USW Local 6860

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When: Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Where: Washington, D.C.
What: DAY
During the day, we’ll lobby our Senators and Representatives. Additional press events will take place during the day on Capitol Hill.

NIGHT
A Rock Against the TPP concert and rally will take place for those wishing to attend.

Contact Brian Zarn if you are interested. 744-4480

If you are interested in booking overnight accommodations or carpooling, Please contact your District 11 Rapid Response Coordinator Bob Ryan at 651-295-4155 or rryan@usw.org.
Additional details will be available soon.

 PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the union reached tentative agreement on a new contract with Cliffs Natural Resources on behalf of about 2,000 members of four local unions at the company’s U.S. iron ore mines. Subject to a vote by the membership, the proposed agreement would be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2015 and expire on Oct. 1, 2018.

“After more than a year of difficult negotiations, our committee’s hard work and dedication have resulted in a tentative agreement,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Our members’ and retirees’ strength and solidarity throughout the bargaining process have been rewarded.”

USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, who chairs the union’s negotiations with Cliffs, praised the members of the bargaining committee from all four of the facilities for standing together and resisting management’s attempts to divide them with concessionary proposals.

“We are proud to bring this tentative agreement to the membership for ratification and put the past year of uncertainty behind us,” Ramirez said. “Thanks to the solidarity of USW members and retirees within and between our locals, we have negotiated a fair agreement that preserves our wages, benefits and other longstanding rights and protections without lowering the standards of living of current workers or retirees.”

USW District 11 Assistant Director John Rebrovich said resolving the contract should allow Cliffs management and hourly union workers to focus on building a more secure future by working together.

“The steel industry has been plagued with unfairly traded imports for too long,” Rebrovich said. “Our best hope to solve this problem and to ensure the long term sustainability and viability of our jobs rests with our ability to work jointly with management at Cliffs and throughout the industry.”

The USW will now schedule meetings to discuss the proposed new contract with members at each location and begin the ratification process.

The USW and Cliffs have reached a tentative agreement w/recommendation from all 4 local union presidents. Your solidarity was key. Details will follow early next week.

 Your Local #6860 Negotiating team is in Pittsburgh this week trying to finalize a contract.

If they can't come to an agreement this week, negotiations will continue.

 PLANT POWER OUTAGE SCHEDULED

The Fairlane Plant will have a complete power outage from 7:00 am Friday, August 12 through 7:00 pm Monday, August 15.

Because of this, some hourly employees will be scheduled for 32-hour work weeks the week of August 7 and/or the week of August 14. Some shift rotations will also be changed so be sure to check your schedule.

If anyone would like to move a vacation or personal day to either week in order to get 40 hours of pay for the week, please complete a Personal Day/Absence Notification form BEFORE August 7, 2016 and submit it to your Supervisor. Indicate which vacation day you would like to move. (This includes employees who are returning to work the week of August 7.)

Any questions, contact Connie Larson at extension 7641.

 All UTAC Operations employees are being called back a week earlier – the week of August 7th.

Letters are being mailed to each person with information about their first week’s schedule.

Job postings are also included with the letter. You must sign and send back the job posting form even if you aren’t interested in any of the jobs.

Any questions call:

CONNIE LARSON, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Section Manager - Human Resources

connie.larson@cliffsnr.com
CELL PHONE 218.226.8375

Office: 218.744.7641 F 218.744.7647


 

 

  Rapid Response ActionCall

  Minnesota Steelworkers: Make a call today!

  Bad Trade Kills Good JobsAs illegally subsidized Chinese imports continue to wreak havoc on our steel industry, the ripple effect has spread to our miners on the Iron Range. In June, nearly 700 of our brothers and sisters from Minntac and Keetac iron ore facilities and 400 from Cliffs Natural Resources were laid off because of an oversupply of iron ore and continued low demand for American-made steel — a problem made critical by the ongoing flood of foreign steel made with cheap foreign iron ore. They have run out of unemployment benefits. Another 350 miners are on the verge of exhausting their benefits as well. When downstream job losses are added, 1800 families will run out of benefits by March.

For years, our failed trade policy has shuttered facilities, crippling communities and their tax bases. Unfortunately, that job loss means that many working families have to use unemployment compensation to help put food on the table until they find work again. For many of these families, the little bit that unemployment offers keep the lights and the heat on. Our Iron Range miners are no exception to this struggle. These Steelworkers are facing unprecedented hardships due to trade related layoffs.

Governor Mark Dayton has called for a special session in the Minnesota House of Representatives to address the unemployment benefits that our members and their families so desperately need. We also need the Speaker of the House to act. Call Speaker Daudt and demand a special session to address the situation.

Calls are urgently needed to the House Speaker!

It is critical to understand that these mining jobs are what drive the economy on the Iron Range. If the workers leave to seek other employment, there will be no one left to restart the mines as the industry strengthens.
Please call Speaker Kurt Daudt at 651-296-5364 or 763-634-2616 and urge him to stand up for our laid off miners and call the special session. (note: Daudt is pronounced “doubt”)

Our members have lost their employment through no fault of their own. They are not looking for handouts; they are looking for a lifeline!

 

 

 

  A Message of Urgency for the President

Thanks to Denis McDonough We Now Have the President's Ear

It was a packed room for our meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at Virginia Community & Technical College focusing on the foreign steel dumping crisis. Denis sat under the American flag next to Yours Truly.

“I feel the urgency!” That’s how White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, President Obama’s most senior and trusted advisor, summed up the message he’ll take back to the President after his unprecedented meeting on Tuesday on Minnesota’s Iron Range – a session I requested to help the Administration better understand the gravity of the foreign steel dumping crisis that has idled nearly 2,000 steel workers throughout our region – and thousands more across the nation.

Iron Range miners, mining company executives, elected officials and other leaders participated in the friendly, candid and emotional two hour meeting. Denis, a Minnesota native, listened intently and took notes as they described how illegal dumping of millions of tons of low-grade, foreign government-subsidized foreign steel is not only devastating the Iron Range – but threatening our economy, our national security, and the very existence of America’s iron ore and steel industries and the millions of good paying manufacturing and retail jobs they support.

Governor Mark Dayton and I listened as Denis McDonough, the President's most trusted and senior advisor promised to take the messages of urgency he heard on Tuesday directly back to President Obama.

Mining executives pointed the finger directly at China and our badly broken trade enforcement system. “Our industry is on the precipice and China is the perpetrator,” Cliff’s Natural Resources President and CEO Lorenzo Goncalves told McDonough. He said illegal dumping of steel heavily subsidized by the Chinese government is directly responsible for the fact that the U.S. steel industry is operating at only about 70% of capacity – even though our economy is booming and demand for steel and steel products is on the rise across our nation. “People in China are being poisoned (by the air they breathe) because their government would rather produce and dump subsidized steel than invest in the anti-pollution equipment we gladly pay for to protect our people and our workers,” he said. “Our workers are the best in the world – but we can’t complete against nations with no regard for their citizens or their health."

Read more >>>

  VIRGINIA, Minn., Dec. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

  Minnesota's Top Political Leaders Hear USW Miners Voices

  Emil Ramirez, Director for USW District 11, joined a small group of taconite miners from the shutdown mines on Northern Minnesota's Iron Range for a private jobs crisis leadership summit yesterday at the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. The event was hosted by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Strong statements were delivered for the urgency of federal, state and local government authorities to provide more immediate relief against the global onslaught of steel imports that have shut down half of the region's steel sector mining jobs. Currently, more than 2,000 iron ore miners are on layoff.

Among those gathered at the two-hour private session were U.S. President Obama's Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Minnesota's U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, U.S. Rep. Rich Nolan, plus state legislative leaders, steel industry executives and laid-off USW-represented iron ore miners.

USW Director Ramirez sounded a consistent theme: "We are at war with China's illegal steel imports flooding into our market. During some months last year, China dumped more than 100,000 tons of cold-rolled sheet into our market and that was not the only product or country stealing our jobs here on Northern Minnesota's Iron Range."

He related that although American steel producers and the USW are having some modest success in getting enforcement duties on dumped and subsidized steel imports from China, there's a tsunami of steel products from all steel producing countries threatening steel sector jobs.

"This is just one battle in what is expected to be a protracted war, unless swift, concerted government action is taken both here and internationally," Ramirez declared.

Read more >>>

                                   

                                  Ferrellgas

    A Special Offer for United Taconite Employees

• Special propane pricing of $1.199 through March 31st, 2016!
• Take a fill before December 31st, 2015 for only $0.99! *
• NO pre-buy is required!!!!
• FREE tank switch-out! SAVE over $100! *
• FREE tank lease!
• NO delivery fees!!!!
• Available for United Taconite employees who are already Ferrellgas customers!

• Call Brian Gandy at Ferrellgas for more information:
(218) 244-3285 or (800) 450-5701
briangandy@ferrellgas.com

* Other restrictions apply. Must be a current employee of United Taconite, and proof of employment status may be required. Free tank switch out applies to standard switch outs only. Minimum fill must be 100 gallons to receive the special fill of $0.99. Call Ferrellgas for more information.

Brian Gandy, Director of Operations

  All,

  As most of you know the MPCA is about to set a standard for sulfates in the state of Minnesota and there have been a number of studies that are now completed that can assist with setting the proper level of this standard, to a level low enough as to not harm wild rice. The actual science shows that sulfates are not toxic to wild rice, but rather it is sulfides, and at levels that are not normally found in our area of Minnesota. The other fact that the science has proven is that iron in the water helps mitigate sulfides, thus lowering the levels.

There has been a website designed between US Steel and the USW that has a letter developed stating that the people who have signed this letter are requesting that the state use the science to set the standard, and not the perception that has been around that the sulfate levels from mining companies are toxic to these rice beds.

I ask that you stand up for your employer’s future and go onto the website www.ironorealliance.com/ and simply click on the tab “Take Action”. You can then sign the letter if you agree with what the letter states or you can modify it if there is something you disagree with. It will ask you from your name, address and email address, which are required. You don’t have to state your organization if you prefer not to. Once you have filled in the required fields, click on “submit” and you are done. This is very important to the futures of all the mines in our area and the goal is to get over 5000 signatures stating the science should be used to determine levels for sulfate, not perception.

Please do this as soon as possible, because time is of the essence.”

Thanks for your help on this.

  More than 2,000 members of the United Steelworkers at Cliffs Natural Resources have been working on a contract extension while bargaining with the taconite mining company continues. Cliffs is attempting to use a temporary downturn in the industry as an excuse to erase decades of progress in the mining industry.
But Steelworkers are committed to securing family-sustaining jobs in the mining industry for generations to come.

Cliffs Natural Resources recently sent a letter to thousands of retirees and widows announcing plans to dramatically raise their healthcare premiums. Those premium increases have been incorrectly calculated and are subject to further bargaining with the union.

Please add your signature to join with us in calling on Cliffs Natural Resources to stop its reckless and unnecessary plans to raise healthcare premiums for retirees and bargain a fair contract that assures access to quality, affordable healthcare for all retirees. Please click on the link below. Thank you for your time.

actionnetwork.org/forms/we-deserve-to-retire-with-dignity

To all USW Retirees and Surviving Spouses,

Cliffs Natural Resources mailed letters to its USW retirees and their families last week warning of substantial increases in health care premiums for the coming year.

As you probably know, your USW bargaining committee is still in the process of negotiating a new contract with Cliffs. We believe the rates that the company quoted in its letter would be incorrect regardless of the status of our negotiations.

As soon as we learned of the company’s letter, we scheduled a meeting with management in an effort to resolve this matter. Unfortunately, the company continued to insist on moving forward with its planned premium increases and seemed determined to force the USW to go to arbitration over these rates.

While we understand that this is a difficult time for our industry, we also are determined to do everything we can to make sure Cliffs does not take advantage of that climate to harm our retirees who have worked hard their whole lives.

We will continue to do everything we can to prevent Cliffs from imposing unnecessary and burdensome premium increases on our retirees and families, and we will continue to keep you and your families informed about this situation as it unfolds.

In solidarity,

Michael Bolton, Director, USW District 2
Emil Ramirez, Director, USW District 11
Arthur Kroll, Assistant to the Director, USW District 2
John Rebrovich, Assistant to the Director, USW District 11

REMINDER!!!

 2016 Vacation Request forms ARE DUE by 3:00 PM on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30TH. They can be mailed, emailed, faxed, or dropped off at the Mine or Plant Guardshack. If you do not respond, your vacation will be scheduled for you.

All hourly employees eligible for 3 or more weeks of vacation are being scheduled for a vacation shutdown the first two weeks of June (weeks 24 & 25). You can request your remaining week(s) as all full weeks or one as a split week. If you are only eligible for one week of vacation in 2016, it cannot be split and it can be the first week of June (week 24).

Remember, for the first quarter (weeks 1 - 13) of 2016, there are NO weekly vacation limits per seniority group. [Note: you CANNOT move the June vacation shutdown weeks to the first quarter.] And, if you are on Crew 1 or Crew 3 at the Plant, you should have received a revised schedule (the crews were reversed on the first schedule that went out). If you already submitted your form and want to change your requests to the first quarter or need to make a change due to the Crew 1-Crew 3 schedule mix-up, contact Connie Larson.

Be sure to fill in ALL of the choices in the column based on your years of service in order of preference on your vacation request form, unless you are only requesting weeks during the first quarter. People with more weeks have more choices to fill in; however, if you are the most senior employee in your group, you don’t have to list as many choices. You will be notified which weeks/days have been assigned to you before the end of December.

