Steelworker Activism Pays Off!
In early 2020, hundreds of District 4 activists gathered in Albany, New York, for the District’s first Rapid Response conference. They learned about the Rapid Response program and lobbied state legislators on legislation and issues affecting steelworkers. One issue they focused on was honoring those who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Activists met with legislators and discussed the many ways we respect and honor the patriotic service of our Veterans and their families, while drawing attention to work still needing done. They pointed out that the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) helps Veterans to secure jobs, but it does not offer details on available benefits and services. These benefits and services consist of programs that assist Veterans and their families with things like education and training, job placement and employment preferences, healthcare, and more.
The various programs for which Veterans are eligible help ease the transition back into civilian life and ensure that families and communities are supported after giving selflessly for our country. District 4 activists urged elected officials they met with to join us in supporting our nation’s Veterans by making information on benefits and services they are entitled to more available to those who need it. They asked legislators to create and pass legislation to require standardized workplace postings that include basic information about Veterans’ benefits and a way for Veterans to learn more about the programs available to them.
Today, we are happy to report that on Veteran’s Day, November 10, 2022, over two years after our efforts began, Governor Kathy Hochul signed New York Assembly Bill A3913B into law. The first of its kind in our nation, this bill requires employers to display a poster containing information on Veterans’ benefits and services, which shall be created and distributed by the Department of Labor.
We are excited to have had a part in the creation and passage of this legislation and look to 2023 to push for similar bills across the nation.
How did your legislators vote?
In a rare occurrence, all members of the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate present for the vote, voted in support of the bill.
To learn more about the USW’s Veterans of Steel program and the resources available to all veterans and their families go to usw.org/vetsofsteel or contact Cary Eldridge, District 4 Veterans of Steel Coordinator, at email@example.com.
For more information on Rapid Response and how you can get involved contact Mark McDonald, District 4 Rapid Response Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.