p.m.: Lunch

1:30-2:45 p.m.: Workshops

2:45-4 p.m.: Workshops

7-10 p.m.: Awards Ceremony and Reception

Saturday, January 18, 2020

7 a.m.-Noon: Community Service (Activities TBA)

Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch

1-2:30 p.m.: Workshops

2:30-4 p.m.: Workshops

4:15-6 p.m.: Closing Plenary

Sunday, January 19, 2020

9 a.m.-Noon: Worship Service (Location TBA)
Noon: Conference Concludes

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The Oilworker: December 2019 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/the-oilworker-december-2019 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 10:04:39 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/the-oilworker-december-2019 FROM THE UNION

December Update from the NOBP Chair

Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate this holiday season, I want to make sure you are aware of an unfortunate incident that happened at the TPC plant in Port Neches, Texas, on Nov. 27, 2019, where an explosion caused a fire. 

Although there were no fatalities, there were multiple injuries and devastating damage to the surrounding community as well as a prolonged evacuation over the Thanksgiving weekend.  While it is too early to know the cause of the incident, it is an all too familiar reminder of the hazards in our workplaces. 

It’s times like these that remind us why we must constantly fight for safer workplaces, a fight that we have not given up, despite the EPA’s recent rollback of the Chemical Safety Rule.  I encourage you to check out USW International President Tom Conway’s recent blog on these changes, as they have serious consequences for our workplaces and our communities.  

Last month a bankruptcy judge approved a process for the sale of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, which resolved our union’s objections regarding transparency and communication.

Our union on Nov. 27 submitted comments to the EPA on proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program, encouraging the agency to weigh the impact on refinery workers when considering alterations to RFS policy. You can read the full text of these comments here.

Finally, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays, and I hope that you are able to enjoy them with family and loved ones.  Please keep the members and families of Local 228 in Port Neches in your thoughts as they go through this holiday season dealing with this incident and the aftermath.

In solidarity,

Mike Smith
NOBP Chair
mjsmith@usw.org

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Members of Local 7798 achieve major goal with workplace violence policy https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/members-of-local-7798-achieve-major-goal-with-workplace-violence-policy Mon, 02 Dec 2019 07:37:16 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/members-of-local-7798-achieve-major-goal-with-workplace-violence-policy Workers at Copper Country Mental Health Services in Houghton, Mich., obtained wage increases and pension improvements in their contract ratified earlier this year, but the benefit Local 7798 members were most proud of bargaining was language regarding workplace violence.

The contract committed the employer to appoint a committee, including two members of the local, to draft a workplace violence policy. Work quickly began on the policy, and just last week, the committee drafted and released its first clinical guideline focusing on responding to consumer aggression toward staff.

“We are so excited to have this go into effect,” said Unit Chair Rachelle Rodriguez of Local 7798. “This was a direct result of our last negotiating session.”

The guideline includes the definition of aggression and an outline of procedures, all of which will be reviewed yearly. And though this is just a first step in reducing the incident rates and harm of workplace violence in their workplace, it still is a big one for the local, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a collective bargaining agreement.

This is also why legislation, like the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309), recently passed by the U.S. House, is so important for helping provide further enforcement of contract language regarding issues like workplace violence, the third-leading cause of death on the job.

Incidents of violence in the industry are up 30 percent since 2012, and USW members have been pushing legislators throughout the year to pass this vital bill, which now moves on to the Senate.

“Our members mobilized all across the country and across industries to collect more than 80,000 signatures in support of this bill because they know it affects all working people,” said USW International President Tom Conway when H.9. 1309 passed two weeks ago. “We hope Mitch McConnell does what’s best for caregivers, their patients, and their families by bringing this bill to a vote in the Senate, where we believe it will see the same support as it did in the House.”

