PITTSBURGH – There is a war on U.S. workers and Armco-Kawasaki (AK) steelworkers, members of United Steelworkers of America (USWA) Local 169, are on the front lines. NAFTA, globalization and Fast Track have meant unemployment for hundreds of thousands of workers; the gambling and conning, Enron- and LTV-style, have equaled no health care and sliced pensions for millions; the gutting of OSHA/MSHA has equaled death, injury and disease.

Workers and their families will come to Mansfield, Ohio, from the industrial heartland on May 4 to march with 600 steelworker families locked out by AKSteel Corporation for 32 months. Not one union member has crossed the line around AK’s mill.

On the stage and in the street, Congressmen, state officials and union leaders, including Linda Chavez-Thompson from the national AFL-CIO and William Burga from the Ohio Federation, will lock arms with AK workers.

Gerard condemned the unprecedented case as the “actions of a schoolyard bully, unused to being challenged by anyone who dares speak out against its heavy-handed approach to labor relations.”

AK has spent more on a nasty media campaign than a contract would cost, according to union officials. The company has been running TV ads, radio ads, taking out full-page ads in newspapers, including The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and renting billboard space throughout steel centers.

Local 169 Vice President Randy Reeder said the last meeting with the company was April 26 and AK has twice refused offers of binding arbitration. Local 169’s morale is good, Reeder continued, “slavery is not an option.”

Instead of negotiating with the union, AK has imported scabs, barely remaining within the boundaries of labor law.

Meanwhile, Local 169 members and their families have been busy. The USWA “Road Crew” is delivering the call to thousands of potential AK customers to reconsider using scab steel.

AK steelworkers make steel for automotive manufacturers. The Road Crew “participated” in the Detroit Auto Show and other industry shows throughout the winter. They traveled to Canada, meeting with workers at Tennaco Walker in Cambridge, Ontario, and Arvin Meritor in Toronto. Workers at both auto parts plants donned buttons supporting AK steelworkers.

The lock-out committee has forced Mansfield to take the first steps in reconsidering tax abatements granted to AK years ago. They have mobilized their allies in the environmental movement, Ohio Citizen Action, and filed charges against AK for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The penalties could cost AK up to $100 million.

To support Local 169, go to www.richnet.net/~stlwl169/frames

Call AK CEO Dick Wardrop to demand negotiations:

800-331-5050 Call the following corporations to urge them to stop using scab steel:

GM: 810-947-6307; Ford: 800-392-3673; DaimlerChrysler: 800-992-1997

Wally Kaufman can be reached at wallyk@ncweb.com; Denise Winebrenner Edwards can be reached at dwinebr696@aol.com