Day 1 CONVENTION COVERAGE USW CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION 2011 International President Leo W. Gerard Ignites Delegates to Stand Up, Fight Back By Barbara White Stack USW CommunicationsI nternational President Leo W. Gerard opened the 2011 USW Convention by acknowledging past leaders, recog- for our pursuit of universal health care, for the preservation of nizing the work of our union forefathers and calling current our pensions, for our families, our countries.the middle class. our members.” “The union movement and our allies need to mount a major Gerard noted that by sticking together and standing strong, assault for workers,” Gerard told the 3,000 delegates and inter- Steelworkers have achieved awesome advancements in bargain-national guests assembled at the MGM conference center in Las ing in these dire times, including winning successorship and Vegas Monday. This, he said, is the response to the assaults on coordinated bargaining in paper and substantial wage increases workers that have occurred relentlessly in the past three years. at Potash Corp. in Saskatchewan. The union preserved retiree - Steelworkers also, he noted, have pursued and won important delegates. The delegates responded to this kind of sentiment trade cases protecting 56,000 member jobs over the past three with applause 20 times and with three standing ovations. years. Steelworkers have shown they can win when they stand scabs taking their jobs, Gerard said. They must stand up and their rights. and restoration of global leadership in manufacturing. and added:Gerard told the crowd, invoking the theme of the 2011 conven- brothers, be strong. Gerard walked the crowd through the tragic events of the past three years. Unregulated, reckless gambling on Wall Street crashed the U.S. economy, which knocked down the world economy. Unemployment skyrocketed. Housing values de-numbers of foreclosures continue to take homes from working people. Wages stagnated and income inequality rose to pre-Great Depression levels in the United States and Canada. Instead of aiding suffering working people, politicians demanded austerity and immediately-balanced budgets. They fought health care reform, opposed extension of unemployment Security and Medicare, Gerard noted. At the same time, he said, politicians refused to balance budgets by taxing the rich and ending corporate loopholes and subsidies. Politicians are not working for working people anymore, he their campaigns with cash.” Workers cannot depend on politicians, he said. They must signer of the Declaration of Independence: “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, minds of men.”
Convention Approves Stand Up, Fight BackBy Barbara White Stack and Jim McKay from want and fear and that requires employment. . .housing, USW Communications medical care, education and the ability to retire with dignity.”D Invoking the words of Tommy Douglas, former leader of elegates on Monday unanimously -- and vehemently -- adopted a resolution echoing the theme of the not too late to build a better world,” the resolution calls on 2011 USW International Convention, Stand Up, Steelworkers to: Fight Back. social programs that support those families hardest hit by the recession and full employment policies. and collective bargaining. effort.” Delegates lined up at the microphones on the convention the United States and Canada to revitalize economies - and for policies to redevelop a strong manufacturing worker action is essential for economic and social equity, then base. workers. “Every worker should have a job where they have dignity public services. president of the Goodyear local in Gadsden, Ala. Denise Edwards, a representative of the Steelworker Orga- rights of all workers and the environment are protected will work to enact the resolution: and trade is fair and balanced. “Our SOAR members in Pennsylvania have gotten on the bus at 4 a.m. to join our brothers and sisters on the picket lines Delegates support Stand Up Fight Back Resolution.retirees just want to know what time the bus is leaving.”United States have resulted in a dramatic rise in inequality and unchecked corporate power which in the fall of 2008 caused the worst recession since the Great Depression, the resolution says. “This philosophy of deregulation, de-unionization, race-to-liberalism has shifted power, income and wealth from workers to corporations and left us with severe structural imbalances -ened the gulf that divides the bargaining power of workers and employers.” If our countries are to have economies that work for work-achieve it. It explains, “In order to have real freedom, in order Sen. Reid Promises to Protect JobsBy Jim McKayUSW Communications debt ceiling, has promised to turn his attention to Main Street N and creating jobs. evada Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader in the - U.S. Senate, on Monday welcomed the USW del- egates attending the 2011 Convention to his state with you as we seek to protect jobs.” “The USW is part of the foundation that makes our econo- Gerard said the majority leader has pledged to support Wayne my work,” Reid said in a videotaped welcome that was played Holland, Steelworker staff representative for Utah and North-for the delegates in the opening session of the Convention. ern Nevada, in his bid to become vice chairman of the National Democratic Party. Holland is current chairman of the Utah be strong without unions like the Steelworkers.” Democratic Party.
