Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for the ‘trade unions’ Category

‘Solidarity Fast’ This Week in Support of UMPC Workers

Posted by carldavidson on April 14, 2014

UPMC workers are organizing a weeklong fast at the doorsteps of Pittsburgh’s largest employer to speak truth to power and show their determination for winning a union and a decent standard of living.  Join Fight Back Pittsburgh as we show our support for these brave workers and stand up to Make it Our UPMC.

Tuesday, April 15 at 6:30pm
UPMC Headquarters (600 Grant Street)

About the UPMC Workers Fast for Our Future
UPMC workers have built an incredible movement to transform our city by transforming UPMC, our largest employer, healthcare provider, landowner and charity.

Our movement has won thousands and thousands of supporters – faith leaders, elected officials, community activists and our coworkers – to the simple idea that everyone who works should do so with respect and dignity, and that everyone who needs care should receive it.
Every day workers and the people of Pittsburgh challenge UPMC to live up to its charitable mission. 

Our fast is also a challenge. It is an act of hope and anticipation, and also a show of strength and determination.  Because UPMC puts profits over people, we have become accustomed to hunger and hardship. When hunger and hardship is experienced in isolation, and outside of a movement for justice, they are just hunger and hardship. Our fast transforms hunger and hardship into a call for justice.  We are putting fasting for ourselves, to test and develop our commitment. We are fasting to call on UPMC to put aside business as usual and work with us to build a better future.

Posted in Organizing, Poverty, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Praises Pittsburgh Labor Movements

Posted by carldavidson on April 11, 2014

By Ann Belser

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 10, 2014 – Pittsburgh, the cradle of the American union movement, is now nurturing a new generation of union workplaces.

“There’s more organizing drives going on in Pittsburgh than in any other city of the country,” said Richard Trumka, the national president of the AFL-CIO, in Washington, D.C., who came home to Pittsburgh Thursday to address the 41st Constitutional Convention of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Mr. Trumka, a former mine worker who grew up in Nemacolin, Greene County, said in his speech that there are 45,000 people who are in the midst of organizing campaigns at their workplaces in Western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the SEIU campaign targeting health care provider UPMC, there are high-profile campaigns at Duquesne, Robert Morris and Point Park universities. An effort to organize workers at the Rivers Casino is under way, as well.

Part of the change in unionization efforts has been that instead of various unions organizing businesses on their own, unions have come together to help each other.

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Posted in health care, Steelworkers, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

Pittsburgh ‘New Economy’ Gathering a Success, New Projects in the Works

Posted by carldavidson on March 23, 2014

In addition to the account below of the points made by featured speaker Gar Alperovitz, Beaver County’s Carl Davidson joined with Rob Witherell of the United Steel Workers in leading a workshop on the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain and their growing influence in the US, including cooperative enterprises in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Heard off the Street: Economist touts employee-owned companies

By Len Boselovic

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 23, 2014 – Political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz was in Pittsburgh last week, promoting the idea of rebuilding communities through cooperatives, employee-owned companies and other economic models that he believes would create a more democratic, equitable, sustainable economy.

“One of the things about employee-owned companies that people don’t focus on is that they don’t move,” he said. “There’s a lot of reasons why this new model makes economic and political sense.”

Mr. Alperovitz, who was the featured speaker at a three-day event celebrating Pittsburgh’s new economy, said many of the topics discussed during the event can be traced back to Youngstown, Ohio, in September 1977, when Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced it was closing its mill there. The news devastated the Mahoning Valley economy, putting 5,000 steelworkers out of work and marking the start of seismic upheavals that wrought havoc in the Mon Valley and other Rust Belt communities.

“Youngstown faced the problems other cities are facing now,” said Mr. Alperovitz, who was enlisted in an ill-fated attempt by the mill workers to buy their company.

Even though the effort failed, he said, it laid the groundwork for future employee buyouts, cooperatives and other forms of collaborative ownership that are helping to revive communities following the Great Recession.

“All of that is traceable to that fight,” he said.

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Posted in Cooperatives, Economy, Organizing, trade unions, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

FirstEnergy Locks Out Utility Workers in PA

Posted by carldavidson on November 30, 2013

Utility Workers in Altoona, PA

From IndustriALL

FirstEnergy Corp. – one of the largest electric power corporations in the United States – locked out 150 members of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) in the early morning hours of November 25, three days before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

IndustriALL Global Union and Public Services International (PSI) are responding to this employer aggression against joint affiliate UWUA. Sign the IndustriALL-PSI-LabourStart campaign here and write your protest message to FirstEnergy CEO Tony Alexander.


Management locked out utility workers at its Penelec subsidiary in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania in order to extract huge concessions in workers’ retirement and healthcare benefits and working conditions, as well as to impose cutbacks in service standards for consumers.