Any questions on the vacation scheduling forms – please contact Connie Larson at 218-744-7641 or connie.larson@cliffsnr.com

Again, 2016 Vacation Request forms ARE DUE by 3:00 PM on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30TH. They can be mailed, emailed, faxed, or dropped off at the Mine or Plant Guardshack.

connie.larson@cliffsnr.com

CELL PHONE 218.226.8375

Office: 218.744.7641 F 218.744.7647

CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED TACONITE

PO BOX 180

EVELETH, MN 55734

www.cliffsnaturalresources.com

_______________________________________________________________________________________

  A special mailing is going out just to crews 1 & 3 at the Plant.

There was a mix-up on the annual crew schedule that was enclosed with the 2016 hourly vacation request forms. Crew 1 and Crew 3 were reversed.

REVISED schedules have been sent to affected employees.

If you are on Crew 1 or Crew 3 and have already made your vacation choices and would like to change based on the revised schedule, please fill out a new form and write “CHANGE” on the top of it. Forms can be emailed, faxed, mailed, or dropped at either guardshack.

Any questions on vacation scheduling – please contact Connie Larson at 218-744-7641 or connie.larson@cliffsnr.com

  An additional option for 2016 vacation has been approved.

A letter went out on Tuesday explaining this. For the first 13 weeks (first quarter) of 2016, there will be NO weekly vacation limits per seniority group.

If anyone has already submitted their 2016 vacation form and would like to move vacation to the first quarter, please contact Connie at 744-7641.

Also, be sure to fill in ALL of the choices in order of preference on your vacation request form, unless you are only requesting weeks during the first quarter. People with more weeks have more choices to fill in.

  2016 Vacation Pick forms went out in the mail on Friday. It’s a slightly different process this year. Everyone needs to list multiple choices in order of preference and vacation weeks/days will be assigned based on seniority in each vacation group.

Forms MUST BE RETURNED by 3:00 PM on NOVEMBER 30TH. They can be mailed, emailed, faxed or dropped off at the Mine or Plant Guardshack.

  “TRADE AFFECTED WORKERS:

Please attend an enrollment session if you would like to apply to Hibbing Community College.
Tuesday 12/1/15 – any time from 9am-11am
OR
Thursday 12/3/15 – any time from 9am – 11am

*Please note work force center counselors will also be available on the campus for assistance. “

This session is NOT mandatory but it would be a great time for those who were thinking about HCC and still had not yet applied.

Jessie Matvey

Marketing/Admissions Representative
Hibbing Community College
Office: 218-262-7384
Cell: 218-966-1627
jessicamatvey@hibbing.edu

 The 2016 Work Area and Work Preference forms are being mailed to the following classifications on 10/29/15:

Tractor Operators, Production Truck, Warehouse, Auto Mechanic, Maintenance Mechanic, Weldor, and Electronic Technician.

Please make your selection and return your form by FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2015.

You can mail, fax or email the form back to United Taconite.

connie.larson@cliffsnr.com
Office: 218.744.7641 Fax: 218.744.7647

CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED TACONITE
PO BOX 180
EVELETH, MN 55734
www.cliffsnaturalresources.com

 A mailing with two forms is going out to UTAC Hourly employees on October 27, 2015.

1. A waiver form to indicate whether or not you want to use your seniority to possibly work during the idle period. Read it carefully and return by 9:00 am FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2015. If you do not respond, your prior election (if you made one) to waive or not waive will remain in effect for the remainder of the idle period.

2. A Preferential Hiring form to apply for priority consideration for any permanent vacancies at Hibbing Taconite, Empire Mine, or Tilden Mining. The applicable language from the Basic Labor Agreement is included. If you are interested and eligible, return this form by NOVEMBER 20, 2015.

A self-addressed stamped envelope is enclosed with the mailing or you can fax or email either of these completed forms to 218-744-7647 or connie.larson@cliffsnr.com

 

 Letters to TAA-eligible employees are going out from the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED). This is the “golden ticket” that was mentioned at the employee layoff meetings. It is important that employees keep their letter and bring it with them to the informational meetings or when they meet with their Dislocated Workers counselor.

There will be informational meetings as follows:

Location: Minnesota Discovery Center
Address: 1005 Discovery Drive., Chisholm, MN 55719
Date: Thursday, October 29, 2015

Times: 10:00 a.m.; 1 p.m.; 4 p.m.

 

Location: Miners Memorial Building
Address: 821 South 9th Avenue, Virginia, MN 55792
Date: Friday, October 30, 2015
Times: 9 a.m.; 11 a.m.; 1 p.m.

  USW.org

Our USW bargaining committee has negotiated a 30-day extension of our current agreement with Cliffs Natural Resources beginning on Oct. 1, along with a rolling 168-hour extension if we go past those 30 days. Our agreement had originally been set to expire on Oct. 1.

While our committee has made progress on some issues, we remain far apart on many others. The company is still insisting on unacceptable and unnecessary concessions. These demands would essentially turn back the clock on decades of progress we’ve made at the bargaining table.

While we have made some progress at the local issues tables, there are still some major open issues in those discussions as well.

Although our bargaining team is heading home for now, our committees will continue to be in contact with each other. Negotiations will continue, and we remain committed to bargaining for as long as necessary to achieve a fair agreement.

Please continue to show up for your scheduled shifts, remain focused and work safely. Solidarity and communication have never been more important, so please keep in touch with your CAT coordinators and local officers for more information about our upcoming mobilization events. We’ve scheduled local union meetings at each location to offer updates and get feedback from members on bargaining. Meeting dates and times are as follows:

USW Local 6860 - Tuesday, Oct. 20, 4:00 p.m.
USW Local 2705 - Wednesday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m.
USW Local 4950 - Tuesday, Oct. 13, 5:00 p.m.
USW Local 4974 - Monday, Oct. 12, 4:00 p.m.

 SUB PAY QUESTIONS

1. SUB Pay calculation –the SUB Pay rate is not based off of job class. The SUB Pay book on page 3 states, “The weekly benefit provided is 26 times the employee’s average straight-time hourly wages.” This is similar to the vacation rate calculation and is going to be different for everyone.

 2. The number of dependents claimed by each employee will affect the final amount of SUB Pay.

 3. The employee’s W4 withholdings may impact the amount of his/her check, depending on the gross amount.

 4. Timing is HUGE. In order to meet SUB processing deadlines, Wednesday noon following the end of the UI period is the cut-off. Employees who are not scheduled to call in to claim their weekly unemployment until Wednesday or later (for those using the phone system, there are specific days to call in) will not meet the deadline for the week in which the pay period ends. Therefore, the claimed week would not be processed until the next pay period. It is important to file a weekly claim for UI benefits as early as possible.

 5. Full vacation weeks and single vacation days will impact the amount of SUB Pay.

 6. There may also be adjustments – for example, if someone was paid SUB Pay and should not have received pay due to vacation time in the prior pay period. There is not a way to note an adjustment on the earning statement as the adjustment calculation is done in the SUB Pay program and only shows as the weekly benefit.

 If you have specific questions about your SUB pay, please call Jessie at 744-7603 and leave a message with your name, employee number, phone number and specific question if she does not answer.

There will be a Teleconference Call for members at USW Local 6860 Union Hall with the Negotiating Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 30th at 7:30 AM.

Coffee an' will follow at 9:30 AM that day instead of Thursday. All are wlecome for coffee.

  The White House Blog

  BY JEFFREY ZIENTS

 Summary: Labor Secretary Tom Perez lays out why the Trade Adjustment Assistance program is so vital to American workers.

The 21st century economy is driven by an ever-changing global marketplace. What was once a fledgling business or industry can quickly grow to redefine consumer demand and reshape our workforce.

Americans are the most productive workforce in the world, and to outcompete other countries, it is vital that they have all the job training and other support they need to tap into new opportunities that the 21st century economy presents.

That is why Congress needs to reauthorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance program (TAA).

What is Trade Adjustment Assistance?
For more than 40 years, Trade Adjustment Assistance has helped support U.S. workers who are adversely affected by globalization and trade by providing job training support, career counseling, wage supplements for older workers, job search and reallocation allowances, and income support for workers in training programs.

How does it work?
If trade is believed to have played a significant part in job losses, then an employer, a group of three workers, a union or worker representative, or an American Job Center representative can apply for TAA benefits on behalf of the affected workers.

Read more >>>

  Department of Labor approves Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for affected workers at Magnetation and United Taconite; TAA provides training and education benefits and services to these workers.

Lawmakers urged the Department of Labor last month to expedite approval of TAA petitions at both plants; Klobuchar and Franken both spoke by phone with Labor Secretary Perez on behalf of the federal delegation to call for speedy approval

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representative Rick Nolan, today announced that the Department of Labor (DOL) has approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petitions for steelworkers and miners who have been impacted by recent layoffs at the Magnetation and United Taconite plants. ýNearly a thousand Iron Range workers are eligible for the TAA program, which provides training and education benefits and other services to these workers. The lawmakers urged the Department of Labor last month to expedite approval of TAA petitions submitted by workers from the affected mining operations, including Magnetation and United Taconite. Klobuchar and Franken both spoke by phone with Labor Secretary Tom Perez on behalf of the federal delegation to call for speedy approval.

“This is good news for the hard-working steelworkers and miners who were affected by recent layoffs on the Iron Range,” Klobuchar said. “The Department of Labor responded to our call to approve these benefits, and now our Iron Range workers will have the support they need and deserve to help them get back on their feet.”

“One of my top priorities is to help Minnesotans find jobs and support their families,” Franken said. “But right now, the livelihoods of our Iron Range workers are being threatened by the idling and closing of several mining operations—and I want to make sure that affected workers can get the support and assistance they need. I’m glad that, at our urging, the Department of Labor is going to ensure that Minnesotans who were hurt by layoffs will be eligible for critical training and education benefits.”

Read more >>>

 The Negotiating Committee will be providing an update for Members via Skype at the Union Hall on Thursday, Sept. 24th at 9:00 AM.

Please attend if you can.

 USW

 Negotiations with Cliffs Natural Resources kicked off in Pittsburgh on Thursday, September 10th. During the initial ‘sound off’ meeting, USW negotiators made clear that we’re not willing to let Cliffs use a temporary downturn in the iron ore market as an excuse to erase decades of progress in our contracts.

The union understands the challenges that our industry is facing. We’re committed to working together to fight the onslaught of steel imports and we’re committed to working with Cliffs to find cost-saving solutions, but cutting wages and benefits is not the solution. USW negotiators also emphasized that maintaining quality healthcare for our retirees is a key priority.

Local issue bargaining resumed on Friday and will continue through the weekend. On Monday the parties will meet again to exchange top-table proposals.

Stay strong, stay safe, and let’s continue to show Cliffs that we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to win a fair contract!

   Posted: 9/11/15

  An alert to hourly employees that the first SUB checks went out today. (for those laid off 8/9) and they are CHECKS, not direct deposit.

There is a problem with the payroll system that we are trying to get resolved before the next checks go out in two weeks. We hope to have direct deposit for SUB set up by that time.

 

We're All in This Together

www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2015/were-all-in-this-together

 Members are meeting at the USW Local 6860 Union Hall every Thursday in September at 9:00 AM. From there we will go out for coffee at a local establishment. All are welcome.

Wear your USW Local 6860 T-shirts.

  Events planned in the Northland for Labor Day
  By News Tribune

Several Northland communities will hold picnics and other events on Monday to mark Labor Day.

The holiday festivities are particularly large in Cloquet, which is staging its 95th annual Labor Day Celebration this weekend.

Here are some details of events around the Northland:

 Virginia

Labor Day picnic, noon-4 p.m. Monday at Olcott Park

 Iron Range Labor Assembly

 Labor Day Picnic-Olcott Park

9th Ave. W. & 7th St. N.

Virginia, MN

Live Music By The Circle of Friends

Political Speakers start at 12:30 PM

Entertainment, Raffle and Food

All Are Welcome

 

 

 

Read more >>>

 8/24/15

The Negotiating Committees from Hibbing Taconite, UTAC, the Empire and Tilden mines met in Marquette, Michigan last week to prepare for contract negotiations which begin September 8th in Pittsburgh.

As always, we don't expect anything to come easy but we are expecting to bargain a fair contract.

We are keeping an eye on the current negotiations at US Steel and Arcelor Mittel, as their contracts expire 1 month ahead of ours. If you've been following the news, you'll know that those companies are attempting to ram a concessionary contract down the workers' throats.

Locally, we've only had 2 meetings with just 2 more scheduled for this week.....there is no progress to report.

 SUB Benefits claim forms are being handed out at the Employee Informational Meetings at the Fayal Town Hall. If you weren’t able to attend one of the meetings yet, there is one meeting left on August 18, at 3:30PM.

You can also pick up SUB Benefits Claim Forms at the Union Hall or call United Taconite and ask them to email or mail you some. Jessie Hill (744-7603) or Doris Bicha (744-7644) would be the ones to call at UTAC. SUB Benefits Claim Forms are sitting on the table by the door to the meeting area at the Union Hall.

The SUB forms are being handed out at the meetings and people can get additional copies at the Union Hall as needed. Most people shouldn’t need more than the 3 forms which they are given at the meetings.

