Category Archives: United Steelworkers

Laid off Steelworkers ready to strike Alcoa…?

Something seems amiss here:

Workers at Alcoa’s idled Massena East plant said Wednesday they are willing to go on strike if the company cannot come up with an acceptable contract proposal by Monday.

If the plant is idled, that means all of the workers are on lay off, right?

So what good is a strike?
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under Alcoa, United Steelworkers

Steelworkers ready to strike?

Apparently, even though the last strike last two years, they’ve forgotten what it’s like walking a picket line?

Century Aluminum is one of the largest employers in Hancock County and a weeks-long contract negotiation between the local steelworkers union and Century Aluminum have some people fearing a strike could be inevitable.

Workers went on strike at this same plant in 1998 for nearly two years, back then it was owned by a company called Southwire. The local steelworkers union said it’s ready to strike a deal.

“Negotiations aren’t going as well as we’d like,” John Beaver with United Steel Workers 9423 said. “Obviously, our goal is to reach an agreement, an agreement both parties can live with.”

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under Century Aluminum, labor union strike, United Steelworkers

Steelworkers’ Leo Gerard Posts a Funny…sort of

Sometimes union bosses are just plain ol’ gooberheads.

Take Leo Gerard, for example.  He’s the president of the United Steelworkers and he seems to like to making his points by conflating two different issues.

Earlier this week, the union-controlled National Mediation Board (the federal agency that governs labor relations in the airline and railroad industries) set more than 70 years of precedent on its head by changing how union votes are counted.

We noted how the voting change is nothing more than a payback for union bosses who can now concentrate their resources on unionizing an airline’s workers by concentrating only on hub cities and ignoring smaller outlying cities, even though workers in those smaller cities become unionized as well.

Nevertheless, in today’s true union fashion, Gerard posts an antagonistic op-ed in the Hill entitled: Hey, Union-Busters: We’ll Give You Supermajority. Aside from the provocative title [perhaps we should just start calling today’s unions ‘Company Killers’], Gerard’s post was more perplexing to the average reader than enlightening–even for those who don’t immediately see through his sad sophomoric sophistry .

Gerard makes the mistake of trying to tie NMB elections (which are entirely different than NLRB elections) into the uber-union desire for the job-destroying Employee Free Choice Act. His problem with doing that is that one has nothing to do with the other. 

The anti-worker-rights groups wanted the NMB to retain a different kind of election – one that requires the winner to receive votes from the majority of all of those qualified to participate — essentially, a supermajority.

This is an exciting new development. Up until now CEOs, union-busters, and particularly conservative Republicans, have actively opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, mainly because of a provision they call “card check.” But card check provides exactly what they now say that they want – a determination made by the majority of all of those qualified to participate. So, clearly, since they’re so upset by the end of supermajority rule for airline and railroad workers, they’d be happy if Congress intervened and instituted it for all workers by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.



Under the NMB’s new voting procedures (regardless of whether one agrees with it or not), the voter’s preferences (presumably) are kept secret.  Under the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act’s ‘card-check’ provisions, worker preferences are not secret.

Under card-check, workers are left exposed to pressure, manipulation and deception. And, most importantly, under card-check there is NO ELECTION, period.

Gerard’s post would be funny, if it weren’t such a pathetically poor attempt at subterfuge.


Gooberhead.
__________________
 

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776


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LaborUnionReport.com.


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Filed under Card-check, Employee Free Choice Act, Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers

Harley Davidson CEO to Union Worker: ‘Life isn’t that simple…’

During a question and answer session at Harley-Davidson’s annual shareholder meeting, Deborah Evans, a United Steelworkers member employed by the motorcycle icon, told CEO Keith Wandell that unionized employees weren’t “feeling the love” from company management.  Rather than giving Ms. Evans some bland answer, Wandell gave her a rather straight-forward answer:

“I wish to God I could stand in front of everybody and say that you’re going to be guaranteed a job for life,” Wandell said. “We’d all be great friends and pat each other on the back and walk into the sunset together. You know what? Life isn’t that simple.”

“I will come to work every day, roll up my sleeves, work next to you on the line, whatever has to happen to ensure that we are a great company,” Wandell said. “But I’m not going to tell people something that isn’t true.”

[snip]

At the heart of the issue was an employment security agreement entered into by production employees in the mid-1990s that encouraged workers to actively participate in continuous improvement efforts within Harley-Davidson’s factories without fear of losing their jobs.

The promises made at that time aren’t realistic given the unprecedented economic challenges that the company has faced since 2008, said Wandell, dressed in blue denim jeans and a white, long-sleeve Harley-Davidson dress shirt adorned with the company’s iconic bar and shield logo.

“If any one of us every [sic] believes that we aren’t going to impacted or affected by what goes on in the economy, we¹re wrong,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that the people that made that promise aren’t standing here today to tell you why it isn’t true.”

While Wandell’s answers may not have been what Ms. Evans or any of her union brethren wanted to hear, it is still better to hear the truth than nothing at all.
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under Harley-Davidson, United Steelworkers

Shock! Not all unions like card-check…

It’s been a fight that has been raging for five years or more: Should workers have the right to decide whether or not to become unionized through a secret-ballot vote, or through signing a union card in front of their peers in a process known as card-check?