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USW, European Workers Address Concerns on Aleris-Novelis Deal https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-european-workers-address-concerns-on-aleris-novelis-deal Tue, 26 Nov 2019 15:07:05 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-european-workers-address-concerns-on-aleris-novelis-deal As aluminum producers Novelis and Aleris move closer to a merger, USW members are working closely with their European counterparts to ensure that jobs and workers’ rights are protected on both continents.
 
Members of Local 9443-01 who work at the Aleris plant in Lewisport, Ky., held two days of meetings with union leaders visiting from Aleris facilities in Germany and Belgium and signed a joint declaration promising further cooperation in the future.
 
The declaration also called on the company’s new ownership to provide detailed information to workers about its plans for the company, and to ensure that the collective bargaining agreements and working conditions at the plants are protected.
 
The European Union approved Novelis’ $2.6 billion bid for Aleris earlier this year, with the stipulation that the newly merged company sell off its plant in Belgium to alleviate antitrust concerns.
 
Local 9443-01 President Chris Geary said members of his local, who make aluminum sheets used in the auto industry, are concerned that U.S. regulators could push the company to do the same with their facility.
 
“We worry about how this sale could affect the future for the employees,” Geary said.
 
The U.S. Department of Justice raised its own concerns over competition, filing a lawsuit in September to block the sale. That case has been referred to arbitration with a hearing yet to be scheduled.
 
The workers’ group sent copies of its joint declaration to executives at the two companies. Click here to read the statement. 
 
“I can’t express enough how valuable this visit was,” Geary said. “Being able to reach out across countries and work together is extremely powerful.”
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Solvay Council Members Optimistic About Future Labor Relations https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solvay-council-members-optimistic-about-future-labor-relations Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:32:40 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solvay-council-members-optimistic-about-future-labor-relations Thirty USW Solvay Council members met Nov. 14-15, 2019 in Tinley Park, Ill., to receive updates on the company’s operations, discuss health and safety issues, share experiences with Solvay’s substance abuse program, and notify council members about new contracts and continuing negotiations. 

“This is one of the most organized and active councils in the chemical sector,” said USW Secretary Treasurer John Shinn. Shinn took over the USW’s chemical group when former International Vice President Carol Landry retired last July.

The USW represents 10 Solvay sites in the U.S., nearly all of which were represented at the meeting. 

New U.S. labor relations manager

Solvay’s new industrial relations officer/labor relations head for North America, Steve Cozzetto, introduced himself at the meeting and expressed his willingness to work with the council and the locals. This was a 180-degree change in labor relations between the USW and Solvay. 

“Steve is willing to talk through issues,” said Jeff Hill, who serves as the North American representative on the Solvay Global Forum. “He’s a breath of fresh air. We should have more cooperation from him.”

Cozzetto said he wants to meet with the company’s U.S. managers and educate them on the Solvay Global Framework Agreement (GFA) and how it applies going forward in working with unions.

The GFA says that Solvay management will be neutral during organizing drives, engage in a social dialogue with employees, adhere to labor and environmental standards, and conduct business in a sustainable manner.

“We need to keep working to put the GFA in place. The more we work together and push toward the GFA principles, the more we will be successful,” Hill said.

Shinn added: “This document enables us to go back and say to management they must treat the USW with respect.”

Cozzetto also attended the meeting to share with the council the company’s reorganization of its global business units. 

Solvay is a multi-specialties company, which sells chemicals that help the performance and processing of the customer’s product. 

Contract talks

After receiving the overall view of Solvay’s finances, restructuring and the effectiveness of the GFA in the U.S., the council members reported on issues and contract talks at their sites.

After five weeks of negotiations this fall, the Local 14200 membership at Solvay’s Marietta, Ohio, plant ratified a four-year agreement last month that included pay raises, a new drug policy and increases in Sunday pay, vision benefits and the shoe allowance. Labor and management negotiators agreed to settle outstanding grievances before going to arbitration. The local also beat back concessionary language in contracting out, overtime, Sunday pay and work rule changes.

