Paper Workers Unite at Advanced Training

May 10, 2013

The USW held its annual Advanced Paper Bargaining training at its training center in Pennsylvania this week. It included 110 papermakers from across the United States, as well as two from paper sites in the United Kingdom and Unite National Officer Paul Finegan.

Unite and USW have several common employers in the paper industry, and also have some members with employers controlled by some of the same capital funds.

This high level training is designed to provide fresh skills, tactics and strategies to the front-line fighters in the labor movement who work hard to improve the livelihoods of workers and their families, and is focused on:

•    How economic and political policy affects bargaining
•    Legal training for bargainers
•    Tactics and strategies
•    Building power
•    Mid-term bargaining
•    Analysis of Industry

Finegan, among a group of distinguished presenters, led a provocative discussion comparing labor relations systems in the UK and US. He underscored how the anti-worker political agenda is active across the globe, emphasizing the importance of workers standing together. Brother Finegan also demolished the myths about the National Health Service that have been the fodder of political campaigns in the United States.

“We were stunned to learn just how expensive and inaccessible the American healthcare system for workers and their families is,” added Paul Riley from Unite in Scotland.

Tommy Murphy from Unite said, “Despite the obvious differences in the laws in the UK and US, this type of training prepares workers from all countries to have more success. It also shows how much we have in common, and that bad tactics and bad employers have no borders.”

USW Local 1096 President Ted Egge of Green Bay, Wisconsin stated, “The training definitely will make us more effective, and the participation of our brothers from Unite makes a powerful statement about the importance of global solidarity.”  

Jon Geenen, USW International Vice President who oversees the USW paper sector, remarked “The tactics and strategies that we have explored and shared this week are the logical response to the movement of global capital and apply internationally, and will make our sector stronger in the US and in the UK.”

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