The Path to the Covid Relief Package

The Path to the Covid Relief Package

How the Reconciliation process will get much-needed aid to millions of Americans.

Congress is using a relatively unique tool to pass the next COVID-19 Relief legislation called reconciliation. Created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation allows for expedited consideration of particular tax, spending, and debt-limit legislation. In the Senate, reconciliation bills aren’t subject to a filibuster, which requires 60 votes to overcome, and the scope of amendments is limited. The reconciliation process only requires a simple majority or 51 votes.


When has it been used in the past?

Reconciliation has been used 21 times since 1980. President Reagan used this process to enact significant spending cuts. Clinton used the process to enact welfare reform, and both Presidents Bush and Trump used it to pass tax bills.

How does it work?

  • Under the Congressional Budget Act, the House and Senate are supposed to adopt a budget resolution to set guidelines for action on spending and revenue each year. The House approved the Senate’s 2021 budget resolution (S.Con.Res.5) on Feb. 5, 2021, laying the groundwork for the budget reconciliation process.
  • Next, House committees take action. The various aspects of Covid relief are dealt with in the committees that have jurisdiction over those issues. These committees will send their recommendations along to the House Budget Committee when they finish.
  • The Budget Committee then takes those recommendations and bundles them together for a floor vote in the House. If it passes, the bill goes to the Senate.
  • Suppose the Senate adopts a different bill than the House. In that case, they will work out the differences between the two by using a “conference committee” made up of members from both the Senate and House.
  • Both chambers will then take an up-or-down vote on the final, compromise version.
  • If they approve it, the bill goes to the President for signature, and it will become law.

What’s next?

The House is expected to vote on their bill soon. Please keep your eyes out in the coming days for more information on what is in that bill and why it matters to our members and our communities.

To learn more about the reconciliation process,
check out this report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

General Membership Meeting And Nominations Night

The general membership meeting and Nominations for the officers and Stewards will be held at Florian Hall 55 Hallet st Boston, Mass on March 9th, 2021 any member interested in running for office should let it be known at this meeting or before this date to any E-Board member. You will need a nomination from the floor and a second for you to move forward to election.

Position for nomination are

President

Vice President

Financial Secretary

Treasurer

Recording Secretary

Inside Guard

Outside Guard

Outside Guard

Guide

All Stewards Positions

We hope to see you there. Please stay safe

Sticking with Our Core Issues: Investing in American Infrastructure

Please watch the video and share your thoughts in the survey.

Our union is launching a campaign we’re calling We Supply America. Our nation needs aggressive investment in a modernized infrastructure to help revitalize our economy and communities.

Rebuilding not only our physical infrastructure – like crumbling roads, bridges, ports and waterways –but also the social infrastructure of our schools, communications networks and public health services will both make us safer and put people back to work. Done right, this will also create long-term economic resiliency as we use American-made materials, invest in our domestic supply chains, build on American ingenuity, and provide a secure economic base for generations to come.

USW members in every corner of our union stand at the ready to supply the goods and services needed to build up our nation: from those who make the steel, glass, cement, rubber and other building blocks of our infrastructure along with those who make the packaging for them, to those who keep our schools, hospitals, telecommunication networks and other essential services running.

Take a moment to listen to President Conway’s message, then click HERE to answer a few questions to help us understand what matters to you and how our union can supply America’s infrastructure needs.

The PRO Act is Back!

The PRO Act is Back!

It’s time to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

On February 6, 2020, nearly a full year ago, the House passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act on a bipartisan basis by a vote of 224-194. Unfortunately, the Senate did not bring the bill up for a vote in their chamber, so it did not move forward. It’s a now a new session of Congress, and it is a priority to move what we know is the most comprehensive pro-labor legislation since the establishment of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

The PRO Act will:

  • Establish stronger and swifter remedies to stop employers from breaking the law.
  • Make companies recognize contractors as part of the collective bargaining process so they can no longer continue to whittle down our membership by subcontracting.
  • Ensure an employer reaches a first contract in a timely manner with a newly organized group of workers. No more dragging out first contracts.
  • Reverse so-called Right to Work, regardless of state laws.
  • Prohibit employers from forcing employees to attend anti-union meetings.
  • And much more!