Local 7-765-01 at Chicago Heights discussed its negotiations. The local’s contract expired Nov. 17, and bargaining continues with the members working under the existing agreement.

Two newly organized Solvay workers at the company’s Tulsa, Okla., composite materials plant spoke to the council over the phone. They obtained other USW Solvay contracts and are using them for reference in compiling their own proposals for a first contract. Negotiations are expected to begin in January.

One lingering issue at all the Solvay sites is the company’s revised substance abuse program.  Antonia Domingo from the USW’s Legal Department discussed and answered questions about the company’s drug and alcohol policy. Solvay acknowledged that it has an obligation to negotiate over the policy. 

The council also discussed health and safety issues with Tom Duffy of the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department. He proposed that the locals consider joint training with management over resolving their health and safety issues.

At the end of the meeting, Shinn thanked everyone for their participation and lively discussions.

“This has been a productive meeting,” Shinn said to the nods of several council members. “We had good discussions over the issues affecting our sites, and know what we need to do going forward.”

 

 

 

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USW Local 90 Builds Power Even in a Right-To-Work-For-Less State https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-local-90-builds-power-even-in-a-right-to-work-for-less-state Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:27:13 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-local-90-builds-power-even-in-a-right-to-work-for-less-state USW Local 90 at Dow Chemical’s Knoxville, Tenn., plant is a case study of what a local union can do to promote diversity and inclusiveness within the workplace, build the union, gain power at the bargaining table, and change the way the local community views labor so organizing a union is acceptable.

Tackling a lack of diversity

“We discovered that from 1994 to 2001, our former employer, Rohm & Haas, only employed three people of color and 11 women,” said Guy Jernigan, retired president of Local 90. 

Hiring did not change much after Dow Chemical bought Rohm & Haas in July 2008 and took over plant operations.

“Out of 47 Dow hires, we’ve only had five black workers and one woman hired,” he said. “When the hiring starts reflecting that we are not inclusive of women and people of color, there is something wrong. Your work force should reflect the diversity of your community.” 

The local represents about 130 hourly workers in the production, lab and mechanical departments. The site makes coatings, water-based polymers and water-based emulsion acrylics. 

In 2018, the local began tackling the lack of work force diversity by meeting with the Knoxville Urban League, Chamber of Commerce and Centro Hispano. 

Dow examined its direct-hire practices and organized an external hiring panel with union participation. This year, the company participated in an Urban League job fair; this historic, nonpartisan civil rights organization advocates on behalf of economic and social justice for African Americans and against racial discrimination in the U.S. 

Mike Bozzone, the current president of Local 90, said the local is still working with the Urban League today to get more people of color hired at the site.

Building the union

When the only non-member in the Local 90 bargaining unit retired in October 2018, local union officers decided to celebrate by coming into the plant on their days off to provide donuts and coffee to members working on four shifts across different areas of the plant.

The process took three to four weeks, but it gave every member the opportunity to get a donut and talk with the leadership. 

“I think it really meant something to members that we did this on our days off,” said Local 90 executive board member David Manning. “In my 25 years, I think that made more of an impact on the membership than anything else we’ve done, and we’ve bought jackets and t-shirts.”

In the management break room, the union leaders left a box of donuts with a sign saying “100% Membership.” 

In September 2019, Local 90 hosted the DowDuPont North American Labor Council (DNALC) meeting, providing a catered reception, lunch every day and a hospitality room each night for members to network with each other. Local 90 invited all of its members to attend the reception and meeting on their days off.

In 2020, the local hopes to do other events to build solidarity and educate the members about the local union and its activities. “It could be handing out more donuts, union t-shirts or maybe having a luncheon,” Bozzone said. “Nothing has been decided yet.”

Gaining power in bargaining

Local 90 began Building Power training in 2018 in advance of their contract expiration on Jan. 29, 2019. For the first time, the local distributed a series of handbills, texts, a contract survey and hard hat stickers. 