Pelosi Demands Job Creation;Halting China’s Currency ManipulationBy Barbara White Stack ating prosperity for all Americans, which will increase demand USW Communications and as a result, increase jobs. N By contrast, she said, Republicans are pushing an anti- ancy Pelosi, minority leader of the U.S. House, an- worker agenda in Washington and in states coast to coast, nounced at the 2011 USW Constitutional Conven- including attacks on unionized teachers and public workers in tion opening session Monday that before Repub- Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. Republicans in Congress, she noted, are actually trying to help corporations ship jobs overseas by passing an Outsourc- In a speech greeted repeatedly by applause, Pelosi also pointed out the key differences between GOP and Democratic of Wrongs. politicians – Republicans are job killers and Democrats sup- In addition, she said, the GOP, at the behest of corporations, port workers. is trying to gut the National Labor Relations Board, attempting And Pelosi thanked Steelworkers for their help in getting to punish workers for exercising their right to organize and de-health care reform passed and for support of clean energy leg-islation that will create jobs and improve the environment. Administration (FAA) funding process to strip airline workers Democrats have already held up the proposed trade deals of the right to organize the way other workers do. by demanding renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers displaced by imports. Now, Pelosi suggested that to get our economy back on track, to create jobs, and to Make It in America. Let us always stand up for a strong middle class currency, which causes its exports to the United States to be – the backbone of American prosperity.”expensive. This works to suppress U.S. exports to goods. And that kills U.S. industry and jobs. The Steelworkers, the Alliance for American Manufacturing and Democrats have insisted that the United States formally name China as a currency ma-nipulator and consider the manipulation as a factor when the amount of import duties is determined. In addition, Pelosi detailed the Democratic agen-da to create jobs. For Steelworkers, among the most important of those programs is “Make It in America.” This effort, launched by U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, (D-Md.), means, Pelosi said, “keeping American jobs on our shores.” Make it in America, Pelosi said, means putting people to work building roads, bridges, and rail lines and developing clean, green technology.make it in America,” the minority leader said. Democrats also want the newly-created Joint on Jobs, Pelosi said. All of its conversations should focus on economic growth and job creation to reduce -Verizon Greed Provokes StrikeT he Communication Workers of America asked paid medical plan. Convention delegates to support a strike by 45,000 employees of Verizon Communications Inc. Jim Weitkamp, vice president of CWA District 9, “This is a corporation that was built on union labor,” Weit-said the strike began on Aug. 7 after the company at the last kamp said. “They seek to gut our contract and erase gains that minute put 100 regressive contract proposals on the table date back as far as 1943.”including eliminating pensions and destroying the employer- For more information, go the CWA website, cwa-union.org.
Past Presidents Honored By Jim McKay USW CommunicationsT under his wing as he advanced through his union career. “I Convention honored past leaders including President Emeritus Lynn Williams, who was on the stage, and Gerard added. retired PACE President Boyd Young. Those honored by the resolution include Philip Murray (1942-1952), the founder of the Steelworkers Organizing (1983-1994) and George Becker (1994-2001). Also honored were past presidents of unions that merged with the USW: Ken Coss, former president of the United Rub- In remarks preceding the resolution vote, International who was concerned more about his members than himself. Gerard called Williams a lifelong mentor who took him President Emeritus Lynn R. WilliamsIncome Inequality Unsustainable By Jim McKay USW CommunicationsI ncome inequality has worsened over the last decade with a small group of people take all the rewards.” wealth while the rest of us work longer and harder, Governments as they exist today are not going to change struggle to hold onto our jobs and go into debt to keep up. the situation, she said. Neither is business, particularly the multinational corporations that are propelling the growth in economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, income inequality, nor can public interest groups because they told the Convention Monday afternoon. have no power. That leaves labor unions to take up the charge, particularly the USW, which Yalnizyan called the most powerful group of and the rest of us.” workers on the surface of the planet. CEO pay has risen enormously in both the United States and Canada when average wages in both countries have dropped even though two household incomes is the norm. done it before and we can do it again,” Yalnizyan said. “And if -“A third of all income gains in the last decade went to the top ers.” A er passage of a resolution supporting engagement and mentoring of young workers, Canadian rapper Michael O’Brien performs “One Day Longer” with young workers surrounding him on stage and convention delegates partici- pating in the audience. USW International President, far le , introduced the resolution noting that USW President Emeritus Lynn R. Williams “took me under his wing when I was a young person. Without him, I would never have made it to the sta .”