The Committee on Education and labor plan to reintroduce the PRO Act in the coming weeks and this critical legislation could get a vote in the U.S. House soon after. We need to urge our Representatives to become an original cosponsor of the bill so we can expand protections for workers to exercise their rights to join a union and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that far too many workers do not have access to basic workplace safety protections, health care, or paid leave. Protecting the right to organize is therefore essential for ensuring a just recovery.


Please help us build support by emailing and making a call to your Representative today.

Action Instructions:  

  • Click HERE to send an email to your Representative.
  • Dial our toll-free number to the U.S. House: 866-202-5409. You will be automatically routed to your Representative’s office.
  • Tell the office who you are and where you are from, and ask your Representative to be an original cosponsor of the PRO Act.

Click HERE for a printable version to distribute in your workplace.

(412) 562-2291 www.uswrr.org

Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Health Care

Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Health Care

USW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 3

The labor movement has always fought for affordable healthcare for workers and their families, both through collective bargaining and legislatively. But even with our ability to bargain, union members far too often must relinquish raises to sustain decent health insurance. In fact, in a membership survey earlier this year, USW members and retirees rated “affordable healthcare and prescription drugs” as their top issue.

Protecting the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA)

The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 marked a key moment in expanding health care in America. While we’ve worked to perfect the bill in that time, others have repeatedly tried to repeal it in its entirety, gutting protections for USW members and retirees, and wreaking havoc on the healthcare of millions of American families. The Administration is currently arguing for the law to be overturned at the Supreme Court. This case will be heard shortly after the election. This would mean:

  • 20 million People Would Lose Health Insurance – About 20 million people who gained health insurance through the law, both through its expansion of Medicaid and through subsidized private plans on the “exchange,” would lose coverage if it is struck down. The pandemic-related job losses mean that even more people are likely relying on ACA coverage now. States that expanded Medicaid, would also see particularly sharp spikes in the uninsured.
  • Pre-Existing Condition Protections Would be Gone – The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that almost 54 million Americans have a pre-existing condition that would lead to them being denied coverage if they could not get insurance through a job and had to try to buy on the individual market without the ACA’s protections. These folks are not statistics – they are our family, neighbors, and friends.
  • Kids Up to Age 26 Are No Longer Guaranteed Coverage – If the ACA were struck down, the ability for parents to keep their kids on their insurance until age 26 would go away, and it would be up to each employer to decide whether to keep the provision for their health plan. We know what that means: concessions at the table to maintain what the law currently guarantees.
  • Lifetime and Annual Caps Would Return – The ACA prohibits health plans from putting a lifetime or annual dollar limit on benefits you receive – an issue we would often see at the bargaining table. This was a game changer for those with high treatment costs associated with chronic illnesses like cancer and diabetes. Previous to the ACA, coverage could be terminated once the cap had been reached.
  • Retirees and Seniors Will Take a Hit – The ACA reduces prescription drug costs when hitting the “doughnut hole.” Previously, when seniors hit this “hole,” they had to pay 100 percent of costs. Additionally, the ACA provides no-cost preventative screenings, a free wellness exam when joining Medicare, and protections against rising costs and age discrimination.

Whether it’s being able to keep our college aged children on our coverage, not having a lifetime cap on coverage, or worrying about how a pre-existing condition could affect coverage and affordability in the future –we know that there is much at stake should the ACA be overturned by the Supreme Court in November.