They also decided to use the site’s 75th anniversary celebration as an opportunity to showcase their solidarity ahead of negotiations. Members created a USW booth for the celebration, gave away prizes of USW merchandise to current and former members, and conducted a 50-50 raffle that resulted in a $600 collection for the East Tennessee Children’s hospital. 

Members and retirees wore their union shirts to show solidarity, and the local displayed a banner with the words “100% Strong, USW” that the members signed.

With the help of District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, the local printed a 75th anniversary coin. One side of it had the USW District 9 graphic and the words “USW Unity and Strength for Workers District 9.” The other side had a graphic of the chemical plant and the 1982 World’s Fair globe against a mountain backdrop with the words “Local 90 Union Strong 1943-2018.”

“Our members were proud of our local’s presentation,” Bozzone said. “It outshined what the company did.”

He said that labor relations changed for the better in Knoxville as a result of the local’s participation in the 75th anniversary event. In August 2019, Dow invited the Local 90 president to be a member of its Knoxville Community Advisory Panel. The company invites community leaders and officials each month for a luncheon to update them on the site’s affairs. Each quarter Dow hands out a money grant to a local nonprofit.

“Having a seat on the advisory panel is important,” Bozzone said. “It bodes well for our union.”

Dow also decided to include the union when the United Way recognized the company for donations raised. Now, Local 90 has a representative on the Knoxville United Way board. 

“In 2017, we had to fight to be included in the recognition for donations,” Manning said.

All of this positive activity gained the notice of Dow corporate leadership, government officials, community leaders, union officials, and current and former employees and their families. So when it came time to negotiate Local 90’s new agreement with Dow, the local easily obtained a five-year contract with wage increases, paid paternity leave and time for the union to conduct a new hire orientation session. Local 90 members ratified it Jan. 25, 2019.

Reaching out to the community

Besides contributing to the United Way, Local 90 also reaches out to the community by aligning itself with the local Jobs with Justice chapter and other labor, faith and community-based organizations.

“It’s so important now for locals to be active in their communities because that’s what the companies do,” Bozzone said. “Unions need to operate at a different level now and help their communities thrive.”

 

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3M Maplewood Local Makes Progress In Contract Talks https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/3m-maplewood-local-makes-progress-in-contract-talks Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:24:28 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/3m-maplewood-local-makes-progress-in-contract-talks Local 11-075 at 3M’s Maplewood, Minn., maintenance facility began negotiations April 15, 2019, in advance of the mid-August expiration of the existing collective bargaining agreement. Despite the early start, the local is still bargaining seven months later.

Local 11-075 President Thomas Heimer remains optimistic that the group could reach a fair agreement soon. He said the two sides have made progress. Talks resumed Nov. 22.

The negotiations impact some 200 USW members who handle maintenance for 3M’s headquarters facility, which consists of about 40 buildings and is growing. These workers are machinists; electricians; systems personnel; heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialists; millwrights; calibration technicians and utility employees.

While the local works under a contract extension, it continues to push back on company proposals such as contract term, sick leave, clocking into work and pay for certain job classifications.

“On day one of bargaining, the company came at us with 100 proposals on the table. We gave them six or seven items. It’s been a long battle, but we’re still bargaining,” Heimer said.

Several weeks ago, the local held an informational meeting to update the membership. Heimer said about 50 members attended and that the meeting went well. He advised that members keep up-to-date on negotiations and contact him via the local’s website at www.uswlocals.org/local1175.

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USW-backed workplace violence bill passes U.S. House https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-backed-workplace-violence-bill-passes-u-s-house Mon, 25 Nov 2019 11:40:57 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-backed-workplace-violence-bill-passes-u-s-house After a months-long campaign bolstered by United Steelworkers (USW) activists, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309) reached the floor of the U.S. House last Thursday and passed.

The bipartisan-sponsored bill, introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard that requires health care and social service industry employers to develop and implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans.