They only have to be filled out when the claim starts, when they return, and if there any changes (to dependents or no UI for a week). They do NOT fill out a claim every pay period and do NOT have to send in copies of UI payments.

The SUB Forms have to be filled out by hand and then either mailed or faxed to United Taconite. UTAC’s address is on the SUB Claim Form. Putting “SUB Claim” on the envelope will help expedite the process.

If you want to fax your SUB Form in, there is a fax machine at the Union Hall that you can use provided someone is there. You might want to call first to make sure. Otherwise several businesses such as the Ely Lake Short Stop will fax documents for a minimal fee.

FAX SUB FORMS TO: 218-744-2600
The deadline is the Wednesday following the end of the UI period.

Any Questions, please feel free to call the Union Hall at 744-4480, or UTAC at one of the numbers listed above.

 

 Attention: This is the Last USW Local 6860 Informational Meeting at Fayal Town Hall

DATE/TIME:

Date: Aug 18 - Time: 3:30 PM


PLACE: Fayal Township City Hall
4375 Shady Lane
Eveleth, MN 55734

Questions -

Marla J. Beaty | Sr. Rapid Response Specialist
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200 St. Paul MN 55101
Direct: 218-259-1380
marla.beaty@state.mn.us
http://mn.gov/deed

  SOLIDARITY IN STEEL.

SOLIDARITY ON THE IRON RANGE
Rally and March

Thursday, August 20
4:30pm

Meet at Miners Memorial Building
821 S. 9th Ave, Virginia, MN

March to Olcott Park and Barbeque in the Park

Steelworkers, Retirees, Family, Community Are Welcome
Wear your USW Gear!

This summer more than 30,000 Steelworkers across the country are bargaining a new labor agreement with U.S. Steel, Cliffs Natural Resources, and ArcelorMittal. Management at the companies are attempting to use a temporary downturn in the domestic steel market as an excuse to permanently gut workers' contract language and benefits.

Members of the United Steelworkers are organizing and mobilizing to stand up for a fair contract and to secure good jobs for the next generation of steelworkers. In the final countdown to contract expiration, Steelworkers and community supporters at U.S. Steel, Cliffs, and ArcelorMittal facilities across the country will be taking action to show management that we're strong and united and ready to do whatever it takes to win a fair contract.

SUB Benefits claim forms are being handed out at the Employee Informational Meetings at the Fayal Town Hall. If you weren’t able to attend one of the meetings yet, there is one meeting left on August 18, at 3:30PM.

You can also pick up SUB Benefits Claim Forms at the Union Hall or call United Taconite and ask them to email or mail you some. Jessie Hill (744-7603) or Doris Bicha (744-7644) would be the ones to call at UTAC. SUB Benefits Claim Forms are sitting on the paper cutter by the door to the office at the Union Hall.

The SUB forms are being handed out at the meetings and people can get additional copies at the Union Hall as needed. Most people shouldn’t need more than the 3 forms which they are given at the meetings.

They only have to be filled out when the claim starts, when they return, and if there any changes (to dependents or no UI for a week). They do NOT fill out a claim every pay period and do NOT have to send in copies of UI payments.

The SUB Forms have to be filled out by hand and then either mailed or faxed to United Taconite. UTAC’s address is on the SUB Claim Form. Putting “SUB Claim” on the envelope will help expedite the process.

If you want to fax your SUB Form in, there is a fax machine at the Union Hall that you can use provided someone is there. You might want to call first to make sure. Otherwise several businesses such as the Ely Lake Short Stop will fax documents for a minimal fee.

FAX SUB FORMS TO: 218-744-2600
The deadline is the Wednesday following the end of the UI period.

Any Questions, please feel free to call the Union Hall at 744-4480, or UTAC at one of the numbers listed above.
 

  401K Loan Payments     8/11/15

 We got this clarification about 401(k) loan repayments today. There is not a “freeze” option for layoff status. Employees will need to make arrangements individually with Fidelity to continue making loan payments monthly. The number to call is 800-835-5091.

 The employees will have to continue to pay the loan manually. The Fidelity representative on the phone most likely was confusing “layoff” with “leave of absence due to disability.” When employees become disabled the IRS allows the loan to be frozen for up to 12 months while the employee is out on leave.

 The layoff status code that will be sent from ADP to Fidelity will trigger an “inactive” status to populate in Fidelity’s system. This will automatically cause participants’ loans to reamortize to a monthly repayment scheduled. The participant will need to call Fidelity after their layoff date to ensure the manual repayments are scheduled and sent in properly.

 

  DATE/TIME:

Date: Aug 18 - Time: 3:30 PM


PLACE: Fayal Township City Hall
4375 Shady Lane
Eveleth, MN 55734

Questions -

Marla J. Beaty | Sr. Rapid Response Specialist
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200 St. Paul MN 55101
Direct: 218-259-1380
marla.beaty@state.mn.us
http://mn.gov/deed

  Layoff Information 8-7-15

 Employees that have optional life insurance or optional dependent life insurance should make payment by the 15th of each month beginning … Checks should be made payable to United Taconite.

Include full name, employee ID and note indicating what the payment is for.

FSA dependent care terms at layoff. Healthcare FSA will continue based on service date and COBRA will be issued.

Also, not sure if you thought about 401k loans

Payment of entire balance can be made by contacting Fidelity at 1-800-835-5091 to obtain the outstanding amount and payment procedure, including payment address.

Be sure to include social security number and a note indicating that the check is to pay off a loan balance, or you can set up a one-time online payment.

This can be done by going online (410K.com) and setting up the one-time payment.

Another option to set up a monthly payment to be deducted from a bank account, and this would continue until the individual stops it or the loan is paid off. Access 401K loan payment options at www.401K.com

If payment is not made within ninety (90) days, the loan becomes due and payable. If the loan is not repaid when due, the loan balance will be processed as a taxable withdrawal with the appropriate incomes taxes and penalties. Fidelity will send a last chance letter requesting payment and explain tax implications of non-payment.

                                                      LOCAL UNION 6860
                                                      UNITED STEEL WORKERS DISTRICT 11
                                                       P.O. Box 687
                                                       EVELETH MN 55734                                                                                          PHONE: (218) 744-4480  
                                                       usw6860@gmail.com

Notice of Informational Meeting

Where: Union Hall – 416 Pierce Street, Eveleth

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Time: 3:15 PM For Executive Board
4:00 PM For All Members

Purpose: General Information Due to The Upcoming Layoff

If You Have Any Questions Call 744-4480

In Solidarity,
Brian Zarn
President, USW Local #6860

  DATE/TIME:

Date: Aug 6, Aug 7, & Aug 12 - Time: 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM

Date: Aug 18 - Time: 3:30 PM


PLACE: Fayal Township City Hall
4375 Shady Lane
Eveleth, MN 55734

Questions -

Marla J. Beaty | Sr. Rapid Response Specialist
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200 St. Paul MN 55101
Direct: 218-259-1380
marla.beaty@state.mn.us
http://mn.gov/deed

  Governor Dayton addresses the Iron Range Delegation. The Governor offered the assistance of he and his office to help all laid off steelworkers. He even offered his home phone number for anyone wishing to contact him for help. Not many legislators offer their home phone number and tell you to call them at home if you need help. 

Jason Metsa addresses the crowd. He stressed how disappointed he is in USS. He, Carly Melin and other DFL State Legislators fought hard to help USS at the state level.

Then USS offers an intitial contract proposal to the USW that would turn the clock back 30 years in wages and benefits.

The legislators helped USS and then USS tries to screw over their constituents.

Your typical corporate greed.

 Governor Dayton and Congressman Nolan address the Iron Range Delegation. The Congressman discussed how there was an increase in the demand for steel this year and last year. So there should be an increase in steel industry jobs, including Iron Range jobs. The Governor commented how foreign steel dumping is once again hurting our state economy and jobs on the range. 

Carly Melin offers her assistance to laid off steelworkers. She said she would help all steelworkers sign up and receive unemployment and TAA benefits.

  Laura Clawson Daily Kos
  7-26-15

  The nation's largest labor federation was nothing if not succinct and to the point on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker making his presidential run official:

AFL-CIO statement on Scott Walker's presidential run:

 SCOTT WALKER IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE.

  By: Jason Easleymore
  Politicususa 7-26-15

  Senate Republicans voted down a bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that would have provided funds to state and local governments to create 1 million new jobs for nation’s struggling young workforce.

The Senate voted down the legislation that was an amendment to the education bill by a 43-55 margin. The legislation would have provided $5.5 billion to state and local governments for jobs and training programs. Republicans objected to the bill because it would have been paid for by closing a tax loophole for billionaires.

Before the vote, Sanders urged his colleagues to support the bill, “I applaud President Obama for visiting a federal penitentiary to highlight the fact that, tragically, the United States has more people in jail than any other country on earth and one of the reasons that we have so many people in jail is that we have an obscenely high level of youth unemployment. The time has come for us to begin investing in jobs and education for our kids, not jails and incarceration. Let’s create productive citizens in America, not more criminals.”

When it came time to vote, Republicans sided with their billionaire benefactors. After the vote, Sanders said, “I am disappointed but not surprised that so many Republican senators opposed this common-sense approach to dealing with an overlooked national crisis.”

Youth unemployment is a crisis. According to a report from The Economic Policy Institute, youth unemployment (age 17-20) among African-American high school graduates is 51.3%. Among Hispanics, the unemployment rate for this same age group was 36.1%, and among white youths the unemployment rate was 33.8%. The nation’s young workers are in the midst of a depression level employment crisis, but Senate Republicans voted to not make the wealthiest Americans pay a penny more in taxes.

Senate Republicans demonstrated again today that ordinary Americans aren’t a priority to them.

What the Republicans in the Senate did was an absolute disgrace. The Republican presidential candidates claim that they will “fix” broken Washington, but the problem isn’t in Washington. The problem is the broken and billionaire-owned Republican Party.

  New Minimum Wage: $70,000 a Year    

  Dan Price, C.E.O. of Gravity Payments, surprised his 120-person staff by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of every employee to $70,000 a year.

  By PATRICIA COHEN  NY Times

The idea began percolating, said Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, after he read an article on happiness. It showed that, for people who earn less than about $70,000, extra money makes a big difference in their lives.

His idea bubbled into reality on Monday afternoon, when Mr. Price surprised his 120-person staff by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of even the lowest-paid clerk, customer service representative and salesman to a minimum of $70,000.

“Is anyone else freaking out right now?” Mr. Price asked after the clapping and whooping died down into a few moments of stunned silence. “I’m kind of freaking out.”

If it’s a publicity stunt, it’s a costly one. Mr. Price, who started the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm in 2004 at the age of 19, said he would pay for the wage increases by cutting his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000 and using 75 to 80 percent of the company’s anticipated $2.2 million in profit this year.

The average salary at Gravity Payments had been $48,000 a year.
The paychecks of about 70 employees will grow, with 30 ultimately doubling their salaries, according to Ryan Pirkle, a company spokesman. The average salary at Gravity is $48,000 a year.

Mr. Price’s small, privately owned company is by no means a bellwether, but his unusual proposal does speak to an economic issue that has captured national attention: The disparity between the soaring pay of chief executives and that of their employees.

The United States has one of the world’s largest pay gaps, with chief executives earning nearly 300 times what the average worker makes, according to some economists’ estimates. That is much higher than the 20-to-1 ratio recommended by Gilded Age magnates like J. Pierpont Morgan and the 20th century management visionary Peter Drucker.

“The market rate for me as a C.E.O. compared to a regular person is ridiculous, it’s absurd,” said Mr. Price, who said his main extravagances were snowboarding and picking up the bar bill. He drives a 12-year-old Audi, which he received in a barter for service from the local dealer.

Read more >>>

  Richard Cucarese
  Rapid Response Coordinator
  Local 4889, Fairless Hills, Pa.

  Anyone who has been following the news lately cannot help but be drawn to the tragedies of Charleston and the subsequent battle over gun rights and the taking down of a symbol of aggression to many African Americans, the Confederate flag.

While all this has made for emotionally compelling and needed debate, the biggest socio-economic challenge our whole country faces has disappeared into the woodwork once again. It is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. If TPP passes, and by all accounts its passage may occur in later this year, Americans of all walks will be massively affected.

Millions of Americans have suffered through the loss of good paying manufacturing jobs, especially in the past fifteen years. The statistic of almost 60 thousand factories being shuttered since 2001 is staggering. When a factory closes, there is always a heavy price paid by the community in lost tax revenue, eroding infrastructure and a certain loss of physical and mental stability that can only exist when a community is working and thriving.

Job loss is always a devastating social and economic issue, and it is becoming too prevalent in 21stCentury America.

The loss of a steady income leads to despair and discontent. Job loss leads to many social ills such as spousal or child abuse, heavy drug and alcohol use, and the need to blame someone for the economic and emotional losses incurred. People of different racial, religious or sexual backgrounds may not agree on all the issues being debated in our country at the moment, but we can agree on one thing: the massive loss of jobs through free trade agreements has created dead cities, blighted towns, and unending tales of hardship and misery.

We must all stand together, a movement of Americans from union and non-union groups, blue and white collar workers, to show our government that these agreements are not in our best interests.

We need to show that this selling out of our livelihoods will no longer be tolerated. We need to be a movement of not one thousand, but one million, marching on Washington D.C., and airing our grievances in a peaceful but very vocal display.

It would be at least one step towards stemming the tide of some serious social ills that we face.

