USW Local 307 in Topeka, KS

WOS Raffle 2023

Workers’ Rights, Retirement Security Take Center Stage in President’s Annual Address
In his annual State of the Union address, President Joe Biden challenged Congress to double down on the long list of legislative accomplishments his administration achieved on behalf of workers over the past two years.

President Biden, in particular, addressed two issues USW members noted as top priorities in the 2022 Your Union, Your Voice (YUYV) membership survey: retirement security and affordable health care and prescription drugs. Biden urged Congress to build upon his administration’s historic efforts to empower Medicare to negotiate, for the first time in history, lower prescription drug costs, thus reducing the federal deficit by an estimated $237 billion over the next 10 years.

Specifically, Biden asked Congress to honor his commitment to protect Social Security and Medicare, and reminded Congress that any effort to cut these vital programs should be a non-starter.

Workers’ rights, the third-most important issue to USW members according to the YUYV survey, also had a place in Biden’s annual address.

“I’m so sick and tired of companies breaking the law by preventing workers from organizing,” said Biden.

“Pass the PRO Act because workers have a right to form a union. And let’s guarantee all workers a living wage.”

Additionally, Biden celebrated the fact that 800,000 new manufacturing jobs contributed to the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, which currently stands at just 3.4 percent.

Insisting that America can again lead the world in infrastructure and quality of life, Biden also championed what many see as his administration’s most significant achievement, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“These projects will put hundreds of thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, bridges, railroads, tunnels, ports and airports, clean water, and high-speed internet across America,” Biden said.

“We’re going to make sure the supply chain for America begins in America.”

Steelworkers’ Victories in Three Special Elections Secures Pro-Worker Majority in Pa. House

Steelworkers’ efforts helped secure victories in three special elections to fill a trio of seats in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. These seats were left vacant after two lawmakers departed the chamber for higher office, and another passed away mere weeks before voters headed to the polls in Nov. 2022.

These victories helped flip the balance of power in the closely-contested chamber, cementing the first worker-friendly majority in the Pennsylvania House in more than a decade.

Determined to have labor-friendly allies setting the agenda in Harrisburg, working hand in hand the newly-elected, USW-backed governor, Josh Shapiro, Steelworkers braved the cold throughout January to ensure a strong turnout of union voters on Election Day.

 USW members on the ground doing GOTV for PA's special elections

Pictured: USW members on the ground doing GOTV for PA's special elections

Canvassing neighborhoods to talk with union voters at their door during the winter can be grueling work. That is exactly why USW District 10 Director, Bernie Hall recruited a team of USW members to help with the canvassing effort, which included JoJo Burgess (USW Local 1557), Denise Edwards (Retired, USW Local 1219), JoAnn Loncar (Retired, USW Local 512T), and Brad Schneider (USW Local 1557).

“This being my first election campaign, I was really impressed by the amount of support we received from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council,” said Schneider, an 18-year Steelworker member at the Clairton Coke Works.

“The fact that our work helped secure a union-friendly majority in the Pennsylvania House is huge,” said Schneider.

“The lawmakers we were out there knocking doors for definitely took note, and they assured us they’d have our back the next time we are on strike or in a tough negotiation with a company.”

Workers’ Newest Allies in State and Federal Gov’t (Part 2 of Series)

For part two of our Workers’ Newest Allies series, which we launched in last month’s Election Connection newsletter, we’d like to introduce you to Ohio Representative Emilia Sykes.

Sykes represents Congressional District 13, which includes all of Summit County and parts of Stark and Portage counties.

Serving as a state representative in Ohio’s 34th district from 2015 to 2022, Sykes ascended to the rank of Minority Leader from 2019 to 2021, where she established herself as a young, enthusiastic advocate for working families who kept close ties with the labor movement.

 Ohio Representative Emilia Sykes

Pictured: Ohio Representative Emilia Sykes

Throughout her time in the state legislature, Sykes supported legislation to ensure more workers have access to paid sick leave and greater protections when they speak up about unsafe conditions on the job.

In 2016, Sykes led a delegation of lawmakers at the USW Local 1123 union hall in Canton, Ohio for a discussion on the harms of anti-worker laws.

Along with our close friend, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Sykes has walked picket lines with striking UAW members, and joined leaders of USW District 1 and USW Local 2 to stress the vital role of manufacturing jobs like those at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio.

Rep. Sykes serves on the vitally important Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where she will have input on issues related to procurement, like Buy America.