“Our members mobilized all across the country and across industries to collect more than 80,000 signatures in support of this bill because they know it affects all working people,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “This is how we make progress – by finding common ground and solidarity around issues that impact everyday Americans and making our voices heard.”

Workplace violence is the third-leading cause of death on the job, and health care and social service workers are among the most vulnerable. Since 2012, violence in the industry has increased by 30 percent.

“It is past time for these workers to have the protections they need,” said Conway. “We hope Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does what’s best for them, their patients, and their families by bringing this bill to a vote in the Senate, where we believe it will see the same support as it did in the House.”

Pounding the pavement

USW members pounded the pavement all year collecting postcards for the union’s Safe Jobs Now campaign in support of the bill. And just three weeks ago, hundreds of Steelworker activists descended onto Washington, D.C., for the annual Rapid Response conference where they also marched to the Dept. of Labor to hold a rally and were joined by several legislative leaders, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), before walking the halls of Congress to speak to their representatives about the legislation.

USW Health Care Workers Council Coordinator Tamara Lefcowitz said direct member action played a vital role in raising awareness about this bill and pushing it through the House.

“Our incredible activist base absolutely made a difference,” said Lefcowitz. “And it still can. Members can call their senators and encourage them to push Mitch McConnell to do what’s right and bring this bill to the floor for a vote.”

A group of USW activists was in Washington last Thursday to watch the historic vote take place, including DeJonae Shaw, a nurse and member of Local 7600 in District 12.

“This is a win for all of us who selflessly serve as caretakers across this nation,” said Shaw. “To every legislator that listened to our stories and who took the time to vote in solidarity with us—thank you.”

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Time to Put on the Pressure, Steelworkers! https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/time-to-put-on-the-pressure-steelworkers Fri, 15 Nov 2019 12:39:13 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/time-to-put-on-the-pressure-steelworkers  

Two weeks ago, over 650 Steelworkers took to the streets in Washington, D.C. at our Rapid Response, Legislative, and Policy Conference, sending a strong message to Congress and the Department of Labor: we want Safe Jobs Now for our health care and social service workers.

While we rallied in front of the Department of Labor, a group of our impacted health care members met with representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and delivered tens of thousands of postcards from our recent national action to urge passage of H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. This bill would direct OSHA to ensure their workplaces develop and implement violence prevention plans.

Our members also delivered postcards to Senate offices and held conversations with over 200 House offices, driving home our message that safety on the job is a priority for every worker.

Our message is being heard. A vote in the House is expected this week. We need to keep the pressure on by telling our Representatives their support is both essential and expected.

Make a Quick Call! 

Action Instructions:

  • Dial our toll-free number to the U.S. House:
    866-202-5409. You will be automatically routed to your Representative.
  • Tell the office who you are and where you are from.
  • Tell them to protect our healthcare and social service workers by supporting H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

 

 

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USW Participates in Global Packaging Conference https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-participates-in-global-packaging-conference Wed, 13 Nov 2019 10:08:00 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-participates-in-global-packaging-conference The USW joined union members from across the world in October for the UNI Global Union’s Graphical and Packaging Sector Conference.

The group, which included members from more than 40 countries, met from Oct. 22 to 24 in Toledo, Spain, to address a number of issues and their effects on the packaging industry, including Brexit, and to discuss campaigns at multinational corporations such as WestRock and Kimberly-Clark.

The conference also held elections and welcomed several new board members, including the USW’s Luis Mendoza, who will represent North America.

The USW is a member of several global union coalitions, including UNI and IndustriALL, and works collectively with both groups to represent workers, set standards and organize campaigns around the globe. UNI represents more than 20 million workers from 150 countries.

Mendoza, who in January will become chair of the union’s paper sector bargaining, provided the conference with an update on the WestRock global network, established last year after the company made several acquisitions.