  Alice Ollstein
  Political Reporter, Think Progress

  The Rise Of Anti-Union Rhetoric In The 2016 Race
This week, the Supreme Court agreed to take a case that could spell doom for public sector unions, with the potential to make the entire country so-called “right-to-work” territory.

If that effort fails, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has vowed to make every state a “right-to-work” state if elected president. Out of all the Republican candidates running for president, a growing roster that now tops a dozen, Walker has focused the most on his record fighting unions — a record he says prepares him to confront enemy combatants like ISIS if elected president.

But while Walker may be the loudest and proudest union buster in the 2016 race, his fellow candidates are also striving to prove their anti-labor bona fides.

Carly Fiorina has blamed unions for pay disparities between men and women, though that disparity is much smaller among unionized workers.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has called for ending collective bargaining for postal workers and implementing “right-to-work” nationwide.

 

Read more >>>

  USW Blog

  The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim countries would pit U.S. workers against those in countries with long histories of human and labor rights violations, including child and forced labor.

Violations that would shock the conscience of most Americans are described in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, annual reports produced by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The 2014 report details abuses in four TPP countries: Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico and Brunei.

The worst among these is Malaysia. Workers there who attempt to unionize are often punished with temporary detainment, wage abatement or firing. The State Department also reported that Malaysian companies use child and forced labor and employ victims of human trafficking.

In Vietnam, the state department reports, it is a federal crime for workers to unionize outside of an organization that answers directly to the Communist Party. This restriction limits workers’ freedom of association because unions are under the supervision and control of that organization, which is not run by workers.

The State Department reported that Mexico legally delineates workers’ rights but fails to enforce them. The government ignores workers’ safety complaints, for example. Additionally, “protection unions,” which are company-controlled labor organizations, hinder independent, worker-run unions in their attempts to negotiate legitimate bargains on behalf of workers.

Brunei, another partner in the TPP, plans to execute two final phases in its Syariah Penal Code that would include punishments such as stoning to death for sexual crimes, amputation for thievery, and death for renouncing the Prophet Mohammed.

The AFL-CIO and other organizations have urged the President and Congress to forego deals with countries cited for egregious violations of worker and human rights until after the countries end these practices.

  By Ellen Brown, The Web of Debt Blog | Report

  In March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy." The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

The revelation may have done more than that. The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to "fast track" not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud.

The Banking Game Exposed

The BOE report confirmed what money reformers have been saying for decades: that banks do not act simply as intermediaries, taking in the deposits of "savers" and lending them to borrowers, keeping the spread in interest rates. Rather, banks actually create deposits when they make loans. The BOE report said that private banks now create 97 percent of the British money supply. The US money supply is created in the same way.

Graeber underscored the dramatic implications:

. . . [M]oney is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it.
Politically, said Graeber, revealing these facts is taking an enormous risk:

Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.

If money is just an IOU, why are we delivering the exclusive power to create it to an unelected, unaccountable, non-transparent private banking monopoly? Why are we buying into the notion that the government is broke – that it must sell off public assets and slash public services in order to pay off its debts? The government could pay its debts in the same way private banks pay them, simply with accounting entries on its books. What will happen when a critical mass of the populace realizes that we've been vassals of a parasitic banking system based on a fraud – that we the people could be creating money as credit ourselves, through publicly-owned banks that returned the profits to the people?

Henry Ford predicted that a monetary revolution would follow. There might even be a move to nationalize the whole banking system and turn it into a public utility.

It is not hard to predict that the international bankers and related big-money interests, anticipating this move, would counter with legislation that locked the current system in place, so that there was no way to return money and banking to the service of the people – even if the current private model ended in disaster, as many pundits also predict.

And that is precisely the effect of the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which was slipped into the "fast track" legislation now before Congress. It is also the effect of the bail-in policies currently being railroaded into law in the Eurozone, and of the suspicious "war on cash" seen globally; but those developments will be the subject of another article.

Read more >>>

 TO ALL USW 6860 MEMBERS:

There is a temporary problem with health care coverage. We expect it will be resolved.

Please see the email below.

Any questions, feel free to call the Union Hall at 744-4480, or the Company representatives listed below.

Thank you for your understanding and patience in this matter.

 

All:

We’ve just been made aware of an inadvertent error that temporarily terminated coverage in the medical plan covering active hourly employees. Our corporate office is aware of this problem and is working with Hewitt, the company that maintains this coverage list, to reinstate, as soon as possible, all those whose coverage in the system was inadvertently terminated.

In the meanwhile, if you have a need for immediate confirmation of coverage in the medical or prescription plans in order to be seen by a doctor or purchase medications in the next several days, please have the pharmacy or doctor’s call our office. This week, they should call Marcia Hage at 218-744-7636. Next week Doris Bicha will be back from vacation, so if there are continued issues by then, have the pharmacy or doctor’s office call Doris at 218-744-7644.

If there is a need for confirmation that comes up outside of our normal office hours, have the pharmacy or doctor’s office call my cell phone at 218-966-6256.

We apologize for the error that has occurred and will help in any way we can to minimize any disruption in your ability to use your medical benefits.

John P. Baxter

Area Manager-Human Resources
P 218.744.7819 M 218.966.6256 john.baxter@cliffsnr.com

CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES
United Taconite LLC
PO Box 180, Eveleth, MN 55734
cliffsnaturalresources.com

  416 Pierce St PO Box 687 Eveleth, MN 55734 Phone: 218 - 744 - 4480 Fax: 218 - 744 - 4495 Main E - mail: USW6860@gmail.com Submit Articles & Pictures to : 6860commscomm@gmail.com USW#Local6860
May / June 2015
United Steelworkers Local 6860
Union Meetings Start at 4:00 pm
416 Pierce St Eveleth, MN
July 21st
August 18
September 16
October 20
SOAR Meetings are on Summer break. Meetings will resume again Wednesday September 2nd @ 10:00 am
Disclaimer:
This newsletter is printed and published by USW Local 6860. Con- tents herein are solely the opinion and responsibility of the contributor and are not the responsibility of the local. Any inaccuracies and liability for such inaccuracies is hereby denied.
"The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.”— Thomas Donahue

PRESIDENT’S REPORT
By Brian Zarn
President USW Local #6860 I’m sure most of you are aware of recent reports of layoffs and reduced work- weeks at taconite mines here in Minnesota and in Michigan. So far, United Taconite has avoid- ed these setbacks, but no one knows for sure what the future will bring. Those of you who were here in 2008 remember the Union agreeing to a 32 - hour work week to avoid layoffs for about 100 sisters and brothers only 2 months after wrapping up contract negotiations. Going back a little further, I was in my 7th year of employment before I worked 12 consecutive months without a layoff. My longest layoff was 18 months and I received 2 permanent lay-off notices during that time. Some of our more senior brothers and sisters went through layoffs of over 5 years. I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but uncertainty in the steel industry is a reality and the taconite industry has its ups and downs accordingly. As always, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And please keep our sisters and brothers at Kee- tac, Minntac, Empire Mine and 6860’s Nelson Williams in your thoughts – it is a real bur- den not knowing how you’re going to pay the bills.
Last month, Cleveland Cliffs let about 100 salaried employees go - over 20 at United Taconite. I don’t take pleasure in seeing anyone lose their job, but I’d have to say they missed a few.
Labor/Management meetings will no longer be held. Our Grievance Committee members will file grievances into the system as necessary. As always, the grievance person will try to settle the issue with the grievant and the most directly involved supervisor before fil- ing. More training for Grievance Committee members is coming.
After the Crew Leader program ended, the Company responded by reviving the predecessor program – the “Leadman!” I see that weak move as a slap in the face of employees who do the work of supervision for even less money than before. Think twice about be- coming a “Leadman”. The Company presented the Union with a “Draft Copy” of proposed changes to the Attendance Policy. Their proposal would increase attendance points for those employees working AWS schedules and would increase punishment for employees who miss certain shifts. The Union opposes those changes, has not agreed to those changes, has given the Company a formal re- quest to bargain, has informed the Company that the proposed changes represent a condition of employment and are a mandatory subject of bar- gaining, and we will grieve and file NLRB charges if the Company imposes the changes. This is an example of the caliber of people we bargain with. Less than 6 months ago, during Mine Operations AWS meetings, the Company proposed charging 1.5 attendance points for a missed AWS shift. The Un- ion rejected the proposal, and the schedule was eventually adopted – without the added attendance point language. Now they are trying to stick it up our ass. Nice….
I want to talk about an issue which has caused a ripple effect of trouble for our members. The Union has been trying to nip this in the bud since last Fall – before it became such a huge mess…. Listen: Instead of properly posting for truck drivers last Fall, the Company placed newly hired employees as truck drivers. Once the Union pointed out the problem, the Company did post for truck drivers. Successful bidders were awarded their positions, but their seniority within their classification was not corrected. The Union grieved that.
Then, because seniority was never corrected, more senior truck drivers were improperly demoted out of their classification (another grievance). Then to rub a little salt into the wound, the Company improperly demoted the skills additive truck drivers to the labor pool at job class 2 instead of general miner and job class 8. There’s more…….once the improperly demoted and improperly underpaid truck drivers were brought to the plant, they were all scheduled Monday- Friday. The Company should have given the more senior laborers the opportunity to work the Monday- Friday schedule first….another grievance. This is just one example of how a single problem can quickly escalate. It is especially infuriating to know the Company could have fixed these issues immediately and at no monetary cost – instead, they’ve chosen to screw around with our members’ lives – and for what gain to the Company?

Read more >>>

  LA Progressive
  BY JOSEPH PALERMO
 

  By siding with the Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in passing “fast-track” trade authority as a step toward signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Barack Obama triangulated against labor unions, environmentalists, consumer activists, and the base of his party.

The 60-38 vote in the Senate to give the president (and the next president) more executive power to negotiate trade agreements, which garnered the support of thirteen Democratic Senators, followed months of bitter in-fighting among Democrats.

President Obama not only expended his own “political capital” by pushing for fast-track but that of the Democratic Party, too. He had a clear choice: either side with workers, environmentalists, consumers, and progressives – or side with Wall Street, Big Pharma, Wal-Mart, and the Koch Brothers.

Republicans have been whining about Obama’s “unconstitutional power grabs” for over six years. Now they turn around and give him fast-track authority – Wow! It’s creepy to see Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan praising Barack Obama.

The fight continues because the TPP still needs to be voted on (most likely in the fall), but it’s a colossally wrongheaded political choice for the Democratic Party.

Read more >>>

  businessinsider.com

  HOUSTON (Reuters) - Striking workers from Marathon Petroleum Corp's Galveston Bay Refinery ratified a new contract on Tuesday, ending a five-month strike, said local union officials.

About 90 percent of the more than 1,000 workers cast secret ballots at their local union hall in Texas City, Texas, within sight of the 451,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery on Monday and Tuesday to end the work stoppage that began on Feb. 1.

Under terms of the contract and accompanying return-to-work agreement, the workers will begin resuming their jobs on July 6. Marathon has kept the refinery in operation using temporary replacement workers.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio)

Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2015.

  By Joan McCarter Daily Kos

 The expansion of health insurance and Medicaid across the country has reduced the number of unpaid hospital bills dramatically, according to a new report from Health and Human Services on the progress of the law. The agency projects the savings to the nation's hospitals for 2014 alone will be $5.7 billion. In the states that have expanded Medicaid, unpaid bills have fallen by one third.

“Hospitals have long been on the front lines of caring for the uninsured, who often cannot pay the full costs of their care,” said HHS Secretary M. Sylvia Burwell. “Today’s news is good for families, businesses, and taxpayers alike. It’s yet another example of how the Affordable Care Act is working in terms of affordability, access, and quality.”
Projections from today’s report suggest that hospitals in states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will see greater savings than hospitals in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Hospitals in states that have expanded Medicaid are projected to save up to $4.2 billion, which makes up about 74 percent of the total savings nationally this year. Hospitals in states that have opted not to expand Medicaid are projected to save up to $1.5 billion this year, and which is only 26 percent of the total savings nationally.

So is the real life impact. Take the example of Texas, where annual uncompensated care is $5.5 billion—almost as much as has been saved nationwide by Obamacare. It's seen a bit of improvement because of new Obamacare enrollees, but Gov. Rick Perry's refusal to expand Medicaid is costing the state—and the state's taxpayers—dearly. Property tax revenues are used to keep hospitals running. The state could receive as much as $100 billion in federal funds in the next decade, with expansion. That's something the state's hospitals and its taxpayers would happily accept.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO JOAN MCCARTER ON WED SEP 24, 2014 AT 02:44 PM PDT.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY GOOD NEWS AND DAILY KOS.

  Progressive Liberal/Daily Kos

  Rachel Maddow did a great job in illustrating how deeply entrenched the hate group Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) is within the Republican Party. Prominent Republican politicians including presidential candidates like Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker, and Senator Ted Cruz received contributions from this group. Have you ever wondered why politicians rarely vote for the well-being of the middle class?

The murders of nine innocent people in a massacre at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church by terrorist Dylann Roof shocked the nation. It shocked the Republican Party into action. Their continual pandering of the Southern Strategy may be at risk. Who would have believed that South Carolina would move as fast as it is moving to remove the scourge that is the Confederate flag. Who would have believed that Mississippi is contemplating changing its flag steeped in Confederate symbolism. Who would have believed that Walmart would remove all traces of anything Confederate from all of their stores.

