Category Archives: trade unions

Union-Busting: ‘An Attack on All Working People’

Steelworkers Denounce Wisconsin GOP Bill

Pittsburgh, March 11, 2011 – This statement was released this morning by the United Steelworkers (USW) on actions taken last evening by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican Senators.

In a clear violation of Wisconsin’s open meeting law, Wisconsin conservative senators yesterday voted without a quorum to strip the state’s public sector workers – teachers, nurses, and librarians – of collective bargaining rights that the people of Wisconsin granted them a half century ago.

United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard said this attack on the rights of Wisconsin’s public sector workers is an attack on all working people. “Although Wisconsin law requires a quorum when Senators vote to spend the people’s money, these conservatives exploited a loophole to vote without a quorum on legislation to steal workers’ rights. This is not democracy,” Gerard said.

“As illustrated by the surging crowd of protesters who filled the capitol building in Wisconsin after the undemocratic sneak-vote Wednesday, workers everywhere, whether public sector or private sector, union or unrepresented, will unite to win back their rights with their feet at protests and their votes at ballot boxes,” said Gerard, who leads North America’s largest industrial union, with 850,000 members, including steelworkers, paper workers, oil workers, rubber workers and public sector workers in the U.S. and Canada.

The conservative attack on workers in Wisconsin is far from isolated, Gerard said: “This is a nation-wide campaign by billionaires and country-club conservatives, to terminate workers’ rights, giving unfettered power to corporations.” So far in Wisconsin, conservatives have granted only government workers the right to freeload – the ability to benefit from collective bargaining without paying union dues. In nine other states, from Maine to Missouri, conservatives are pushing right to freeload legislation to cripple all unions.

“All this legislation is an attack on the middle class, which blossomed in this country as a result of collective bargaining victories during the middle of the last century. Middle class workers, whether Republican or Democrat, know they must repel this assault on their right to collectively bargain or be reduced to insecurity and poverty,” Gerard said.

March 8: Women’s Day Is About Equality and Autonomy

On Women’s Day, GOP Attacks Women

By Leo Gerard
USW International President

Beaver County Blue via Huffington Post

Not like Valentine’s Day, which is about love and chocolate, or Mother’s Day, which is about sentimentality and breakfast in bed, International Women’s Day is about equality and autonomy.

The first commemoration occurred on March 19, 1911, a time when most governments in the world, including the U.S. and Canada, barred women from voting and most employers refused to hire women, ghettoizing them in sweatshops.

Six days after that first international call to action for women, flames engulfed such a sweatshop, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, killing 146 workers, the vast majority of them young women aged 16 to 25, some of whom jumped to their deaths from the 9th floor rather than burn.

Women can vote now. They can hold most jobs, though not all, including combat positions in the U.S. military. And their pay is only 75 percent of men’s. So the struggle for equality and autonomy is not over. Yet the GOP is intent on setting women back. If the Republican governors across the country succeed in confiscating collective bargaining rights from public sector workers, women will be hurt most. Continue reading March 8: Women’s Day Is About Equality and Autonomy

Worker Solidarity Comes To Harrisburg, Too!


‘We Are Wisconsin’ Rally on Capitol Steps Draws 1,000

LARA BRENCKLE, The Patriot-News


Harrisburg’s Patriot-News

Feb 26, 2001

We are Wisconsin rally

Carla Crawford of Pittsburgh yells towards protesters during a We Are Wisconsin rally to show support for the state’s workers. Wisconsin’s governor and Republican legislature are seeking to end collective bargaining for state employees.

Tom Banks of Lemoyne (with flag) shows his support during a "We Are Wisconsin" rally to show support for the state’s unionized workers. Wisconsin’s governor and Republican legislature are seeking to end collective bargaining for state employees.

rally 2 0226 sds

Saying they’re sending an SOS for the American Dream, a thousand people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol this afternoon in support of union workers and the middle class.

Organized by Keystone Progress and dozens of other  organizations, the event was part of a nationwide day of action against efforts in Wisconsin and other states to eliminate collective bargaining for unionized state employees.

Continue reading Worker Solidarity Comes To Harrisburg, Too!

Solidarity Rally Thursday, Noon, Feb 24, in Pittsburgh! More to Follow…

Show Pennsylvania’s

Support for the Fightback!

From Steffi Domike, USW

Dear Pennsylvania USW Friends and Associates:

The billionaire backed Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has declared all-out war on workers’ freedoms. He’s slashing taxes for the richest residents of his state, and wants to eliminate the rights of workers to organize a union, bargain for fair wages or advocate for decent pay and benefits.