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Lieutenant colonel says nurses can save veteran patients’ lives with one simple question https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/lieutenant-colonel-says-nurses-can-save-veteran-patients-lives-with-one-simple-question Wed, 13 Nov 2019 07:43:19 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/lieutenant-colonel-says-nurses-can-save-veteran-patients-lives-with-one-simple-question The U.S. veteran population was roughly 20 million strong in 2016, the last year data was collected. One of the many common threads among those millions, aside from their shared military service, is their need for quality, compassionate health care.

And sometimes the smallest actions can make the biggest difference.

According to Jennifer A. Korkosz, Lt. Col. (Ret.), U.S. Air Force, one of the most important questions nurses and other health care professionals can ask their patients is, “Have you ever served in the military?”

This simple question helps provide vital insight for optimally caring for one’s patients and is so important that the American Academy of Nursing built an entire initiative around it that focuses on improving the health of veterans.

Among the unique areas of concern for many veterans, according to that initiative, are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma, brain injuries, and exposure to radiation, nuclear weapons, Agent Orange, and more. Veterans also are at much higher risk than the general population for suicide—while veterans make up 14 percent of all U.S. suicides, they make up only 8 percent of the country’s population.

To help stem the tide of suicide and provide overall proper care, nurses and other providers can do their part by knowing the resources in their communities that can help veterans, as well as by establishing empathy and building trust with veterans in their communities.

“Feeling appreciated and acknowledged is a great way to help build rapport,” Korkosz said.

The USW recognized the unique needs of veteran workers on the job and recently established Veterans of Steel, a resource for members who have served or are serving in the military to find camaraderie, support, and a way to fight for core issues that affect them and their families.

Part of this work involved the formation of the Veterans of Steel Council, which includes several dozen USW members and staff who served in the armed forces in the United States and Canada. They held their first meeting in October under the leadership of International President Tom Conway, who served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force before he began his union career.

The group spent the day brainstorming and setting goals for moving their activism forward, including engaging veterans in the union and community, educating and advocating for veterans’ issues in both countries, and providing a variety of resources for Steelworker vets and their families, including assistance with PTSD.

Veterans who are interested in participating in the program can sign up here to get more information and receive a free Veterans of Steel sticker. Members can also text VET to 47486.

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“All Gave Some, Some Gave All,” Local 593’s Wall of Honor https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/all-gave-some-some-gave-all-local-593s-wall-of-honor Sun, 10 Nov 2019 04:32:26 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/all-gave-some-some-gave-all-local-593s-wall-of-honor main

Local 593, Aurubis Buffalo Inc., has made honoring our veterans a part of their everyday existence when entering their plant.  Working as a team with the company, they have created what they refer to as the “Wall off Honor.”  

“One of my proudest moments besides my life besides my late wife and kids, was serving this great country of ours. I feel and our members feel it’s our duty to honor all past and present veterans, the sacrifices made to make this country free. All of the members of our military deserve to be honored, what they’ve sacrificed, their lives and time, for us to be in the best country in the world, they deserve it, and that is what the “Wall of Honor” is all about,” Dean Washburn, President of Local 593.

Cary Eldridge, Veterans of Steel Coordinator for District 4, has dedicated a lot of his time to help grow the program in his district. “USW Veterans of Steel program does more than sing the song praise, we have committed countless resources that our veteran brothers, sisters, and their families can turn to for assistance. We cannot forget the sacrifices that they have endured. We honor our veterans not one day but every day. I’m so proud to be a part of this program and locals like 593 and all the work they do.”

“We owe a great debt to those who sacrifice to defend our freedom. The Veterans of Steel program seeks to honor and support our veterans and their families every day. Local 593 and Arubis Buffalo’s Wall of Honor exemplifies that spirit,” Director Vitale.

Wall of Honor – History
Mary Ann Stets
Wall of Honor Team Leader

In late July 2012, Brian Young, then Vice President of Operations, Aurubis Buffalo, Inc. proposed the idea of a permanent tribute to the service and sacrifices of our own employee veterans.  His simple idea grew into a monumental project second to none!