Unions have spend an estimated $1.4 billion on getting politicians elected in 2006 and 2008 who have pledged to pass a job-destroying and misleadingly named law called the Employee Free Choice Act (or EFCA).  One of the central provisions of EFCA is the process of card-check.
Card-check simply means that, if a majority of employees (50% +1) sign union authorization cards, the employees are automatically unionized without a secret-ballot election.
President Obama has said that, if passed through Congress, he would sign EFCA into law.
Now comes word that not all unions are in favor of card-check legislation…at least when it comes to their own employees:
An election for union representation has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for the United Steelworkers (USW) to represent 66 professional staff of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). The definition of this bargaining union was stipulated through the NLRB on Apr. 9. The employees work in the association’s union program representing registered nurses and other health care professionals in New York and New Jersey.

On Mar. 19, the USW requested voluntary recognition by NYSNA as the collective bargaining representative of its professional employees. The USW also offered to submit to a ‘card check’ by a neutral third party, to demonstrate the interest of the NYSNA staff in being represented by the USW. Both of these acts are strongly supported by AFL-CIO and other labor organizations and are key components of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act awaiting passage before the U.S. Congress. On Mar. 22, NYSNA refused to voluntarily recognize USW and refused to submit to a card check by a neutral third party.

As a result of NYSNA’s unwillingness to recognize the USW as the collective bargaining representative of its professional employees, the USW filed a petition with the NLRB on Mar. 23. Within the following day, NYSNA proceeded to make unilateral changes to the conditions of employment for the professional staff involved. The USW is now contemplating an unfair labor practice charge.

[Emphasis added.]

So, according to NYSNA’s standards, card-check’s okay for thee, but not me?

Yet another fine example of the hypocrisy of today’s union leaders.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under Card-check, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, NYSNA, United Steelworkers

On Unions: From the mouth of babes

Last year, the AFL-CIO announced a campaign to target lure attract younger workers to the labor movement.  However, after watching the United Steelworkers strike for eight months in her town, one high-school student wrote a letter to the editor that demonstrates that union bosses have a lot of work to do before they can convince young workers to get in the car on the union bus.

I work in a local department store here in Sudbury, where a handful of USW 6500 workers were recently hired. I work side by side with them every day, and have gotten to know them very well.

I listen to them discuss, and complain even, about the Vale dispute on a daily basis, too. Therefore, I have come to hear a lot of their opinions and stands on the situation. However, what I don’t understand is why I am even working with them in the first place.

As a USW 6500 member who voted in favour of the strike, they voted not to work, plain and simple. This handful of Local 6500 workers that I work with every day are taking the jobs of other students like me, who need it more than they do.

As Canadians, I am clearly aware that they have the right to work. But as students, so do we. The Local 6500 members that I work with do not work full-time hours. They work the same shifts I do, after school hours, at minimum wage. Not only could this have been a job opportunity for five other students like me, as they are only working part time, but it also could have given me the extra hours that my job cannot give me because of the economy.

[snip]

Where I work is not the only place this is happening. Many Local 6500 workers have been hired everywhere, taking jobs of students across the city.

Personally, I believe they should be serving their time as a striker. Supposed to work an eight-hour shift at Inco? They should spend it as an eight-hour shift on the picket line. Not an eight-hour shift working our jobs. It’s common sense.

Ouch!

If other students feel this way, the AFL-CIO has a long way to go to brainwash reach the hearts and minds of young workers.
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, USW, Vale Inco

Unions Threaten to Boycott Mid-Term Elections

Union bosses are really, really steamed.  In fact, they are throw-the-toys-across-the-room boiling mad.

What’s the cause of their tantrum? 

Apparently, the Democrats they spent hundreds of millions of their members’ dues dollars getting elected have let them down…again.

Now, the unions are threatening to take their ball and go home. 

According to Politico, union bosses are threatening to sit out (or boycott) the 2010 mid-term elections

Labor groups are furious with the Democrats they helped put in office — and are threatening to stay home this fall when Democratic incumbents will need their help fending off Republican challengers.

The Senate’s failure to confirm labor lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board was just the latest blow, but the frustrations have been building for months.

“Here’s labor getting thrown under the bus again,” said John Gage, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 workers. “It’s really frustrating for labor, and a lot of union people are thinking: We put out big time in money and volunteers and support. And it seems like the little things that could have been aren’t being done.”

The 52-33 vote on Becker — who needed 60 to be confirmed — really set labor unions on edge, but the list of setbacks is growing.

The so-called “card check” bill that would make it easier to unionize employees has gone nowhere. A pro-union Transportation Security Administration nominee quit before he even got a confirmation vote. And even though unions got a sweetheart deal to keep their health plans tax-free under the Senate health care bill, that bill has collapsed, leaving unions exposed again.

Union leaders warn that the Democrats’ lackluster performance in power is sapping the morale of activists going into the midterm elections.

“Right now if we don’t get positive changes to the agenda, we’re going to have a hard time getting members out to work,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, in an interview.

If, by boycotting the mid-term elections, their members’ money won’t be frivolously spent on politicians who care less for the American people than their big labor handlers, we say, go ahead!…

Take your ball and go home.

Please.
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com

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Filed under 2010 Mid-Term Elections, AFGE, Ben Nelson, Craig Becker, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers