Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for the ‘Steelworkers’ Category

Midland Labor Leader Offended by Trump’s Attack on United Steelworkers

Posted by carldavidson on December 9, 2016

Tepsic speaking at ATI strike rally in Midland

By Jared Stonesifer

Beaver County Times

MIDLAND. Dec 9. 2016 –  — Tony Tepsic doesn’t have a Twitter account but, if he did, he would tell Donald Trump just when and where to find him.

Tepsic, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1212 in Midland, took offense to the fact that the president-elect earlier this week attacked a fellow United Steelworkers local president in Indiana.

The feud started when Trump claimed he helped save 1,100 jobs from leaving Indiana. Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 based in Indianapolis, called Trump a liar and said the real number of jobs saved was around 800.

Trump took to Twitter to fire back, saying Jones has done a “terrible job representing workers” while adding “no wonder companies flee (our) country!”

For Trump, it was just another 15 seconds on Twitter. Jones, however, started receiving anonymous phone calls that threatened his children.

“Nothing that says they’re going to kill me, but, you know, you better keep your eye on your kids,” Jones told MSNBC, according to the Associated Press. “I’ve been doing this job for 30 years, and I’ve heard everything from people who want to burn my house down or shoot me … I can deal with people that make stupid statements and move on.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Steelworkers, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

Ten Men vs. J&L Steel: How a Supreme Court case rooted in Beaver County forever changed America’s labor movement

Posted by carldavidson on September 4, 2016

By Jared Stonesifer
Beaver County Times

Many battles have been fought in western Pennsylvania in the last 300 years, but one in particular had far-reaching consequences that forever shaped the labor and workers-rights movement in the United States.

Indeed, workers’ rights might not even exist today if it weren’t for a U.S. Supreme Court case that unfolded in Aliquippa in 1937. The case was the last to challenge the legality of labor unions, mostly because the Supreme Court had the final word and deemed the practice constitutional.

Generations of workers have benefited since, but many have forgotten the significant role played by Beaver County workers to ensure those rights.

While residents celebrate Labor Day, it’s important to remember and pay homage to those who came before us, those who fought for their rights and won them in the highest court in the land.

Rededicating the monument

Ten men vs. Jones & Laughlin

It was in 1935 when Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act, commonly referred to as the Wagner Act. Among other things, the legislation guaranteed the basic rights of private-sector employees to organize into unions, to engage in collective bargaining and to strike.

The act also created the National Labor Relations Board.

But just because Congress passes a law doesn’t mean everyone adheres to it. Such was the case with Jones & Laughlin Corp., the gigantic steel company located along the Ohio River in Aliquippa.

Less than a year after the Wagner Act passed, a group of J&L employees decided to join the emerging Steel Workers Organizing Committee, a group of steelworkers who organized in Pittsburgh in 1936.

That action didn’t go unnoticed by J&L officials, who promptly fired the 10 employees who worked at the Aliquippa plant.

However, the newly formed National Labor Relations Board was there to advocate for the workers and ruled the company had to reinstate the fired employees while also giving them back pay.

J&L officials vehemently rejected that opinion, however, and said the company would not conform to the laws laid out in the Wagner Act, because those officials considered the act unconstitutional.

So set the stage for a court battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. It didn’t take long for the court to hear the case in 1937, and it also didn’t take long for the justices to return their verdict.

The court ruled by a 5-4 vote that the Wagner Act was indeed constitutional. The Steel Workers Organizing Committee flourished, and in 1942 it disbanded and became the United Steelworkers of America.

It was the birth of a labor movement that still exists and is stronger than ever today.

Ramifications of the decision

For Hopewell Township resident Gino Piroli, the 1937 Supreme Court decision was more than just a blurb in history books. It changed his life, and the lives of countless other Beaver County residents.

Piroli was only 10 years old when the decision came down, meaning he remembers a time before labor unions were even legal.

“It gave the working man dignity,” Piroli, 90, said. “Companies had abused workers ethnically, by race when it came to job promotions. That was a big thing.”

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Posted in Aliquippa, labor, Steelworkers | Leave a Comment »

Steelworker Families Support ATI strikers in Vandergrift

Posted by carldavidson on November 5, 2015

Locked out ATI Flat-Rolled Division workers and family members yell at a tractor-trailer truck driver leaving ATI’s Vandergrift plant during a family picket at the entrance to the plant on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.

By Tom Yerace

Trib Total Media

Nov. 5, 2015 – Anyone going in or out of the ATI steel plant in Vandergrift on Wednesday evening drove through a wall of emotion.

The union workers, whom the company has locked out of their jobs since Aug. 15, were in greater numbers than usual.

That’s because the Wives of Steel, a group of steelworkers’ wives, called a rally at the plant entrance that started at 4:30 and continued for at least two hours.

About 200 steelworkers and their families, most carrying signs demanding a fair contract from ATI, stayed on the move as they picketed. They walked back and forth — slowly — pausing on the driveway when vehicles approached the plant entrance, forcing them to slow down.