Over the next few months a small internal team of three dedicated employees --  Brian Young, Douglas Haak and Mary Ann Stets -- worked hard to develop the initial ideas working closely with the talented team of craftsmen at E B Ironart, a local company specializing in military artwork.  Once designed, additional employees Ron Lorich and Bob Goodrow participated in the actual wall construction. All of these individuals spent many hours putting everything together, but they didn't do it alone.  Many of the materials used in the fabrication of the Wall of Honor are made from Aurubis Buffalo’s own copper and brass, so in essence every one participated. What better way to showcase the kind of work done every day than to use our own products to pay tribute to some very brave individuals?

The message is clear: There is no way to fully reward the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans.  By virtue of this wall, we acknowledge that EVERY DAY is Veterans Day.  Without our veterans, we would not have the freedom we take for granted. 

On March 12, 2013, we held the Dedication and unveiling of our Wall of Honor.  Retired Brigadier General Anthony Caruana was our emcee.  The Color Guard from the 914th Airlift Wing participated along with 15 other uniformed military personnel from the Military Entrance Processing Center and various other units in the area.  During our ceremony we were honored to present a personalized Honor and Remember flag to one of our employees, Peter Tycz, whose son, SSG Peter Tycz II was the first Western New Yorker killed in Post 9/11 service.

In the years since the dedication, we’ve updated our wall annually at Veterans Day.  A ceremony is held every year to honor all veterans and to honor recent retirees with their tags mounted on plaques with the words: “Thank you for your years of service to our country and to The Brass. Their original tags are replaced with the small brass tags that remain on the Wall of Honor.  In 2017, we presented another personalized Honor and Remember flag to one of our employees, Mark Warden whose son, Nick was killed in Syria that same year.

There are four panels in the design of our wall.  Each panel contains symbolic dog tags with the Veteran’s name, service and enlistment.  For employees we also include any military honors they earned.panel

The first panel contains the names of those who currently serve. 

Panels two and three contain the names of those with past service.  Of particular note is the span of service – at the time of dedication there was a tag on display for the Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather of an employee whose service dates back to the Revolutionary War!

The final panel is dedicated to those who gave their lives in service to our country.  This panel displays the symbol of KIA, the soldier kneeling at the boots, helmet and weapon of the fallen clutching the dog the dog tags.  Our fallen family member’s name and KIA date and place is engraved into the star with two tags attached, one indicating service and a “shadow tag” listing the military accomplishments of the fallen soldier.

The overall theme of our wall is “All Gave Some, Some Gave All”.

Each branch of Service is represented by both medallion and flag.  With the exception of the POW/MIA and the Honor and Remember flags they are displayed in order of their incorporation, with our US Colors, of course, prominently displayed in the center.  We are especially honored to display the Honor and Remember medallion as it is one of a kind designed by IronArt with permission from the H&R organization to design and display it on our Wall.  The flags were all posted during our Dedication Ceremony March 23, 2013, by members of each corresponding service.  As they were posted a brief history of each flag was read.

gaveSymbolism is everywhere on our wall. There is meaning behind the different types of tags and stars.  Tags of brass indicate employees and tags of stainless indicate family members.  Large brass tags indicate current employees. The small brass tags are retired employees.  The blue stars represent those in current service, and the gold stars those that gave their lives in service, countless names we may never know, but to whom we are sincerely grateful.  The poppies prominently displayed in the 4th panel represent the blood shed on all battlefields throughout history. Also, in the talons of the Eagle are three poppies representing our three family members sacrifice as he continues to carry their memory.  Of note, the poppies used were all hand made locally by disabled veterans.

