Message from Our President: We fight on for working people in face of Covid-19

International President Tom Conway has sent the following message regarding the union and the Covid-19 pandemic: 

I want to update you on some of the important work our union is doing in these difficult, uncertain times.

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone differently depending on region, industry, and even family situation 

However, we remain committed to helping every single one of our members and continuing the important work of our union, even if that work now looks slightly different because of the current circumstances.

Health care

Our approximately 50,000 health care and other front-line workers are among the most immediately impacted by COVID-19.

Our Health, Safety and Environment Department has been working around the clock to help get them the support they need so that they can continue to do their jobs safely.

This has included coordinating with the AFL-CIO and the steering committee of the USW’s Heath Care Workers Council (HCWC) to establish what health care members need and how we can get it to them, as well as developing a guide for USW members working in nursing homes

Health care workers around the country face a dangerous shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), and locals from across all our sectors have been rallying to help keep them safe, donating gloves, masks, respirators, eye goggles and more. More information about this important action can be found here.

Communication and coordination

Many of our offices, including the International Headquarters, have been forced to shut their doors as a result of the pandemic, and we’ve had to work quickly to be able to provide many of our vital services remotely. 

This has required canceling numerous in-person events and meetings to keep everyone safe. However, we are rapidly adapting so that we can remain in constant communication.

Many important resources are available on the web, including this COVID-19 guide, and all the Districts and departments are holding calls and video conferences to coordinate our efforts and develop strategies.

We will soon start to offer online versions of the classes that had to be canceled, starting with our FMLA class, which will be rolled out later this week. Other webinars will follow.

We are also remotely responding to inquiries from the field. This includes continuing support for negotiations, as well as helping our members, retirees and their families with pension, insurance, and other benefits problems.

Advocacy work

Finally, we continue to fight for our members and their jobs at every turn.

Our Washington, D.C., Legislative and Policy Department remains in constant contact with elected officials and their offices so that we can continue our fight on behalf of working people. There have already been two bills related to COVID-19, and we can expect more in the coming weeks.

Our job is to ensure that any economic relief that comes out of this legislation goes directly to workers rather than simply bailing out corporations. We’re prepared for this fight.

We’ve also been on the front lines at the state level, working with governors to keep our facilities safely operational, even as many parts of the economy are forced to shut down. This has included keeping a close eye on workplace issues and exposures related to COVID-19, so that workers aren’t forced to take unnecessary risks on the job.

For those that were forced to close as a result of the virus, we have been engaging directly with employers to make sure that any work force reductions are done in an orderly way and that our members are getting as much relief as possible. 

This has included a great deal of information gathering regarding states’ rapidly evolving unemployment processes and close work with the Districts to keep them up to date on which states have waived waiting weeks to file for benefits.

I encourage you to watch our social media sites, on which we’re posting our most up-to-date informationon these and many other important topics. Rapid Response will be sending action calls as well, so please check your inboxes regularly for opportunities to help.

Stay in contact, and please try to stay healthy. It’s impossible to know exactly what the future will bring, but through our solidarity and hard work, our fight on behalf of all workers will endure. 

In solidarity,

Tom

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222