It should not have taken the murders of nine good people to effect these changes. It was just a matter of time before the rhetoric by right-wing politicians, Fox News, and their hate groups would be the likely cause violent fatalities from the weak minded.

The Guardian conducted some long-overdue research on many Republicans being seeded by the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC).

Head below the fold to see the full Maddow clip and a list of all those Republicans getting CofCC money.

 

Read more >>>

  By Zeeshan Aleem mic.com

  Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) bid for the presidency has been a long time in the making.

  The firebrand politician, who will turn 74 in September, came from humble beginnings in Brooklyn. He's been demolished in several political races in his life, and every time he has won one — whether for mayor, the House of Representatives or the Senate — the establishment widely assumed the victory to be a short-lived stroke of luck.

And yet he has prevailed, winning reelections against the predictions of his critics and garnering national attention, despite lacking the kind of charisma one would expect of a politician stigmatized for identifying as a democratic socialist.

Now, as his campaign for president ramps up, he's already making a splash. He's in Iowa talking about the yawning gap between the rich and the poor. He's on Sunday morning talk shows talking about free college and health care. He is waging a rhetorical war against "the billionaire class," whom he believes Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will side with at the expense of the middle class.

As he goes about building his campaign for president, it's worth taking a look at where he's from, and how he got here.

The beginning: Sanders was born in 1941 and raised in a poor Jewish family in Brooklyn. His father, a Polish immigrant who was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust, was a paint salesman who struggled to make ends meet. According to the New York Times, he slept in the living room with his brother in his family's one-bedroom apartment in Flatbush, and, he told the New York Times, "money was always a source of friction." His mother, who always hoped to escape that apartment, died at the age of 46.

Sanders' taste for attempting long-shot political races on a radical platform emerged early in life. In high school, he ran for class president on a "platform to provide scholarships to war orphans in Korea," according to the University of Chicago Magazine. He came in third place.

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 By AndrewAmericanus/Daily Kos

 I am a mid forties white male living in the South. With my accent and business background, people assume I am a conservative. When they find out I am a democrat, many are surprised and often ask, “why am I a democrat?”

The short answer is because I like people more than I like money. Do not get me wrong, I like money too, but when an issue comes down to a choice between people or money, I like to err on the side of people. This is not to say I would always decide in the favor of people, often times the costs are too high, but lets not put money first all the time.

I believe the democratic party is the best choice for the US to gain greater social freedom and economic development.

I believe social freedom means the freedom to be yourself as long as you do not hurt other people. I believe economic development means working to live, not living to work.

Why do I think the democrats are the best choice for social freedom? Because most liberals I know do not care about your sexual orientation, religion, drug use, choice of entertainment, etc. as long as your exercise of these rights does not infringe on the rights of others.

Why do I believe democrats are the best choice for economic development? I am old enough to remember the S&L crisis in the early 90’s after nearly 3 terms for republican presidents. I remember Bill Clinton’s economic bill that raised taxes on the top tax bracket, and the republican predictions of economic doom that accompanied it. We all know how that turned out. After 2 Bush terms we had yet another financial crisis. In my lifetime, the democrats have managed the economy better than republicans.

So there you have it, that is as short as I can put it, and it usually fits in to a conversation as long as the constant interruptions with Rush Limbaugh’s and Bill O’Reilly’s latest pronouncements are kept to a minimum.

  Our USW Local 6860 Women of Steel Amy Hutkowski and Loretta Sanders joined by members of other Locals spent a day working and building a home for Habitat for Humanity.

Good job ladies and thanks for all the hard work!

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  Harold Meyerson
  Editor-at-Large, The American Prospect

  A Democratic Socialist Campaign? It’s About Time

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign is the first such effort by a democratic socialist since Norman Thomas waged the last of his six such campaigns on the Socialist Party ticket in 1948.

It’s about time.

Historically, the role of the two great American socialist standard-bearers Eugene Debs and Thomas, and such socialist members of Congress as Meyer London and Ronald Dellums, was to advance ideas that their progressive compatriots were sometimes able to enact — partially — years or decades later, or that later were transformed into common sense. Running for president in 1904, Debs campaigned for the eight-hour workday, social insurance and women’s suffrage. Representing New York’s Lower East Side in Congress during the 1910s, London introduced legislation to create paid maternity leave, something Congress still has yet to get around to. In 1942, Thomas was virtually the only prominent American to publicly oppose the internment of Japanese Americans.

What distinguished the socialists from their contemporaries during the Progressive era and the New Deal was their belief that capitalism was inherently unjust and unsustainable. But the very reforms pushed through by European socialists and their American socialist, progressive and liberal counterparts created a more social capitalism — a capitalism with unions, social insurance and prohibitions on speculation — that was to prove remarkably sustainable for a time. In the years after World War II, the socialist parties of Europe and American socialist intellectuals such as Michael Harrington no longer advocated nationalizing the means of production. They advocated, rather, for an expanded social rights agenda — free medical care, for instance — and civil rights. A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. — respectively, the architect, the organizer and the visionary of the 1963 March on Washington — were democratic socialists.

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 PRESIDENT’S REPORT MAY/JUNE 2015
 by Brian Zarn

I’m sure most of you are aware of recent reports of layoffs and reduced work-weeks at taconite mines here in Minnesota and in Michigan. So far, United Taconite has avoided these setbacks, but no one knows for sure what the future will bring. Those of you who were here in 2008 remember the Union agreeing to a 32-hour work week to avoid layoffs for about 100 sisters and brothers only 2 months after wrapping up contract negotiations. Going back a little further, I was in my 7th year of employment before I worked 12 consecutive months without a layoff. My longest layoff was 18 months and I received 2 permanent lay-off notices during that time. Some of our more senior brothers went through layoffs of over 5 years. I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but uncertainty in the steel industry is a reality and the taconite industry has its ups and downs accordingly. As always, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And please keep our sisters and brothers at Keetac, Minntac and the Empire Mine in your thoughts – it is a real burden not knowing how you’re going to pay the bills.

Last month, Cleveland Cliffs let about 100 salaried employees go - over 20 at United Taconite. I don’t take pleasure in seeing anyone lose their job, but I’d have to say they missed a few.

Labor/Management meetings will no longer be held. Our Grievance Committee members will file grievances into the system as necessary. As always, the grievance person will try to settle the issue with the grievant and the most directly involved supervisor before filing. More training for Grievance Committee members is coming.

After the Crew Leader program ended, the Company responded by reviving the predecessor program – the “Leadman!” I see that weak move as a slap in the face of employees who do the work of supervision for even less money than before. Think twice about becoming a “Leadman”.

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  The Guardian
  C Robert Gibson and Taylor Channing

  A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed.

“We’re very much in the endgame,” US trade representative Michael Froman told reporters over the weekend at a meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the resort island of Boracay. His comments came days after TPP passed another crucial vote in the Senate.

That vote, to give Barack Obama the authority to speed the bill through Congress, comes as the president’s own supporters, senior economists and a host of activists have lobbied against a pact they argue will favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech online.

Those critics are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the sudden flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle.

Fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators. The US Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – the fast-tracking bill – by a 65-33 margin on 14 May. Last Thursday, the Senate voted 62-38 to bring the debate on TPA to a close.

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  Daily Kos

by TheNewDeal

The right has made unions the boogeymen of our time. It is our duty to set the record straight.

Unions are not a bad thing. In fact, we should thank them everyday of our working lives.

God Bless Unions!  Solidarity Forever!  Let's get one thing straight...

Employers and Corporations did not feel generous and decide to give you two days off every week to have a social/personal life. (We now call them weekends). Corporations did not just feel like being nice one day and give their employees paid vacations. CEOs didn't get together in a board room and say "Let's give our employees more rights at work" or "Maybe there should be laws to limit our power over an employee".

Virtually ALL the benefits you have at work, whether you work in the public or private sector, all of the benefits and rights you enjoy everyday are there because unions fought hard and long for them against big business who did everything they could to prevent giving you your rights. Many union leaders and members even lost their lives for things we take for granted today.

The right-wing attack on unions is nothing more than ignorance, lack of education, and propaganda.

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 Daily Kos
 by Gaius

The impetus behind the Occupy Wall Street movement - a vague sense that the rich are getting ever richer while everyone else suffers - was confirmed by a recent report from the Social Security Administration showing that while total employment and average wages remained stagnant, the number of people earning $1 million or more grew by 18% from 2009 to 2010. Those figures give real substance to the "We are the 99%" slogan, yet Republicans continue to insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that if anything those "job creators" deserve an even greater share of our national income. The Tea Party, meanwhile, has launched its own "53%" movement, inexplicably rallying the working class to the defense of the wealthy. The one group rarely heard from in this rancorous debate is the 1%, whose incomes and taxes are its focus. I am one of them, and here is my perspective, which may surprise you.

First let me note that I am not part of the yacht and private jet set, which represents an even smaller subset of incomes than mine. The threshold for inclusion in the top 1% of income earners in 2008, the most recent year for which published data is available from the IRS, was $380,354, enough for an extraordinary life but nowhere near enough for a harbor berth in St. Moritz. Nevertheless, I am - for now - comfortably ensconced in that demographic. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would save me roughly $400,000 a year in taxes, and President Obama's tax proposals would cost me more than $100,000, yet I support the latter and consider the former laughable.

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  Huffington Post

In a not-so-surprising move, Republican senators, including all four Republican women, unanimously voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act on Monday night. The law would make it easier for employees to talk about wages—and potentially help women learn whether they earn less than their male colleagues. It would also force employers to explain or justify why two similarly qualified workers earn different wages.

This is the third time since 2012 that Republicans have voted down the bill.

Pay disparities between women and men are a reality. Recent research suggests that in some industries—such as finance—women earn as little as 66 percent of men’s wages. Overall women take home about 71 cents for every dollar men earn.

Low-income women also suffer from gender-based wealth disparities. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the poverty rate for women is 13 percent, while only 11 percent of men live in poverty. Women in low-wage jobs make 13 percent less than men who do similar work.

 

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 Hugh J. Campbell
 Son of a steelworker, Philadelphia, Pa.

 Big Lie: America Doesn't Have #1 Richest Middle Class in the World: We're Ranked 27th! provides ample justification for Bernie Sanders' Political Revolution.

America is the richest country on Earth. We have the most millionaires, the most billionaires and our wealthiest citizens have garnered more of the planet's riches than any other group in the world. We even have hedge fund managers who make in one hour as much as the average family makes in 21 years!

Our middle class is falling further and further behind in comparison to the rest of the world. We keep hearing that America is number one. Well, when it comes to middle-class wealth, we're number 27.

Why? Corrupt and/or unresponsive leadership. This leadership gap combined with the principle enablers of revolution, new technology and the empowerment of the masses makes Bernie Sanders' political revolution is so promising.

  Robert Reich
  Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley

Have we learned nothing from thirty years of failed trickle-down economics?

By now we should know that when big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy get special goodies, the rest of us get shafted.

The Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts of 1981, 2001, and 2003, respectively, were sold to America as ways to boost the economy and create jobs.

They ended up boosting the take-home pay of those at the top. Most Americans saw no gains.

In fact, the long stagnation of American wages began with Reaganomics. Wages rose a bit under Bill Clinton, and then started plummeting again under George W. Bush.

Trickle-down economics proved a cruel hoax. The new jobs created under Reagan and George W. Bush paid lousy wages, the old jobs paid even less, and we ended up with whopping federal budget deficits.


Then came the bailout of Wall Street in 2008. It was sold as the means of preserving the economy.

It ended up preserving the jobs and exorbitant pay of bankers, but millions of Americans lost their shirts. Small savers were wiped out, and homeowners never got the refinancing they were promised.

No conditions were put on the Wall Street banks for what they were supposed to do for the rest of us in return for our bailing them out. None of their top executives even went to jail for causing the crash in the first place.

Here again, nothing trickled down.

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  USW Blog

Mike Wessel
I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned.

"You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

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  Scout Finch
Daily Kos staff

CUBA HAS FOR several years had a promising therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer. The 55-year trade embargo led by the US made sure that Cuba was mostly where it stayed. Until—maybe—now.
The Obama administration has, of course, been trying to normalize relations with the island nation. And last month, during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s visit to Havana, Roswell Park Cancer Institute finalized an agreement with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop a lung cancer vaccine and begin clinical trials in the US. Essentially, US researchers will bring the Cimavax vaccine stateside and get on track for approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

More on how the vaccine works:
Cimavax works the same as any other vaccine—each dose delivers an innocuous fragment of what we want the immune system to target (virus, bacteria, and so on) along with chemicals that amp up the immune system. The vaccines we’re most familiar with protect us against pathogens that can infect us, like the measles virus.
Cimavax, though, directs the immune system’s defenses to target a protein that our own bodies produce called epidermal growth factor, which cancer cells attract and use to multiply. Blocking epidermal growth factor from reaching the cancerous cells won’t kill the cancer, but could stop it from growing and spreading. (It’s important to point out that Cimavax isn’t a preventative treatment—you can’t take a shot of it and continue smoking without fear of lung cancer.)

Wow! Cimavax could potentially slow or stop growth in other types of cancers as well. Now that it will have proper funding and clinical trials, this could be a very promising development in the fight against cancer.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO SCOUT FINCH

  Meet a few of the job destroyers and tax evaders that want to cut Social Security,    Medicare, and Medicaid while lowering the tax rate for the top 2%.


  By U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.)