FirstEnergy is demanding similar concessions from over 1,100 additional UWUA members at three other utility companies owned by the corporate giant throughout the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

According to the UWUA, the lockout of Penelec workers is part of a larger scheme by top FirstEnergy executives to roll back social benefits and working conditions for employees throughout the company, even as the corporation seeks to cut back on consumer services.  The locked out UWUA members are therefore on the frontlines of the union’s efforts to end the ongoing corporate assault against living standards for U.S. utility workers.

The UWUA has appealed for trade unions to condemn FirstEnergy’s anti-worker conduct by protesting directly to FirstEnergy CEO Tony Alexander and Senior Vice President Lynn Cavalier.

Please demand that these FirstEnergy executives immediately end the lockout of utility workers in Pennsylvania, and for the company to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith for fair agreements for union workers at all FirstEnergy locations.

Posted in Austerity, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

How Billionaire Businesses Expect the Public to Subsidize Their Low Wages and Opposition to Unions

Posted by carldavidson on October 27, 2013

McDonald’s Tells Worker She Should Sign Up For Food Stamps

By Emily Cohn
Progressive America Rising via Huffington Post

McDonald’s workers struggling to get by on poverty wages should apply for food stamps and Medicaid.

That’s the advice one activist McDonald’s worker received when she called the company’s "McResource Line," a service provided to McDonald’s workers who need help with issues like child and health care.

"You can ask about things like food pantries. Are you on SNAP? SNAP is Supplemental Nutritional Assistance [Program] — food stamps … You would most likely be eligible for SNAP benefits," a McResource representative told 27-year-old Nancy Salgado, who works at a Chicago McDonald’s. "Did you try and get on Medicaid? Medicaid is a federal program. It’s health coverage for low income or no income adults — and children."

Salgado is one of many fast-food workers who have walked off the job in recent months to protest the industry’s low wages, part of a nationwide movement aiming to raise pay to $15 an hour. She has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years, and earns $8.25 an hour in her current job as a cashier. Earlier this month, Salgado was detained after pressing McDonald’s President Jeff Stratton for higher wages.

"Do you think this is fair that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve been working at McDonald’s for 10 years?" Salgado said during the confrontation.

The audio of Salgado’s call to the McResource Line was posted Thursday on YouTube by advocacy group Low Pay Is Not OK. In the call, the McResource representative points the worker towards government assistance when she explains she needs help.

The YouTube version of the call is edited, but Low Pay Is Not OK provided a fuller recording to The Huffington Post. In the longer version of the audio, the McResource representative tells Salgado that because she’s employed by a McDonald’s franchise, which does not pay for the McResource service, she is not eligible for consultation. Still, the representative goes on to offer advice, including recommending that Salgado reach out to resources like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

McDonald’s pointed out to The Huffington Post that the audio is clearly edited. “This video is not an accurate portrayal of the resource line as this is very obviously an edited video," Lisa McComb, McDonald’s’ director of U.S. media relations, told The Huffington Post.

"The McResource line is intended to be a free, confidential service to help employees and their families get answers to a variety of questions or provide resources on a variety of topics including housing, child care, transportation, grief, elder care, education and more," McComb said.

A flier for the McResource line that hung a break room at a McDonald’s restaurant, according to a representative from the advocacy group, Low Pay Is Not OK.

"It made me mad [that I couldn't get help from the McResource line] because I thought that all the McDonald’s employees qualified for it," Salgado said in a phone call with HuffPost Thursday. McDonald’s did not clarify what percentage of its workers do qualify for its consultation services.

More than half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance, a reality that costs taxpayers more than $7 billion a year, according to an estimate from the National Employment Law Project published last week. McDonald’s low wages cost taxpayers about $1.2 billion annually, the study found.

McDonald’s announced on Monday that it earned $1.5 billion in profits in the third quarter, which is a 5-percent jump over last year.

In an emailed statement, McComb defended McDonald’s wages.

"McDonald’s and our independent franchisees provide jobs in every state to hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Those jobs range from entry-level part-time to full-time, from minimum wage to salaried positions, and we offer everyone the same opportunity for advancement,” she wrote.

"We’re working for one of the richest employers," Salgado said. Their response to her inquiry, she added, shows that they admit they don’t pay their workers enough to get by.

Posted in Austerity, Organizing, trade unions, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

Lend a Hand in Solidarity! Bus to Rally in Pittsburgh leaves IBEW 712 Hall in Vanport at 9:30 am Saturday Sept. 7th.

Posted by carldavidson on September 1, 2013

Download this flyer HERE.