In response, more than 25,000 protesters have converged on the state house in Madison to stage a sit-in that blocks the halls, bars the doors of the Senate and fills the state house lawn with tens of thousand of workers.  They’re fighting for their livelihoods and they’re fighting for ours as well because if workers lose in Wisconsin, the wave to take away our job rights and wages will spread across the country.

Pennsylvania is joining the Fight Back!

PLEASE JOIN US as we rally in support of American working families and the American Dream.

Today, Wednesday, 2/23, Pennsylvanians will be standing up in solidarity with Wisconsin workers in SCRANTON

WHAT:         Solidarity Rally for Wisconsin Workers

WHEN:         12:00 Noon to 12:30, Today, Wednesday, 2/23

WHERE:      Labor Leader John Mitchell Statue, Lackawanna Courthouse (Adams Avenue Side) Scranton, PA

On Thursday, 2/24, working Pennsylvanians will be rallying in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

WHAT:         Solidarity Rally for the Wisconsin Workers

WHEN:         11:30am, Thursday, 2/24

WHERE:      Municipal Services Bldg PlazaAcross from City Hall PHILADELPHIA

WHAT:         Solidarity Rally for the Wisconsin Workers (Lunch will be provided)

WHEN:         12:00 pm Noon, Thursday, 2/24

WHERE:      United Steelworkers Headquarters, 5 Gateway Center, 60 Blvd of the Allies PITTSBURGH

On Saturday, 2/26, working Pennsylvanians will be rallying to save the American Dream in Harrisburg.


WHAT:         Rally to Save the American Dream

WHEN:         Saturday, 2/26 at NOON

WHERE:      Capitol Steps, Harrisburg

Please do you best to attend these rallies and please spread the word about them.


Solidarity Is More Than Shouting Slogans, So Lend a Hand!




Folks from outside Wisconsin are contacting me and asking how to help with the battle to save collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.   (Additional information on the current status of things here is at the end of this letter.)

People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to the Governor’s plans. Most teachers have had to/have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private sector unions and public unions including police and firefighters.  There are many private citizens, often seniors.  Those remaining in the capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation, housing. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome:

ONLINE:  The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go to  for the link.

Continue reading Solidarity Is More Than Shouting Slogans, So Lend a Hand!

General Strike? Wisconsin Workers Prepare to Up the Ante vs. the Far Right

Photo: Afl-CIO President Richard Trumka at Madison Protest

Madison Area AFL CIO Votes to Prepare For General Strike

By Mike Elk

Beaver County Blue via

This evening in a press release from IBEW Local 2304 President Dave Pokilinski, I received word that the 45,000 member Southern Central Federation of Labor, the local chapter of the AFL-CIO for the Madison and Southern Central Wisconsin area, has voted to make preparations for a general strike.

The press release reads as follows:

Around 10:50PM Wisconsin Time on February 21st the South Central Federation of Labor endorsed the following motions:

Motion 1: The SCFL endorses a general strike, possibly for the day Walker signs his “budget repair bill,” and requests the Education Committee immediately begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a general strike.

Motion 2:  The SCFL goes on record as opposing all provisions contained in Walker’s “budget repair bill,” including but not limited to, curtailed bargaining rights and reduced wages, benefits, pensions, funding for public education, changes to medical assistance programs, and politicization of state government agencies.

Continue reading General Strike? Wisconsin Workers Prepare to Up the Ante vs. the Far Right

Battle Against GOP Union Busters Spreads to Ohio

Ohio: Collective Bargaining Union Protesters Clash at Statehouse with Tea Party Supporter of anti-Union Bill

Vociferous throngs attend hearings on Senate Bill 5

Thursday, February 17, 2011

By Jim Siegel
The Columbus Dispatch

Supporters of Senate Bill 5 rallied today outside the Statehouse . . .


Supporters of Senate Bill 5 rallied today outside the Statehouse . . .

. . . as the bill's opponents rallied inside.

. . . as the bill’s opponents rallied inside.

Thousands gather for Senate Bill 5 hearing

More than 3,000 enthusiastic supporters and opponents of the Senates proposed collective-bargaining overhaul enveloped the Statehouse this morning with cheers of kill the bill and yes on 5, prior to the latest hearing on Senate Bill 5.

The spacious Statehouse atrium was packed mostly with public union workers outraged at efforts to end collective bargaining for state workers and significantly weaken the ability for local workers to bargain for their pay, benefits and working conditions.

Unions made a strong showing for the bill’s first two hearings, and they were joined today by more than 200 red-shirt clad tea party activists pushing for the bill’s passage. The mix verbally clashed in the Statehouse rotunda, where each side did its best to drown out the other.

Continue reading Battle Against GOP Union Busters Spreads to Ohio