  Washington, D.C. Today, a group of 80 CEOs are lecturing Congress about the need to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while lowering tax rates for millionaires, billionaires, and the largest corporations in America.

These are some of the same CEOs who head corporations that: received a total taxpayer bailout of more than $2.5 trillion from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department and nearly caused the economy to collapse just four years ago; outsourced hundreds of thousands of American jobs to China and other low wage
countries, forcing their workers to receive unemployment insurance and other federal
benefits; avoided at least $34.5 billion in taxes by setting up more than 600 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other offshore tax havens since 2008; and a dozen of these companies paid no corporate income taxes in at least one year since 2008, while receiving more than $6.4 billion in tax refunds from the IRS, after making billions in profits. In other words, these are some of the same people who have significantly caused the deficit to explode over the last four years.
The last thing we need to do is listen to these deficit increasing CEOs.

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  Alice Ollstein
  Political Reporter, Think Progress

  Though he has yet to officially declare his bid for president, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is frequenting early primary states and hinting at what he would do if elected to the White House. In a recent interview with Radio Iowa, Walker said he would champion a federal version of the controversial ‘right-to-work’ law he signed earlier this year.

“As much as I think the federal government should get out of most of what it’s in right now, I think establishing fundamental freedoms for the American people is a legitimate thing and that would be something that would provide that opportunity in the other half of America to people who don’t have those opportunities today,” he said.

With Walker’s blessing, Wisconsin became the 25th state to pass a so-called ‘right-to-work,’ which bans workplaces that have voted to unionize from collecting mandatory dues to support their collective bargaining efforts. Since then, the state’s union membership has been decimated. Two-thirds of the state’s members of American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have dropped out, causing membership to plummet from 63,000 to less than 20,000.

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 By Barb Kucera, Workday Minnesota
 MINNEAPOLIS

 Members of the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition gathered outside U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar's Minneapolis office on Thursday to protest fast track legislation. They demonstrated outside U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office Thursday, calling on her to oppose legislation that would “fast track” new trade deals.

The lunch-hour demonstration drew scores of people from several labor unions, farm groups and community organizations.

“This [fast track] vote is about which side is Senator Klobuchar on – corporations or the people?” said Mark Schultz, associate director of the Land Stewardship Project, an organization promoting family farming and sustainable agriculture.

The Obama administration is seeking fast track authority that would bar Congress from making any changes to free trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement currently being negotiated in secret. Klobuchar has yet to declare a position on the issue, despite massive pressure from constituents.

The United Steelworkers have made more than 4,000 phone calls to her office, said Bob Ryan, the Rapid Response coordinator for USW District 11. Members of the Communications Workers of America have been holding round-the-clock sit-ins at the senator’s office, CWA State President Mona Meyer said.

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 J. David Cox
 AFGE President

 Watching the discussion around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) gives me a nasty sense of déjà vu.

Long before joining AFGE, I worked as a food service worker, licensed practical nurse, and registered nurse in my hometown of Kannapolis, North Carolina. In those days, Kannapolis was just another Southern mill town full of honest, working class people just trying to get by. Working at the textile mill was hard, but it was honest work that supported hundreds of families, and that was enough for generations of us to buy homes and support our families. That was, until the cheap imports started arriving from overseas.

It didn't take long for things to unravel after that. The vacancies came first, then the pink slips, then delinquency notices, then the foreclosure notices. Men and women who had been working in the mills their whole lives – my family members included – were now out of work, and whole communities were left without a means to put food on the table.

After the textile mills closed, so did the clothing factories, then the lunch counters and convenience stores. Soon there was nothing left but low-paying, no-benefit service jobs, forcing many to supplement their meager earnings with government assistance just to get by. It was like we were trapped in quicksand, and every time we tried to pull ourselves out, we sank further and further into the darkness.

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  Congress Blog Congress Blog feed

By Richard Fiesta

Prescription drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world and last year they increased by 13 percent. If Congress enacts the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal in its current form, it could increase those expenses for seniors and all Americans dramatically.

TPP is being negotiated among 12 countries and would unite 40 percent of the world’s economy. Most of what is in the TPP is secret, but some parts of it have leaked, and what has come out is downright scary for seniors, who despite being only 13 percent of the country’s population account for nearly 45 percent of drug spending.


The problem is something called investor-state dispute settlement, which apparently has a whole chapter in the TPP. Simply put this means that a foreign investor could drag a government into a special foreign tribunal if a regulation or law affects their profits. This threat is not the paranoid rantings of the black helicopter crowd. Large, multinational corporations have learned how to use their foreign subsidiaries to put individual governments at a disadvantage.
Here’s how it would work when it comes to prescription drugs. Right now, there are a lot of ways that governments negotiate a better deal for consumers than individuals could get alone, but a leaked version of the TPP requires that governments pay “competitive, market-driven prices” for drugs and medical devices. That sounds nice until you ask how it would affect the programs retirees use to get their medicine.

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  By Jim Hightower
  Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

 So, someone hands you a beer, but instead of it being a recognizable brand, it's in a totally blacked-out can with nothing but the letters "TPP" printed on it.

"You're really gonna like this," says the smiling stranger who handed it to you. But you naturally hesitate and ask: "Well, who made it? What's in it?' Now the guy's smile seems forced as he says: "Sorry, pal, but those are trade secrets. Trust me though – there's nothing bad in it. Just drink up... and enjoy the buzz that it's gonna give you."

Would you swallow that? Neither would I, but here comes Barack Obama, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner, and every corporate lobbyist in Washington insisting that We the People should quickly chug-a-lug their strange brew called TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership) – without knowing what's in it. "It's just a free trade agreement," they say, with lying eyes and forced smiles.

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  By Leo W. Gerard
USW International President

Free traders in Congress formally proposed last week that lawmakers relax, put their feet up and neglect the rigor of legislative review for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade scheme.

The TPP is a secret deal among 12 Pacific Rim nations that was covertly negotiated by unelected officials and corporate bosses. It’s so clandestine that lawmakers elected to represent the American people were refused access to the deliberations. It would expand secret trade tribunals that corporations use to sue governments over democratically established laws and win compensation from taxpayers.

The Congressional free traders want to Fast Track authorization of the TPP. Fast Track enables Congress to abdicate its constitutionally mandated duty to regulate international trade. Instead of scrutinizing, amending and improving proposed trade deals, lawmakers use Fast Track to gloss over the specifics and simply vote yea or nay on the entire package as presented. With elected officials excluded from the talks, details of the treaty deliberately shrouded in secrecy and free traders demanding lawmakers ignore the deal’s effects on constituents, this process condemns democracy.

As usual, the free traders say, don’t worry, the TPP is gonna be great, just great! Trust us, they say.

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  By Dean Baker Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research

President Obama must be having trouble getting the votes for fast-track authority since the administration is now pulling out all the stops to push the deal. This has included a press call where he apparently got testy over the charge by critics that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secret trade deal.

Obama insisted the deal is not secret, but googling "TPP" will not get you a copy of the text. Apparently President Obama is using a different definition of "secret" than the ordinary English usage.

But that wasn't the only fun in the last week. The administration got 13 former Democratic governors to sign a letter boasting about the jobs generated by the growth of exports. The letter noted that exports had added "$760 billion to our economy between 2009 and 2014 -- one-third of our total growth." It neglected to mention that imports had grown even faster, diverting $890 billion in demand away from the domestic economy to foreign economies.

Contrary to what the governors were claiming in their letter, trade was a net negative to the tune of more than $130 billion over this five-year period. Instead of adding jobs, the growing trade deficit was drag on growth, slowing job creation and putting downward pressure on wages. The growth in the trade deficit over this period has the same impact on the economy as if people pulled $130 billion out of their paychecks each year and stuffed it under their mattress.

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  By Ministry Of Truth Daily Kos

I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn't call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn't call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.

You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don't know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.

Now, I know you profess to love our country and the founding fathers (unless you are reminded that they believed in the separation of church and state), but I need to remind you that America is NOT what Fox News says it is. America is a melting pot, it always has been. We are a multi-cultural amalgamation of all kinds of people, and yet you still demonize everyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual christian male or his submissive and obedient wife.

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  By Susie Madrak
I was on a call with Sen. Bernie Sanders the other night, and he said it was very important that you email or call your congressmembers and senators this week, no matter where you think they stand on TPP. He said if we can kill it this time, it will stay dead for a long time because no one wants it to be an issue in the presidential campaign.

So call or email your electeds TODAY:

Last week, a bill to give the president Fast Track authority — designed to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership with little public debate — will be introduced in the Senate.The TPP is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.

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THE RESULTS OF THE USW 6860 2015 ELECTION...

 

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 BRIAN AROLA KELLY GRINSTEINNER HIBBING DAILY TRIBUNE

KEEWATIN — Lt. Gov. Tina Smith provided answers and offered help Wednesday to union members facing layoffs at Keewatin Taconite and Minntac.

The meetings were prompted by U.S. Steel’s announcement in March that it would be laying off 400 miners at Keetac and 700 at Minntac in the coming months.

Smith said the two meetings with Keetac’s United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2660 and Minntac’s USW Local 1938 gave her a sense of the disappointment the miners feel.

“You really come away from these meetings with a sense of frustration and fatigue and a ‘here we go again’ feeling from people who have been through these cycles before,” she said.

The meetings were productive in the sense that union members were reassured that help will be available throughout the layoffs, she said.

“We’re going to keep on working really closely with the locals and their members to make sure all of that can be resolved with as little pain as possible,” she said after the meeting with the Keetac union at Keewatin City Hall.

Dan Pierce, president of USW Local 2660, said the information Smith shared was helpful.

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 MESABI DAILY NEWS

BILL HANNA EXECUTIVE EDITOR

MOUNTAIN IRON — An imperfect and nasty storm of a glutted global iron ore and steel market, low prices and illegally subsidized imports continues to pound the Iron Range, this time claiming 700 Minntac workers.
The layoffs will be effective June 1, the company announced on Tuesday. Minntac currently has roughly 1,400 hourly workers and about another 500 salaried workers.

John Rebrovich, assistant to the director at USW District 11, said the plant could be partially idled for four months.
The Minntac layoffs follow U.S. Steel’s Keetac taconite facility in Keewatin being shut down in May, with a loss of 412 jobs, and one of Magnetation’s four plants being closed, affecting 41 workers.

Total Range direct job impact: 1,153.

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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Announces Successful Completion of Refinancing Transactions

Lourenco Goncalves , Cliffs' Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We believe that our new financing structure just put in place through the completion of the Refinancing Transactions will give us all the liquidity and financial flexibility we need to successfully complete the strategy we have executed in a disciplined manner since August 7, 2014, and which differentiates Cliffs from any other iron ore producer in the world. As the largest supplier of pellets in the U.S. and no longer a major participant in the volatile seaborne market, we are very pleased with the backing received from the investment community." Mr. Goncalves added: "The success of our refinancing makes clear that the investors understand and support our overall strategy, and that Cliffs is better positioned than all other iron ore producers in the world whose fundamentals are fully dependent on supplying sinter feed to China."

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  Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Laura Clawson

Who knew—it turns out there's a cost for legalizing discrimination, as Indiana is finding out. One of the latest to cancel an upcoming event in Indiana because of the state's new license-to-discriminate law is the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which announced Monday that it is pulling its 2015 women's conference out of Indianapolis. Lee Saunders, the union's president, said in a statement that "This un-American law allowing businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers sets Indiana and our nation back decades in the struggle for civil rights. It is an embarrassment and cannot be tolerated," continuing:

Throughout our proud history, our union has stood up whenever injustice has occurred – be it for striking sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968, or for the victims of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. Governor Pence’s law, motivated by ultra-right wing zealots, is an affront to the vast majority of those in our nation who believe that every American deserves equal treatment under the law, no matter whom they love or where they worship.

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 Daily Kos

by akadjian

Promoted from diaries by Susan Gardner.

 

Reince Priebus (and apparently many others) still thinks there's a liberal media.

While I share Reince's frustration with the media, as a liberal, I'd like to go on record and state that the media isn't focusing on issues I care about. They seem to be far more focused on entertainment and making money.

Don't believe me?


If you know anyone who still believes in a "liberal media," here's 15 things everyone would know if there really were a "liberal media" (inspired by Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post):

1. Where the jobs went.

Outsourcing (or offshoring) is a bigger contributor to unemployment in the U.S. than laziness.

Since 2000, U.S. multinationals have cut 2.9 million jobs here while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg as multinational corporations account for only about 20% of the labor force.

When was the last time you saw a front-page headline about outsourcing?

Source: Wall Street Journal via Think Progress.

2. Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.

In 2010, 20% of the people held approximately 88% of the net worth in the U.S. The top 1% alone held 35% of all net worth.

The bottom 80% of people held only 12% of net worth in 2010. In 1983, the bottom 80% held 18% of net worth.

These statistics are not Democrat or Republican. They are widely available to reporters. Why aren't they discussed in the "liberal" media?

Source: Occupy Posters

3. ALEC

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  United Steelworkers Local 6860 Women of Steel at United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes recently held a gate collection for the The Salvation Army in Hibbing. They presented a check totaling $2030.15. Pictured from left to right Lieutenant Randy Stahl, Amy Hutkowski.

 

 

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 United Steelworkers Local 6860 Women of Steel at United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes recently held a gate collection for the Quad City Food Shelf in Gilbert. They presented a check totaling $2030.15. Pictured from left to right Lavern Hoglund, LaVonne Dertinger, Peggy Harju, Lila Klaras, Tara Parks.

