The Local 3657 Executive Board sent the following letter today to the Chairman of the Post-Gazette in solidarity with the union workers there, who have overwhelmingly authorized a strike. Members are also encouraged to write their own letters of support if they choose.
Chairman, Block Communications Inc.
405 Madison Ave., Suite 2100
Toledo, Ohio 43604
August 21, 2020
Dear Mr. Block,
We are the leaders of the local union that represents 200 United Steelworkers staff members, many of whom live in the Pittsburgh area and read and subscribe to your newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
That’s why we write to you today – to urge you to settle a fair contract with the Post-Gazette’s union work force and avoid a costly, destructive and unnecessary strike.
The members of our union, USW Local 3657, rely on the quality, award-winning journalism produced and distributed by the union workers at the Post-Gazette, and we stand in solidarity with the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh – CWA Local 38061, and the other unions at your company, including Teamsters Local 211/205, Printing Pressmen GCIU Local 24M/9N, Pittsburgh Mailers Local 22-CWA and Pittsburgh Typographical Union #7-CWA.
These hard-working union members have bargained in good faith for three and a half years in an effort to reach a fair contract agreement with your company. In return, you have hired high-priced union-busting attorneys to attempt to break them. Yet, they have continued to devote their time and talents to producing some of the best journalism in the world, winning a 2019 Pulitzer Prize and being named Pennsylvania’s 2020 Newspaper of the Year.
In that same time period, your publication has failed to show the PG’s work force, or our community, the respect that both deserve. You have chosen to publish numerous offensive editorials, columns and cartoons, you have dismissed cherished local journalists with decades of experience and dedication to our city, and you have silenced the few minority voices on your staff during one of the most important civil and human rights movements of our lives.
In July, when you unilaterally imposed working conditions and illegally eliminated decades-old contract provisions, you pushed these workers to the brink of a completely avoidable strike. The Post-Gazette’s workers want nothing more than to reach a fair settlement and get back to the business of serving the city of Pittsburgh.
We call on you to immediately revoke your company’s unilateral contract changes, dismiss your union-busting attorneys, bargain a fair settlement with your work force, and restore the Post-Gazette to the place of decency and respect that it once held in our city.
Your workers are the heart of your company. We need them working for us, and we will stand with them for as long as it takes to achieve a fair and just contract settlement.
USW Local 3657 Executive Board
Local 3657 will be granting six (6) five-hundred-dollar ($500.00) scholarships to sons, daughters or legal wards of our active local union members for study at a college, university, trade school or other establishments offering post-secondary education.
All undergraduate and graduate students who qualify for the USW Social Insurance Program and have not previously been granted a Local Union 3657 Scholarship are eligible to participate in the drawing.
Please note on your entry if this would be an Academic or Technical Scholarship and the name of school or apprenticeship program your child will be attending. Entries should be mailed or e-mailed it to Carol Gehm (email@example.com), Local 3657 Recording Secretary, by Aug. 17.
Click below for the official letter from the Scholarship Committee.
The USW Local 3657 Executive Board unanimously passed a resolution today regarding the murder of George Floyd.
USW LOCAL 3657 RESOLUTION
REGARDING THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD BY MINNEAPOLIS
POLICE AND THE DUTY OF ALL WORKERS TO DISMANTLE RACISM
United Steelworkers (USW) Local 3657 is committed to fighting for civil rights. As our goals have always been to empower workers, fight for equality in our union and communities, encourage political action, organize workers into unions and support all working people, we are saddened and outraged to witness the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers while handcuffed on the ground. This can only be described as an egregious attack on civil rights and human dignity.
We recognize that punishing the perpetrators who have taken black lives is a necessary but insufficient measure for achieving justice. The killing of George Floyd did not happen in isolation. Most recently, it was preceded by that of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. It has been followed by the police killing of Tony McDade in Florida and will be followed by countless more if workers’ organizations such as our own do not take up the work of combating racism in communities and institutions throughout the United States.
We, more broadly, name these killings within the context of 400 years of structural, political, and legal systems of anti-Black racism in the United States and around the world. Centuries of forced and stolen labor and unended decades of denying of civil, economic, and voting rights prop up the foundations of the present crisis: the mass incarceration of Black people, the use of militarized police forces in poor, Black and Brown neighborhoods, the ongoing, disproportionate underfunding of public schools and services, the dismantling of the historical power of Black industrial workers by outsourcing good, union jobs, and the fractured, profit-driven health care system that ignores the needs of Black and Brown neighbors. As we pass 100,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, we recognize the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on Black communities for these reasons and many more.
We firmly agree with USW Vice President Fred Redmond and the USW Civil and Human Rights Department’s statement: “At moments like these, we in the labor movement cannot be silent and must express our collective outrage over these brutal murders.” We agree because we recognize the working class in the United States is disproportionately black and brown. Black workers in particular are the most likely to be represented by unions: 14.5 percent of black workers age 18 to 64 are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, compared with 12.5 percent of white workers and 10.1 percent of Hispanic workers.
We recognize the duty of all workers to fight for the structural transformations in our society necessary to achieve justice for Black lives. Achieving justice for Black people is fundamental to achieving justice for all working people. So long as the long shadow of systemic racism, white supremacy, and state violence threaten Black communities with death and discrimination based on the color of their skin, we will never build enough power to ensure the dignity and well-being of all working people.
Our Pittsburgh community has experienced racist police violence in the murder of 18-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. in 2018 in East Pittsburgh. We recognize white supremacist violence extends beyond state actors with the murder of 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018.
As a community, we can and must strive to be Stronger than Hate.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
That USW Local 3657 stands in solidarity with the family and friends of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and all whose loved ones have been slain in an environment of fear and hostility;
That the Executive Board of USW Local 3657, on behalf of the more than 200 members of our local union, rejects racism and white supremacist behavior because it shatters our unity, and destroys our strength as fellow workers — brothers, sisters, and siblings in labor;
That USW Local 3657 urges elected officials and policy makers at all levels to work together in their communities to create an environment of justice for all, not just for the privileged few;
That USW Local 3657 remains committed to fighting for justice and equality and will continue working to break down the systems of racial oppression;
That USW Local 3657 remains committed to holding workshops for our members and the wider community on racial and socioeconomic injustice; and
That the Executive Board of USW Local 3657 urges members to provide any material support and/or volunteer time they can to organizers working to stop police violence in Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and cities across the United States facing this injustice.
That USW Local 3657 urges all elected officials, policymakers and members to not only remove all rhetoric of hate, prejudice, racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of identity-related targeted hatred from their speech and written word, but also to confront it where we encounter it. As Angela Davis taught us, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.”
The town hall event scheduled for Monday, March 16, has been postponed. We will be in touch when it is rescheduled.
Local 3657 members today adopted a resolution calling for “foreign policy based on the international solidarity of all workers, mutual respect of all nations and national sovereignty,” and calling upon the president and Congress to “make war truly the last resort.” For a copy of the full, final resolution as passed, click the link below.