The design of our Wall of Honor is such that it will always “look” full but is easily rearranged to make room for more Veterans.  It is updated annually for Veterans Day at which time we hold a ceremony in honor of our Veterans.  All employees are invited to attend.  Retirees are invited back to receive an engraved plaque in their honor with their tag from the Wall mounted on it with the words “Thank you for your service to Our Country and to The Brass.”  In place of their original tag on the wall a small brass tag is mounted and will remain in perpetuity.  It is only the fourth panel that we hope never to have to “make room” for more.

 

 

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Honoring One of Our Own this Veteran's Day https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/honoring-one-of-our-own-this-veterans-day Sun, 10 Nov 2019 03:57:22 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/honoring-one-of-our-own-this-veterans-day This Veterans Day, we would like to honor one of our own that has done outstanding work for our veterans in Canada: Scott Casey, from Local 7619, at Tech Resources, in Logan Lake, British Columbia, has used his own struggle to help others. Working with our Veterans of Steel program and Military Minds, Brother Casey has experienced first-hand the connection between being Steelworker and a veteran. He describes this connection in his own words: scott

“When we got back, we were shunned, a lot of our guys just crashed. Thirty days from the day I left the army, I was on the streets. You didn’t understand how to fit back into society so you create your own environment to fit into, one filled with good guys and bad guys. Living on the streets, the people there were my sheep, I tried to protect them because I was connected to that whole feeling of hopelessness because I understood it.  I was soul searching, I was drinking, I was trying to find my place. 

For 18 years I drove truck, so I didn’t have to deal with people, I didn’t want to be anybody at that time and on the road I could escape that or so I thought. In hindsight, it wasn’t good, in fact, I took myself away from society. Then I found Military Minds. They showed me there was good out there still. I got involved pretty early on, just as a way to give veterans job opportunities.  Then it morphed into a PTSD peer support organization.  Since then, we now provide support to about 135,000 veterans around the world.  There is online peer support for a multitude of issues from losing your job, to helping with veterans affairs paperwork, to I’m just not doing well right now.  We are on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, someone is there in every time zone for you. 

When it comes to activism and being a part of the Steelworkers, I started in 2010 and it was there that I found a brotherhood/sisterhood within the steelworkers that gave me the connection again, with people who look out for each other, people who want to do good and make a difference and I fell in love with it right away.  Two things stood out for me, the strength already here in the union and then being a soldier, we are forced multiples and are good at strengthening from within.

Soldiers have a different set of issues that come with them after service and when we enter the work force, we find that it’s difficult to transition, but if we have a network of our own within, like the union, then we have somebody to fall back on who gets us and understands us.  Working with our Veterans of Steel program, I want to see veterans looked after as the government isn’t doing its job.  I want our veterans to know they have the full support of the USW in creating this network in the United States and Canada to support each other from war to work, as soldiers to brothers and sisters.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Veterans of Steel, click here: usw.org/vetsofsteel.

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Solidarity and spirits high among workers at Bishop Noa Home https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solidarity-and-spirits-high-among-workers-at-bishop-noa-home Fri, 08 Nov 2019 12:46:17 -0500 https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/solidarity-and-spirits-high-among-workers-at-bishop-noa-home As new members of amalgamated Local 2-21 at Bishop Noa Home (BNH) entered another tough round of negotiations with their employer, a group of the nursing home and rehab center workers showcased their solidarity and strong spirits by dressing as Rosie the Riveters during Halloween.

The costumed workers in Escanaba, Mich., wanted to reflect the local’s own battle at the bargaining table.

“The real Rosie the Riveter passed away last year and we wanted to represent how the fight all started,” said Marcia Hardy, a dietary aide at BNH.

And the workers weren’t the only ones to enjoy the festive wear.

“We had a lot of fun with it, and quite a few of the residents commented on the costumes,” said Hardy. “That’s really the point of all we do—keeping their spirits high.”

Local trade unionists and Upper Peninsula Steelworkers have been rallying around the members during their negotiations. Last week, a group of BNH workers leafletted at a nearby paper mill where 700 USW members work as part of the amalgamated Local 2-21.

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