At the same time, they hurled verbal abuse and vented their anger, particularly at the vans carrying the people who have taken their jobs. The most frequent insult heard was the ultimate for union members — “scab.”

Yelling into a bullhorn, a steelworker shouted at a truck driver, “Hey dude, you’re a scab! You’re a piece of garbage!”

“Do you think they get the idea that we don’t like what they’re doing?” asked Russ Gainor of West Leechburg, who attended the picket line, even though he retired from ATI in June after 36 years rather than risk the lockout.

A thick white line freshly painted across the edge of the driveway served as the plant’s boundary from the public sidewalk.

As the steelworkers rallied on one side of the stripe, ATI security guards in khaki uniforms and ball caps videotaped the proceedings from inside the plant property.

ATI spokesman Dan Greenfield said the company had no reaction or comment on the rally.

When asked if there was any news about contract negotiations resuming, Greenfield said, “We’ve had contact with the mediator about trying to get talks going again, but so far it hasn’t been successful.”

Regina Stinson of New Kensington, who heads the five-member Wives of Steel at United Steelworkers Local 1138 in Leechburg, said the large turnout is an indicator of the stress the steelworkers and their families are dealing with.

The lockout enters its 83rd day Thursday. While some of the locked-out workers have found temporary work, many are receiving only unemployment compensation, which is a fraction of what they normally earn.

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300 Union Members Rally outside ATI’s Midland Plant after Lockout Begins

Posted by carldavidson on August 18, 2015

By Jared Stonesifer
Beaver County Times

Aug 17, 2015 – MIDLAND — More than 300 United Steelworkers union members locked out from the Allegheny Technologies plant rallied Monday morning not just for a fair contract, but for the chance to get back to the negotiating table.

ATI, which has 12 plants and employs more than 2,200 USW workers across the country, locked out the union members Saturday night as a result of a failure by the two sides to reach a contract agreement.

Union workers since July 1 had been working on a day-to-day basis after the last contract expired at the end of June, and negotiations had been progressing but hit a wall when union leadership failed to bring to a vote ATI’s “last, best and final” contract offer in early August.

Tony Tepsic, president of the Midland contingent of USW workers Local 1212, said more than 300 people marched through Midland on Monday morning demanding a new contract.

“We are on an official lockout as of now, and we’re spending our time picketing,” he said.

He called the rally “very productive” and said USW leadership attended, as did Beaver County Commissioner Joe Spanik.

Spanik, who worked in the union for many years, said it’s imperative to get local workers back on the job and railed against the fact that ATI plans on bringing in nonunion workers during the lockout.

“We want to see this resolved so the folks who live here in Beaver County can get back to work as quickly as possible,” he said. “We need to get them back to the negotiating table to try to settle a fair contract.”

Spanik said the march went through Midland down to the union hall and back up to the work site.

The commissioner said he also plans to contact Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to work on a solution to get workers back on the job.

Spanik said other union rallies are planned for the ATI plant in Brackenridge, Allegheny County.

A representative from ATI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Posted in labor, Organizing, Solidarity, Steelworkers, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

Ohio: Lorain Workers Rally to Save Our Steel Jobs

Posted by carldavidson on May 6, 2014

USW News

Yesterday, in Lorain Ohio, hundreds of workers and supporters joined U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur to tell America that we need to Save Our Steel jobs.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is bringing the issue of a surge of illegally dumped oil tubular goods (OCTG) imports, primarily from South Korea, is flooding the U.S. market. These foreign steel pipes are priced below fair value and in deceptive ways are designed to circumvent international trade laws.

U.S. workers and their communities deserve a fair shot. The United States has trade remedy laws that serve as the last line of defense for American firms and workers in the face of illegal trade. But when the rules are not effectively enforced, U.S. producers lose sales and profits, workers lose their jobs and communities lose homeowners and a sustainable tax base.

Watch for future planned rallies and join us in Granite City, IL; McKeesport, PA; Longview, TX; Fairfield, AL and in the iron range in Minnesota.

Posted in Steelworkers, trade unions, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

Busy Week for Pittsburgh Area…

Posted by carldavidson on April 22, 2014

Calling all activists! We have a busy day ahead of us on Thursday, April 24,  starting with a noon rally in Market Square for fair wages for women and low wage workers, then to support postal workers at Staples on McKnight Road, the to the Pump House for the first film of the season: Sacco and Vancetti! Top it off on Saturday afternoon at the Pump House for a discussion on the fight for meaningful immigration reform. Join us!

Thursday, April 24 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm The Equal Pay Rally is on at Market Square. The rally will focus on the minimum wage, the impact of the gender wage gap on Pittsburgh families, and economic justice for all. The students of the Women and Girls Foundation (WGF) GirlGov program will have an Equal Pay Bake Sale at the rally to help illustrate the wage gap. Men will be charged $1 per item, and women will be charged 75 cents to exemplify the impact economic discrimination has on every aspect of our daily lives. We also are going to have "Will Work for Equality" t-shirts.