 

 

 PRESIDENT’S REPORT March/April 2015
by Brian Zarn

Once again, contract season has arrived. I’ve already heard rumors about how negotiations are going to go - what the Company is looking to get, where the Union is looking to push for gains, etc…..My advice is to take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Keep in mind our contract expires October 1st – a month behind US Steel (Minntac, Keetac) and Arcelor (Inland).

There are many issues that factor into how contract negotiations end up – the most important being the state of the economy. As of today, I expect a fair contract and negotiations to go smoothly.

A lot can happen in 6 months, so don’t burden yourself or your family with worrying about things you can’t control. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best and don’t get caught up in the rumor mill.

The Contract Committee will be attending 2 conferences in May. The Basic Steel Conference will be held in Pittsburgh May 6th and 7th and the Iron Ore Conference will be in Duluth the following week.

I will be posting a meeting notice in April for those of you who are interested in joining the Strike Committee. If you haven’t already done so, contact me (744-4480) if you’re interested in helping out.

  THANK YOU!!!!
$4060.30

March came in like a lion,
And the Rangers that we are we love the cold especially on the days we decide to collect for the food shelf. So far this month those two days were the coldest from 5am to 7am. Wednesday we were told at the plant it was -26 at 6 am. Thursday I looked on my phone and it was -28. Those two degrees felt so much colder. It was all for a great cause and we received a great turnout.

One individual surprised us with a rather large donation of $1000. This put us well ahead of the previous two years. And we are greatly appreciative. It makes standing out in the cold for those two short hours worth every second.

Our total for the two days is $2438.30. Last summer L.U. 6860 had a raffle that raised $1622.22 adding this to the drive we have a total of $4060.30.

We would like to thank our employees at the plant and the pit, hourly and salaried as well as a few of the contractors that came in. We apologize to those that were told we would be there Thursday morning till 7 but the bitter cold won that day. Thank you all again and to the donor who gave the large amount (you know who you are) extra special thanks you're very kind and generous. Now let's hope March goes out like a lamb.


Yours truly,
The Women of Steel Committee

  Our Local 6860 Women of Steel with the help of our President took part in a gate drive collection for the local food shelf.

The gate drive took place at the Mine and Plant on March 5th & 6th. Anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to donate can still do so by calling your local Food Shelf or Salvation Army. For all of you that did donate, thank you very much for your kind donations.

All the donations collected will be doubled by the Minneapolis Food Shelf Matching Program. And all of that doubled amount will go straight to Local Food Shelves and The Salvation Army. This is a great program and helps a lot of people right here in our communities. With the matching program, The Women of Steel raised over $8000. Great job.

Our Local has been conducting these gate drives and taking part in the matching program for several years. Thanks to Amy who organizes this and to all those who participated.

  GOP Senators Probably Broke Law With Iran Letter

US NEWS By Steven Nelson

 

Senators who reached out to Iran’s leaders to undermine President Barack Obama’s nuclear negotiations probably broke the law, and they're going to get away with it.

The law they probably broke, the Logan Act of 1799, allows for fines and up to three years in prison.

The act bans U.S. citizens from engaging “without authority of the United States” in “correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government ... with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government ... in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States.”

Read more >>>

 Daily Kos

by Max Udargo

Hello,
I briefly visited the “We are the 53%” website, but I first saw your face on a liberal blog. Your picture is quite popular on liberal blogs. I think it’s because of the expression on your face. I don’t know if you meant to look pugnacious or if we’re just projecting that on you, but I think that’s what gets our attention.

In the picture, you’re holding up a sheet of paper that says:

I am a former Marine.
I work two jobs.
I don’t have health insurance.
I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
I haven’t had 4 consecutive days off in over 4 years.
But I don’t blame Wall Street.
Suck it up you whiners.
I am the 53%.
God bless the USA!

I wanted to respond to you as a liberal. Because, although I think you’ve made yourself clear and I think I understand you, you don’t seem to understand me at all. I hope you will read this and understand me better, and maybe understand the Occupy Wall Street movement better.

First, let me say that I think it’s great that you have such a strong work ethic and I agree with you that you have much to be proud of. You seem like a good, hard-working, strong kid. I admire your dedication and determination. I worked my way through college too, mostly working graveyard shifts at hotels as a “night auditor.” For a time I worked at two hotels at once, but I don’t think I ever worked 60 hours in a week, and certainly not 70. I think I maxed out at 56. And that wasn’t something I could sustain for long, not while going to school. The problem was that I never got much sleep, and sleep deprivation would take its toll. I can’t imagine putting in 70 hours in a week while going to college at the same time. That’s impressive.

 

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PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO FOLLOW THE LINK AND SHOW YOUR STRIKE SUPPORT!

 

The business journal in Houston is conducting a poll on strike support. We are losing at the moment. Here’s a link to vote. Please pass this along to others in your distribution lists and encourage them to vote as well. The poll will not let you vote more than once from the same IP address. However, if you have access to the Internet from more than one device, you can vote from each one of them.


http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/pulse/poll/do-you-support-the-striking-steelworkers/16675701

 

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  Cliffs Natural Resources has finally released their 2014 4th quarter audited results. The payout for your Profit Sharing will be $9.60 multiplied by about the number of hours you worked during that quarter.

Cliffs released these numbers on Feb. 26th, 2015. So, according to APPENDIX I, Section 2, Page 124 of your Basic Labor Agreement, the payout for 4th quarter 2014 is to be distributed within 15 days following the date of public release. This would make the payout due by the 13th of March, 2015.

Read more >>>

  By Dianna Wray Tue., Mar. 3 2015 at 12:00 PM

Katherine Rodriguez has been following the USW strike, .
Since the start of the United Steelworkers strike at the oil refineries, Katherine Rodriguez has been watching the developments, and thinking of her father, Ray Gonzalez. "He would have loved this. He would have been out there on the picket line with them if he was still here," she says.

USW union members have been on strike since February 1. USW reps have rejected at least seven contract offers from Shell, and pulled more than 6,500 workers at 15 plants -- with about 5,000 coming from 12 oil refineries -- since the strike started. Locally, the strike started by pulling union workers out of LyondellBasell, Shell Deer Park, and the Texas City refinery where Rodriguez's father was fatally injured more than a decade ago. While the two sides are reportedly butting heads over a variety of things -- including contractors and rules that make sure fatigued workers aren't stuck on the job -- it's the safety issues that hit closest to home for Rodriguez.

Read more >>>

 By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN
Published: Mar 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm EST

A settlement between the United Steelworkers (USW) union and Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) has not been reached as of yet. Shell is the lead negotiator representing major companies such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX).

The USW has rejected seven proposals from Shell till now, with the latest rejection coming in on February 20. The strike has now spread across 12 refineries, with the latest strike initiating at three refineries operated by Motiva Enterprises.

Read more >>>

 Elizabeth Weise and Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

 SAN FRANCISCO — Negotiators reached a tentative contract covering West Coast dockworkers on Friday evening, likely ending a protracted labor dispute that snarled international trade at seaports handling about $1 trillion worth of cargo annually.

The breakthrough came after nine months of negotiations that turned contentious in the fall, when dockworkers and their employers began blaming each other for problems getting imports to consumers and exports overseas.

Read more >>>

  HOUSTON (Reuters) - The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years could spread if talks over improved safety conditions do not resume soon, United Steelworkers union (USW) International President Leo Gerard said on Tuesday.

A total of 6,550 USW members are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of U.S. capacity. Union members work at more than 200 oil terminals, pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the U.S.

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  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile now must act in the "public interest" when providing a mobile connection to your home or phone, under rules approved Thursday by a divided Federal Communications Commission.

The plan, which puts the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone and bans business practices that are "unjust or unreasonable," represents the biggest regulatory shakeup to the industry in almost two decades. The goal is to prevent providers from slowing or blocking web traffic, or creating paid fast lanes on the Internet, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Read more >>>

By News Tribune on Feb 23, 2015

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has scheduled a public meeting for March 11 on proposed changes to United Taconite's operating permit that would require the company to upgrade pollution control equipment at its Forbes processing center.

The meeting will be held at the Clinton Community Center, 8907 Minnesota Highway 37 in Iron Junction. An open house is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. with a presentation on the draft permit and time for questions and comments.

 

Read more >>>

From Cliffs

There is some confusion over the timing of the fourth quarter profit sharing payment that I wanted to make you aware of.


You may recall that Cliffs did an earnings call and early release of its 2014 financial results on February 2. That release was an unaudited projection of our final results. We are still working on finalizing the audited numbers and anticipate releasing/filing them sometime next week. This is a little different than we’ve done it in the past when we’ve typically done an earnings call at the same time we released the audited results.

 

Read more >>>

Cliffs' CEO Speaks in Virginia
Updated: 02/16/2015 4:36 PM
Created: 02/16/2015 4:09 PM WDIO.com
It was a full room on Monday morning, at the Coates Plaza Hotel. Over 100 business and community leaders attended the annual Cliffs Natural Resources community breakfast.
It was the first time for many, to meet and hear from the new CEO, Lourenco Goncalves
He drew a few laughs during his remarks, including a little joke about the company renaming. "Had the name changed from Cleveland Cliffs to Minnesota Cliffs, that would have been right," he said.
Goncalves has said since Day 1 of leadership six months ago that iron ore mining in Minnesota and Michigan is their core business. "That's what we do well, supply the domestic steel industry."
He said they continue to focus there, and plan on selling other assets that are not related to those mines.
To stay strong in the steel industry, the company is very seriously considering making DRI grade pellets, which have a higher iron content.
  Read more >>>

U.S. REP. RICK NOLAN
WASHINGTON
In order to support the notion that
Congress should ram through the
upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) trade agreement under a ‘fast
track’ that provides for no amendments
and little if any debate, one
would need to snub the Constitution,
ignore history and believe that secrecy
has somehow become a friend to good
public policy.
  Read more >>>

Profit Sharing
CNR released year end and fourth quarter 2014 Profit results on Feb. 2nd 2015 so according to APPENDIX I, Section 2, Page 124 of your Basic Labor Agreement, The payout for 4th quarter 2014 is to be distributed within 15 days following the date of public release. This would make the payout due by the 17th of Feb, 2015. The hourly breakdown will be posted as soon as it is received from Cliffs.

*The Profit Sharing program was negotiated for by your Local Union*
 

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Demanding Respect for Worker Safety

Posted: February 10, 2015

Leo W. Gerard
USW International President

In Anacortes, Wash., last week, approximately 200 Tesoro workers began picketing the oil refinery where an explosion incinerated seven of their co-workers five years earlier.

Butch Cleve walks that picket line, serving now as strike captain for the USW local union at Tesoro. On the day of the catastrophe in 2010, Cleve walked the coroner to the shrouded bodies of three of his friends.

 

Read more >>>

Cliffs Natural Resources: Outcome of Bloom Lake Restructuring ‘Unclear’


Yesterday, Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) announced that it had filed to “restructure” its Canadian Bloom Lake operations. In a note released yesterday, RBC’s Fraser Phillips and team say the outcome of the filing “remains unclear”:

 

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U.S. miner Cliffs seeks creditor protection in Canada


Jan 27 (Reuters) - Iron ore and coal miner Cliffs Natural Resources has become the third major U.S. company in the past six months to seek creditor protection for its Canadian arm to try to isolate losses and protect shareholders.

 

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Cliffs Natural Resources: Bloom Lake Bankruptcy on the Horizon, JPMorgan Says
By Ben Levisohn
JPMorgan’s Michael Gambardella and Tyler Langton expect Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) to put Bloom Lake into bankruptcy by the end of January–and that’s not necessarily bad news. They explain why:
  Read more >>>

Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) Stock Soaring Today on Improved Iron Ore Outlook

 

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources  (CLF) are soaring, higher by 4.93% to $7.24 in mid-morning trading on Tuesday, after analysts at Morgan Stanley in London believe that in terms of iron ore price downside "the worst is probably over," according to Bloomberg.

 

 

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Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) Stock Soaring Today on Improved Iron Ore Outlook

 2014 has been a solid year for the stock market overall, with major market benchmarks sitting at record levels. But Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF  ) has found itself among the absolute worst performers in the market, with its stock down 75% on the year. The producer of iron ore and metallurgical coal is suffering from one of the poorest environments in the natural-resources industry in decades, and recent moves have made even longtime shareholders question whether Cliffs can survive the shakeout in the industry. Yet there are a couple reasons to believe that Cliffs might have successfully positioned itself for a rebound in 2015. Let's take a closer look at what happened to Cliffs in 2014 and how the future could turn brighter for the company in the coming

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You Can Use Company E-mail to Organize a Union but Not to Organize a Bake Sale
By Josh Eidelson

The First Amendment doesn’t stop companies from cracking down on their employees’ speech. So your boss can ban you from using work e-mail to share funny cat gifs, or organize a bake sale, or mourn the passing of your favorite celebrity. But now your boss can’t ban you from using work e-mail to organize a union.

 

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It's Going To Get A Little Easier For Workers To Unionize

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials unveiled new rules on Friday that will streamline and simplify the union election process, a reform long sought by labor unions and fiercely opposed by businesses.

 

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Labor board OKs personal use of company e-mail


WASHINGTON (AP) — In a victory for unions, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Thursday that employees can use their company email accounts for union organizing and other workplace-related purposes, if they do it on their own time.