Sept 7 UPMC Rally and March - For Labor with Location

Posted in trade unions | Leave a Comment »

Solidarity with Our Nurses, Tues, June 25, 4pm

Posted by carldavidson on June 24, 2013

SEIU Rally at the Courthouse


Posted in health care, safety net, trade unions | 1 Comment »

Will Pennsylvania Take North Carolina’s Austerity Path?

Posted by carldavidson on June 4, 2013

PA House GOP Budget Will Kill Jobs And Slow Economic Growth

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Beaver County Blue via

The state legislature will convene on Monday, June 3rd to begin crafting a final 2013-2014 budget. We need to make sure that the state budget supports all working families in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is facing a $500 million deficit. We rank 49th in the nation in job creation, which is reflected by our high unemployment rate. Governor Corbett has cut state funding by $1 billion to our school districts since he took office in 2011, while giving a $1 billion tax break to businesses. In February, Governor Corbett proposed yet another budget that is not in Pennsylvania’s best interest, making even more cuts in education and other areas necessary to keep our great state running. Corbett’s budget continues the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT), costing taxpayers approximately $365 million a year, and fails to expand Medicaid, which would insure half a million hard-working, low income Pennsylvanians at very little cost to the State.

On Wednesday, May 29, House Republican leaders introduced a 2013-2014 budget that is $100 million less than Governor Corbett’s budget that he proposed in February.

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Posted in Austerity, budget crisis, GOP, trade unions, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

Nearly 500 Celebrate May Day in Pittsburgh with a Colorful and Festive March and Rallies

Posted by carldavidson on May 2, 2013

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

Nearly 500 workers and community actvists marched through the streets of Pittsburgh’s South Side May I celebrating the international workers holiday. The main theme of the event was linking a defense of worker’s rights with immigrant rights, and backing the passage of a just and comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress.

‘Everyone here is an immigrant or the sons and daughters of immigrants,’ declared Leo Gerard, USW President, speaking from the back of a truck. ‘We can’t separate worker’s rights and immigrant rights, they’re one and the same.!

The main organizers of the celebration were Fight Back Pittsburgh and United Steel Workers Local 3657. The United Federation of Teachers, the United Electrical Workers, SEIU, IBEW, the USW’s ‘Women of Steel’ and other unions also took part.

This was the first May Day event backed by Pittsburgh unions in some years, and it was also promoted nationally by Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO. It marks the beginning of a more militant response by labor against austerity and in defense of wider democracy for all of its allies.

The day started with a rally at the UFT headquarters, followed by a mile-long march along Carson Street, ending with another rally, with music and food, at the IBEW headquarters.

Community organizers from One Pittsburgh and the resident groups also played an important role, bringing out Latinos, Middle Eastern and African immigrants. Activists from Beaver County’s Progressive Democrats of America, Beaver County Peace Links and Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism also took part.

mayday 2013 002

Posted in Community, Immigrant Rights, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

Revival of May Day Rallies Reflect Urgency of Pending Immigration Reform, Workers’ Right to Organize

Posted by carldavidson on May 1, 2013

By Peter Drier
Beaver County Blue via HuffPost

May 1, 2013 – Unlike the rest of the world’s democracies, the United States doesn’t use the metric system, doesn’t require employers to provide workers with paid vacations, hasn’t abolished the death penalty, and doesn’t celebrate May Day as an official national holiday.

Outside the U.S., May 1 is international workers’ day, observed with speeches, rallies, and demonstrations. This year, millions of workers in Europe, Asia, and Latin America are taking to the streets to demand higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions. A week after a building collapse in Bangladesh killed hundreds of workers in sweatshop factories making clothing for American and other consumers, thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh paraded through the streets calling for work safeguards and for the owner of the collapsed building to be sentenced to death.

Ironically, this celebration of working-class solidarity originated in the US labor movement in the United States and soon spread around the world, but it never earned official recognition in this country. Since 2006, however, American unions and immigrant rights activists have resurrected May 1 as a day of protest. This year’s rallies have a special urgency. For the first time in decades, a bill for comprehensive immigration reform, which would bring many of the estimated 11 million living in the U.S. illegally out of the shadows, has a good chance to pass Congress. In cities across the country, millions of Americans will be out in the streets today to give voice to the growing crusade for reform.

The original May Day was born of the movement for an eight-hour workday. After the Civil War, unregulated capitalism ran rampant in America. It was the Gilded Age, a time of merger mania, increasing concentration of wealth, and growing political influence by corporate power brokers known as Robber Barons. New technologies made possible new industries, which generated great riches for the fortunate few, but at the expense of workers, many of them immigrants, who worked long hours, under dangerous conditions, for little pay.

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Posted in Immigrant Rights, labor, Organizing, trade unions | Leave a Comment »


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