Thursday April 24, 2:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Rally in support of postal workers! At STAPLES, 4801 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh, PA. 15237. Demonstrations will occur at Staples stores across the country on April 24 to protest the deal between Staples and the U.S. Postal Service that jeopardizes mail service and thousands of good jobs. The deal takes living-wage USPS jobs and full service U.S. Post offices and replaces them with knock-off post offices at Staples staffed with low wage employees. This is privatization and a race to the bottom for customers, workers and our communities.  The Staples deal is bad for the consumers who will pay the same for less service. The public has a right to post offices and services that are staffed by uniformed employees that are accountable and sworn to safeguard your mail.

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Posted in Pittsburgh, Steelworkers, 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 »

‘Clean and Green’ Industrial Laundry Comes to Pittsburgh as a Worker Cooperative

Posted by carldavidson on May 19, 2013

By CUNY CED

Pittsburgh, PA is the home of a new worker cooperative, the ‘Clean and Green Laundry.’  The industrial-scale cleaning firm was brought into being by a joint effort of the United Steel Workers and the City University of New York School of Law’s Community Economic Development (CED) Clinic, both of whom are in a new partnership with the Mondragon Cooperatives, the largest worker-owned cooperative in the world, located in Spain.

Under the new partnership, the CED Clinic, in collaboration with Pennsylvania-based Regional Housing Legal Services, will help launch the job-creating effort, an eco-friendly laundry based on Mondragon’s cooperative model.

Pittsburgh Clean & Green aims to re-employ 100 primarily minority laundry workers, who were laid off when their Sodexho Corporation laundry closed. They will work in a new state-of-the-art facility in Pittsburgh’s Central District.

 

Photo: Industrial laundry similar to ‘Clean & Green’

CUNY’s CED Clinic will provide legal support for a new model of unionized worker cooperatives—called “union coops”—recently launched by Mondragon, the United Steelworkers union (USW), and the Ohio Employment Ownership Center (OEOC).

“Union coops can create well-paying, democratically run workplaces in communities hard hit by the economic recession,” explains Carmen Huertas-Noble, associate professor and director of the CED Clinic. “The union component of the model provides front line worker-owners with the security of a collective bargaining agreement and leverages the organizational expertise and economic power of the labor movement.”

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Posted in Cooperatives, Economy, Green Jobs, Steelworkers | 2 Comments »

The Abuse and Exploitation of the ‘New Working Class’

Posted by carldavidson on April 6, 2013

Colleges are hiring more ‘adjunct’ professors

By Bill Schackner

Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 5, 2013 – Adam Davis calls it his “corner office.”

Actually, it’s the corner of a hallway at the Community College of Allegheny County, where Mr. Davis, an adjunct science professor, teaches without the benefit of an office.

Students can get extra help outside class if they don’t mind finding him and standing in an out-of-the-way section of a corridor that is quieter than meeting in the cafeteria but hard to find. “It doesn’t go anywhere,” Mr. Davis said of the corridor.

He acknowledges that the same could be said for his career. After all, the 34-year-old professor ekes out a living teaching eight classes this semester on three different campuses with no long-term prospects for health insurance or a retirement plan. “The metaphor doesn’t escape me,” he said.

The struggles of adjuncts such as Mr. Davis usually play out largely unnoticed on campuses. But starting today, their stories take center stage at a three-day conference organized by the United Steelworkers aimed at drawing attention to what has been dubbed the new campus majority: temporary instructors.

They are hired at low pay without hope of tenure or the academic freedom protections that go with it. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Aliquippa’s 1937 J&L Workers Come Up In Supreme Court Wrangling Once Again—This Time Over Health Care

Posted by carldavidson on March 28, 2012

Ten Steelworkers, Five Justices, and the Commerce Clause

By Amy Davidson
The New Yorker

If there had been Twitter, instead of news tickers, in February, 1937, reporters and other observers would have been using it to follow the arguments before the Supreme Court in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.

It was the central case of five, argued in one extraordinary round, which challenged the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act.

The J. & L. dispute involved ten steelworkers who had been fired from the company’s Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, mills for trying to organize a union. As with this week’s hearings on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, those deliberations were being watched with an anxiety that extended well beyond any concern for the protagonists in the suit, or even the law in question, to an entire vision of government.

Jones & Laughlin and its companion cases involved the Commerce Clause, the constitutional conductor for a whole orchestra of New Deal programs and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s more urgent efforts to pull the country out of the Great Depression. (It gives Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.”) The post-1937 conception of the Commerce clause has, as Jeffrey Toobin noted yesterday, become an assumed part of any number of government efforts today; it is the defense for challenges to the individual mandate but also to other aspects of the A.C.A., like provisions protecting people with preëxisting conditions.

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

 
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