 

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In 1975, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling known as the "Weingarten decision". It is one of the most powerful protections available to union members and if you are a union member you really need to be aware of the protections afforded by this monumental decision.
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AFTER THE "SO HELP ME GOD"'S....
Once the newly-elected politicians are sworn-in, our real work begins. Some have already turned to their major funders with profuse thanks. Watch closely. When those funders start calling in their favors the best interests of working families had best be at the heart of every politicians’ EVERY action. When campaign promises don't match actions in office it is our obligation to call them on it and be heard.
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 YOU MAKE THE CALL?
Pick up your phone and do it now. Dial 1-877-879-8951, select option 1, provide your name & zip code, simply state “I stand in opposition to Fast Track Legislation”.
Done.
Read more >>>

Let’s Get to Work and STOP Fast Track Join allies from organizations across the country for a week of action!
More bad trade deals may again be in our future unless we continue to keep Fast Track off the agenda. Congress returns to Washington for a lame duck session this month. We need calls next week to keep up the pressure and stop Fast Track!
Read more >>>

Iron Ore Alliance addresses rail delays during Governor’s roundtable


DULUTH – The Iron Ore Alliance emphasized the importance of fixing the current state of rail service at Governor Mark Dayton’s rail delay roundtable in Duluth Tuesday. Larry Sutherland, general manager for Minnesota Ore Operations at U. S. Steel, presented during the roundtable. U. S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations are being adversely affected by delayed and inconsistent rail service and congestion. With its Minntac and Keetac facilities located in northeastern Minnesota, U. S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations is the state’s largest iron ore pellet producer.

 

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A new investor is shaking up Cliffs Natural Resources, the operator of several major ore mines in Minnesota.

Cliffs Natural Resources, under new management out to cut costs, will close the office in Duluth that helps oversee its northern Minnesota iron mines.

Read more >>>

 

The Officers and Members of USW Local 6860 would like to thank all that have served past, present and future.

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CLEVELAND, Sept. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) today announced that it has appointed John T. Baldwin to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Lourenco Goncalves , Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cliffs stated, "John is a highly experienced and respected executive who represents an outstanding addition to our Board of Directors. He brings decades of operational experience, deep strategic capabilities, and overall financial acumen, adding a unique and important perspective to our Board."
 

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GONCALVES APPOINTED CEO
Lourenco Goncalves has been appointed to the positions of Chairman, President and CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources by our Board of Directors, effective immediately.
Mr. Goncalves brings more than 30 years of experience in the metals and mining industries, as well as extensive Board experience in the United States and abroad.
He will be working to refocus Cliffs on a strategic path that builds on our strength in iron ore, emphasizing improving performance and restoring shareholder value.
.
  Read more >>>

Overview: Cliffs Natural Resources

Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) is primarily an iron ore producer, with a small percentage derived from sales of metallurgical coal—both key raw materials for producing steel. It accounts for close to 46% of North America’s iron ore pellets supply. The pellets are produced by agglomeration and thermal treatment, with grades ranging from 67%-72% iron (or Fe). It has operations in the U.S., Eastern Canada, and Australia. Iron ore accounts for bulk of the Cliffs’ production and earnings. In 2Q14, iron ore contributed to 84% of total sales value, the rest being coal sales. Out of iron ore sub-divisions, U.S. iron ore production remains the key driver of the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (or EBITDA).

Read more >>>

Drop the
pension issue;
Steelworkers are
for Melin
In response to Open Forum submission
“It’s time for some justice”
by Gerald Gangl of Nashwauk published
July 23.
Read more >>>

In October of 2011, Jeromy Coots helped transport the lifeless body of his older brother out of the coal mine where they'd worked together in eastern Kentucky. Richard Coots, just 23 years old, had been crushed to death by a piece of mining machinery below ground.

Now, not even three years later, the younger Coots has been fired from his job at a different mine for flagging the sort of dangers that claimed his brother, according to Labor Department filings. He was let go in May after he complained in a company meeting that safety standards weren't being met inside the mine. He's 22 years old, with a wife and three kids.

 

Dave Jamieson
dave.jamieson@huffingtonpost.com

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Members of the United Steelworkers of America went on strike against the major U.S. steel producers on July 15, 1959, the start of record 116-day steel industry strike. The key issue in the strike was contract language on new technology and job security. Read more >>>

Asian Steel Industry Eats America’s Lunch

In the depth of the recession, some foreign countries made a simple calculation. They’d subsidize their steel industries even though that violates international trade rules. It paid off by keeping their citizens employed, paid and fed.

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Leo W Gerard

USW International President

Americans devoted Friday to celebrating independence. Flags and fireworks, picnics and pledges of allegiance abounded.

But there’s no liberty and justice for all if Americans aren’t economically independent. Low wages, debts and dim prospects all subjugate. This is the condition of a shocking number of Americans as income inequality rises. And their economic desperation and subordination occurred by design.
 

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USW Welcomes Commerce Department Decision on South Korean Oil Country Tubular Goods.

 CONTACTS: Gary Hubbard at (202) 256-8125, ghubbard@usw.org OR Wayne Ranick at (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Commerce made its decision to impose dumping margins against South Korean oil country tubular goods (OCTG) dumped into the United States:
 

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Unfair and illegal trade costs jobs and needs to stop. Case in point: The jobs at stake in our current steel pipe case. Read more >>>

 

The Officers and Members of USW 6860 would like to wish everyone a Safe and Happy Memorial Day, and a Special Thanks to those who Served and Paid the Ultimate Price to make it possible.

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This Thursday, April 24th at 2:00 p.m. Congressman Nolan will be holding a press conference to announce legislation that will protect American Steel and directly support American Iron Ore. We would like a big turnout from the local in support of this legislation so anyone interested is welcome to attend. The Press Conference will be held at the Eveleth USW District office, 415 Jones Street Eveleth, MN. Read more >>>

LOCAL 6860 3rd ANNUAL SOLIDARITY PICNIC

SUNDAY JULY 20, 2014

12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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United Steelworkers Local (USW) 6860’s Women Of Steel (WOS) organized a gate collection on March 19th and 20th at the Thunderbird Mine in Eveleth, MN along with the Fairlane Plant located in Forbes, MN. Read more >>>

Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe strugglejob. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.

 

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April 2, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,


In response to a recent rash of complaints about improper job assignments and being improperly passed up for
overtime, the Grievance Committee has developed Grievance Information Forms. If you feel you have been
assigned to the wrong job or if you feel you’ve been improperly denied the opportunity to work overtime,
contact a Grievance Committeeman and fill out a Grievance Information Form completely. Every bit of
information asked for on the new forms is necessary in order to file a winnable grievance. Don’t continue
to let these supervisors break the contract. They can live with your complaints, but paying grievance settle-
ments can sometimes alter their behavior.
 

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Why does the Company allow MSHA to inspect our plant and mine?


Due to a couple of high-profile issues, guarding and dust control, MSHA has become more of a topic of discussion around the plant lately, with most of the discussion being critical of MSHA. For example, I hear a lot of criticism about how MSHA may be going too far with their guarding requirements. There is not enough space in this newsletter to fully discuss the evolution of the guarding issue over the past few years – same with the dust issue. The fact that these 2 particular issues have been unresolved for several years should tell us something.
 

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It’s been one month since we converged upon D.C. for the 2014 Rapid Response and Legislative Conference. Read more >>>

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - One of the major issues for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota is how to protect taxpayers from having to clean up a potential environmental mess. Read more >>>

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. on Tuesday announced it will close its Wabush Scully Mine operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, because the mine’s operating costs are too high. By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune Read more >>>

We find ourselves answering the same questions about the Profit Sharing distribution at the end of each quarter; here is a brief rundown of the high points in an attempt to answer some of these questions. Read more >>>

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. to Announce 2013 Fourth-Quarter Financial Results Feb. 13; Conference Call Feb. 14. This means that the Payout will be between Feb. 13th and Feb. 28th. for 4th. quarter 2013 and any catch up payouts due for 2013. Read more >>>

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Read more >>>

United Steelworkers Local 6860 From the Ground October/November 2013 Read more >>>

For those of you waiting with baited breath; The AWS - 12 hr. shift at the T-Bird Mine failed to produce enough votes to be implemented at this time.

Big Brother at United Taconite oversees dispatch By Jean Cole HTF Editor EVELETH – At the United Taconite (UTAC) plant in Eveleth, Matt Caple, Dispatch Engineer, and Terry Pogorels, Dispatch Coordinator, oversee a Big Brotherlike GPS dispatch system that maintains constant surveillance of every piece of production equipment on the mine site. Read more >>>

USW Local #6860 President Brian Congratulates ATV Winner Lou Janezich. Read more >>>

The Members and Officers of USW Local 6860 Would like to extend Congratulations to the Winners of this years benefit raffle. AND THE WINNERS ARE; Read more >>>

THE FIGHTING SPIRIT by USW http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5CtBOSKscU Read more >>>

As Labor Day 2013 approaches, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today announced the launch of a new mobile app, available free of charge for iPhone and Android users. The app provides employers, employees and unions with information regarding their rights and obligations under the National Labor Relations Act. Read more >>>

As Workers Strike for Higher Wages, Public Shows Support for Unions. As retail and fast-food workers strike across 60 cities as a means to get their employers to raise wages as high as $15 an hour, most Americans support the labor union system, a fact that will not help the protesters at all. Read more >>>

There are Pictures from the USW Local #6860 Picnic 2013 in the Photo Album section of this site. There will be more to come.

USW LOCAL #6860 AUGUST SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER Read more >>>

JUNE/JULY 2013. Read more >>>

United Taconite Mobile Phone Procedure. Due to a recent incident here is a review of the United Taconite Cell Phone Policy. Read more >>>

The following are the three proposed 12hr schedules. Read more >>>

Express Scripts and Medco
are now one company.

 

Read more >>>

Any USW Local #6860 who has any questions related to Safety can contact Loretta Sanders at; lorettasanders72@yahoo.com (218) 780-5250 Read more >>>

ISSUE #3 USW #6860 NEWSLETTER Read more >>>

Volunteers from the Nashville Building Trades are at TN's Montgomery Bell State Park today building new bridges to improve public access and laying the foundation for USA's Adopt-A-Park program to be officially launched this fall. Read more >>>

A century ago, workers were a lot more "flexible" than they are now. Veritable Gumbies in the mills and mines and factories they were, distorting their lives to slog 10 or 12 hours a day, six -- even seven -- days a week. Read more >>>

GOP seeks alternative to overtime pay Overtime pay vs. time off: GOP wants a choice, but Democrats say plan would hurt workers.It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay. Read more >>>

On April 12th I had a conversation with one of our HR people. He told me that “some of your (union) members who came forward are scared to death the Union is going to do something to them.” Read more >>>

Members of Local #6860 will have the option for Insurance coverage at no cost to the employee. Read more >>>

Public Meeting Held April 12, 2013

(April 12, 2013) — The University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the Minnesota Taconite Workers Lung Health Partnership held a public meeting to give an update and discuss findings of the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study.


Read more >>>

An insurance benefit available to members and their dependents that many of you may not be aware of is access to Centers of Excellence. A Centers of Excellence is a healthcare institution that has professional recognition through specialized expertise (e.g.: Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital). Read more >>>

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - An executive with the company that operates the Empire Mine in the central Upper Peninsula says its operations will decrease in coming months and cease altogether in late 2014 or early 2015. Read more >>>

A growing number of US companies are now urging their employees to slim down, exercise more, reduce their cholesterol and blood pressure levels, or quit smoking—all socially desirable goals. But if these workers fail to cooperate with the new corporate “wellness” regime and adopt a healthier lifestyle (under the tutelage of their employer), the penalty, for many, will be higher out-of-pocket payments. Read more >>>

 LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. — The AFL-CIO is in survival mode.

Over the next six months, the group will engage in an unprecedented self-evaluation that will result in a new strategic plan that leaders say could open the door to nonunion workers and alliances with old rivals.


 

Read more >>>

Let’s be honest. Sometimes, outside of election campaign seasons, even progressives wonder what’s so great about unions. Sure, we had a role to play before job safety laws, the eight-hour day, Social Security and civil rights laws were passed. But today? Read more >>>

Nashville, TN— More than 250 union partners, sponsors and friends will help celebrate the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) fifth anniversary on Tuesday, February 12 at the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Read more >>>

United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard issued the statement below in recognition of 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): “The FMLA was the first legislation that President Bill Clinton signed into law on Feb. 5, 1993, barely two weeks after taking the oath of office. Read more >>>

Leaked Documents Indicate Anti-Union push by Right Wing-Freedom works.

According to leaked documents, FreedomWorks, the unofficial fundraising arm of the Tea Party, is allocating a hefty portion of its ‘war chest’ to push anti-union initiatives in 2013. Pledging to “push back against domineering unions,” FreedomWorks has announced a new “Save the States” campaign that pushes a 5-point agenda, 4 of which are anti-union in nature.
 

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Unions suffer steep decline in membership Read more >>>

Salvation Army; Thank you Read more >>>

Local # 6860 Donates To Salvation Army Read more >>>

LOCAL #6860 DONATES TO FOOD SHELF Read more >>>

It has come to my attention that a "Financial Engines" advisory service has obtained members' personal account information.
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Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees Read more >>>

The United Steelworkers stand up and fight back for workers around the world ... Read more >>>

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