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USW NEWS BREAK - Thursday, April 08, 2010


Economic/Political Articles
Steelworkers’ President Leo Gerard: If Miners Were Union, They Could Have Refused Unsafe Work at Massey
United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard talked to Ed Schultz tonight and slammed Massey Energy and Don Blankenship for their negligence that led to the deaths of 25 miners in West Virginia. Gerard, whose union represents thousands of hard rock miners in the United States and Canada, said that the disaster “absolutely could have been prevented.” While Massey racked of hundreds of violations and millions in fines, Gerard said the company would rather pay the fines than care about the safety of its workers while noting that … more
Barack Obama Pressed on China Showdown
A populist backlash against China’s trade policies is spreading from the industrial heartland to Capitol Hill, with politicians in both parties pressuring President Barack Obama to jettison caution and crack down on Beijing. Last week, the Obama administration delayed its decision planned for April 15 on whether to brand China a currency manipulator for keeping the value of the yuan artificially low to keep the country’s exports cheap — putting American industry at a competitive disadvantage. In years past, the postponement might have … more
USW Criticizes Oil Industry’s Approach to Health and Safety
The United Steelworkers (USW) today condemned remarks made by oil industry trade associations in the aftermath of the Tesoro refinery explosion and fire April 2 in Anacortes, Wash., that killed five and severely injured two others.  "It is obvious that this industry still has not learned from other refinery disasters and near-misses," said USW Vice President Gary Beevers, who is in charge of the union's oil sector. "They are more concerned with their image than taking appropriate action on safety." In weekend newspaper reports … more 
Pennsylvania Senator Proposes "Steelworkers Bill of Rights"
Senator Arlen Specter Wednesday (D-Pa.) proposed a "Steelworker's Bill of Rights" in remarks to US Steelworkers at a steel plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Among the key points were the need for the Yuan to fluctuate with other currencies and the right for American workers to expect the Government to defend their jobs from illegal trade.  "America's continuing loss of manufacturing jobs threatens the welfare and preeminence of this nation," said Specter.  "Nowhere is this threat greater than to the steel industry.  "For many years … more 
Steelworker Articles
Alcoa set for Negotiations with United Steelworkers - District 8
Alcoa Inc., which is about to enter into collective bargaining negotiations, is taking steps to make sure its operations will continue in case talks go sour and a work stoppage results. The master agreement between Alcoa Inc. and the United Steelworkers expires May 31, according to Alcoa's Aluminews online newsletter. The agreement affects 5,500 workers in 10 locations across the United States, including 750 at the company's Blount County plant. There are reports that Alcoa Inc. has been contacting retirees to come back to … more
2 Whidbey Families Devastated By Tesoro Refinery Fire - District 12
The deadly Tesoro refinery fire last Friday spread tragedy all the way to Whidbey Island. Two Oak Harbor families are reeling from the effects of the early morning explosion that killed five refinery employees and injured two. Donna Van Dreumel, a 36-year-old mother of two and a nine-year employee of Tesoro, was severely injured in the early-morning refinery fire Friday, April 2. She passed away later that day at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Donna and her husband Jim Van Dreumel moved to Whidbey Island 12 years ago … more
Sudbury Strike Becomes Longest In Inco's History; Little Hope For Resolution - District 6
The increasingly bitter strike at Vale Inco's nickel mining and processing operations in Sudbury, Ont., has become the longest in the company's century-long history. More than 3,000 workers have been on strike in Sudbury and at Vale's smaller operations in Port Colborne, Ont., since July 13, now beating the dubious record of eight months, three weeks and two days set during a strike at Inco in 1978-79. "It's a record that we'd rather not have broken," said Wayne Fraser, United Steelworkers director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada … more
Union Seeks Criminal Charges In 2004 Death - District 3
The union representing a worker killed at a British Columbia sawmill in 2004 has launched a rare private prosecution in a bid to have criminal negligence charges laid against Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. Lyle Hewer, 55, a member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-3567, died on November 17 after being "engulfed by wood waste material" while cleaning out a hog machine at Weyerhaeuser's New Westminster sawmill, noted a WorkSafeBC press release from March of 2007. At that time, WorkSafeBC was reporting on the … more
5 Refinery Workers Killed, Industry Group Lauds Its Safety Record - District 12
After an explosion at a Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., killed five United Steelworkers (USW) members and severely injured two other workers, the petroleum industry claimed its safety record is exemplary. Says USW President Leo W. Gerard: It’s incredible this industry brags about its safety record just after five people were killed in a refinery explosion. After the April 2 explosion, officials of the American Petroleum Institute told reporters that the industry was not getting enough credit for its health and safety record, citing drops … more

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