New Bedford Steelworkers Fighting for a Fair Deal [OPINION]
The struggle for unionized workers to organize and to have their basic needs met has become increasingly difficult in America. To see the plights of unionized workers across the country, you need not look further than the SouthCoast.
Recently I was joined on-air by the Paraprofessionals Union of the NBPS, and a union representative from St. Lukes's hospital nurses to discuss how substandard wages and working conditions are keeping them from meaningfully doing their jobs and maintaining a good standard of living.
And in the South End, there's another union on strike that has both local and national implications. The steelworkers of the USW 1357 in New Bedford are on strike against ATI Flatrolled Systems.
ATI, despite being a multi-billion dollar cooperation, has not only refused to increase the wages of their steelworkers for the past seven years, but are now trying to claw back their healthcare benefits, a particularly nauseating gesture given the inherent dangers of steelwork and the fact that we are still in the throes of a global pandemic, not to mention ATI's continued decimation of the workers' pension program and retirement benefits.
The USW 1357 represents 60 steelworkers locally but is part of a nationally organized effort to combat the corporate greed we are seeing too often across the country. Fights like this should make the PRO Act's (Protect the Right to Organize) passage a priority for the Biden Administration to ensure that the working class has a fighting chance against monied interest trying to steal their labor.
Recently, I was joined on air by John Camarao of the local USW 1357 to discuss the status of their collective bargaining with ATI and what people can do to help. You can listen to the full conversation here:
Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.