Protecting Our Right to Collectively Bargain

USW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 2



Protecting Our Right to Collectively BargainUSW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 2For decades, CEOs and their well-heeled lobbyists have found allies in anti-union lawmakers. These partnerships have resulted in anti-union laws like so-called right to work and the appointment of judges who are quick to rule against us. And, as we’ve seen in the past few years, they’re also tilting power away from workers thanks to a team of corporate appointees at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the very agency charged with safeguarding the rights of workers to organize and engage in collective bargaining.Many of these decisions from the NLRB aren’t making headlines, but they matter a great deal for our ability to get, secure, and enforce good contracts. Some of the rules the Board is overturning have existed for decades. Here are just a few examples:Allowed companies to implement policy changes without bargaining. The Board issued a decision allowing for an employer to make changes unilaterally to its policies and practices without bargaining. Less than a month after one of our locals ratified their contract, their company made changes to their health insurance because management is trying to take advantage of this ruling. In other situations, we’ve seen companies change attendance, drug, and other policies.Allowed employers to put workers in danger. In a series of five memos to their regional directors, the Board concluded that an employer is not obligated to engage in midterm bargaining regarding union proposals for paid sick leave and hazard pay during the pandemic. They also said that an employer does not have to bargain about a temporary closure. For workers who speak up about a dangerous situation on the job, the Board has decided that is not protected speech. This means that they can be fired by their employer. This guidance came after a case was filed by a nurse who was fired after  refusing to work at a nursing home that was requiring workers to share isolation gowns.Allowed employers to retaliate against the union. One USW employer wanted to celebrate after a profitable quarter. Normally, the union and the company would get together and plan a day off; it was always considered normal communication. Instead, the employer gave management the day off while leaving union workers working. An administrative law judge saw this as a “straightforward punishment of union employees in retaliation for past protected activity under the Act.” The Board overturned the judge’s ruling, saying it was ok not to bargain and that it was management’s right to not grant the day off for these workers.And so much more. – The Board has also made it easier for employers to decertify unionsmore difficult for contract employees and workers at franchise businesses to join unions, and sought to dramatically lengthen the timetable for union elections and limit access to workers, giving employers major advantages when they seek to bust unions.

How do we reverse these trends? It is critical that Congress hold the NLRB accountable. Lawmakers must also prioritize reforms that will restore the original promise of 1935’s National Labor Relation Act, which has eroded over time. Our union has done that work by pushing for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which was successful in the House but was stopped in the Senate. It’s also critical to have people in all decision-making positions in our government who will encourage and promote the formation of unions and the practice of collective bargaining.

Protecting Our Right to Collectively Bargain

Protecting Our Right to Collectively BargainUSW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 1Our union understood right from the beginning that we couldn’t rely solely on negotiations to better our members’ lives. We would also have to push our government to act. Elected officials could help us by passing legislation to make us safer on the job, help us secure pensions, get better working hours, and more. A legislative gain meant one more thing we didn’t have to bargain over. We could then focus on even greater goals in our negotiations.We know to be powerful, we have to work for laws and policies that support us. Our core issues include: collective bargaining, safety and health, job security (trade), domestic economic issues (infrastructure investment, domestic procurement and policies that bring fairness to the workplace), health care, and retirement security. These are the fights that help us build family-supportive, good jobs and strong communities. They reflect our values and a vision of the America that works for workers.Over the next few weeks, Rapid Response will be doing a series of educational pieces around these core issues and how we work to protect them. This is the first of that series.Collective Bargaining, Our Right to Organize, and an Anti-Union NLRBOur legally-protected right to organize and collectively bargain – Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935, creating a clear legal pathway for workers to join together to form labor unions and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions. It also established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB is tasked with overseeing union elections and handling labor rights violations. It is governed by a five-person board (one member’s term expires each year) and a General Counsel (four-year term), all of whom are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate.Anti-union NLRB appointees – Two recently-appointed Board members have long histories working for corporations to advance anti-worker and anti-union decisions. Bill Emanuel was a shareholder at Littler Mendelson and Chairman John Ring was a partner at Morgan Lewis, two of the largest union avoidance firms in the US. The Board takes their guidance from its General Counsel, Peter Robb.A General Counsel with a history of breaking unions – Robb, a notorious anti-union crusader, has worked for a series of union-busting law firms and, in 1981, was instrumental in President Reagan’s firing of striking air traffic controllers, one of the most notorious labor actions in U.S. history. Almost immediately upon assuming his role as general counsel, Robb issued a memo outlining the categories of cases issued by the NLRB under the prior Administration, for which he may seek to overturn precedent. The majority of those cases were wins for unions.