USW@Work: Volume 19, Issue 2

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Unbreakable Bonds: USW Glass and Mold Makers at Ohio Factory Fuel Economy While Producing Top-Quality Bottles

Tom Forker has worked at the Owens-Illinois glass factory in Zanesville, Ohio, for 48 years.

Over those nearly five decades, the 355 members of the four USW locals who work at the plant have become like family to him. And, in turn, six of his own family members, both children and grandchildren, have joined the work force at the plant.

The reason for Forker’s long-term dedication to his job is simple and succinct: “I care,” he says.

It’s a sentiment that members of the four USW locals share across all corners of the 750,000-square-foot O-I facility as they put in the hard work needed to turn out 365 million clear glass bottles each year.

Read more on page 4

USW Aims for Growth at Corning: Union Seeks to Follow Company Expansion in Fiber Optic, Solar Markets

Before Courtney Melvin was a member of Local 1025 in 2016, she worked in sales at a Best Buy store. The low pay and scant benefits at the non-union job made it difficult for the single mother to provide a good life for herself and her family.

“It took three years just to obtain benefits,” said Melvin, who now works at the Corning optical fiber plant in Wilmington, N.C.

“At Corning,” she said, “I got benefits on day one.”

Those benefits improved the well-being of her family, while her USW contract delivered strong wages, health and safety protections, and other life-changing improvements that union membership provides. 

“In other industries, those were things that were non-negotiable,” said Melvin, who is part of the ongoing effort to encourage more workers to become USW members. “I definitely wanted to be a part of it so we could keep it going.”

Read more on page 18

The Grassroots Difference: USW Activists Run – and Win – in Political Races Around the Country

When USW member Ed Price ran for a seat in the Louisiana State Senate in 2017, he faced long odds, facing a wealthy sugar cane farmer with the deep pockets and name recognition of a well-known political family.

Price, however, had the union difference on his side. As a member of Local 620 in Gonzales, La., Price had a coalition of fellow workers ready to knock on doors, make phone calls and speak to voters one-on-one about the issues. That grassroots campaign had a significant impact, and the Democrat won his seat with 63 percent of the vote.

“We didn’t have the largest budget, but it was door-to-door, walking, knocking, talking to people,” Price said. “We probably had anywhere from 25 to 35 people walking through the neighborhood every day, knocking on doors, talking to people. That made a huge difference.”

Read more on page 22

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Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

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