POSTINGS on United Steelworkers website  [flyer]

October 11, 2008

Steel Blitz for Barack has big kick off

ABOARD THE STEEL BLITZ FOR BARACK BUS -- Stop one on the Steel Blitz for Barack bus tour kicked off with great success today in Uniontown, West Mifflin and McKeesport as dozens of Steelworkers and others got pumped up by Steelers owner Dan Rooney and USW leaders.

Standing before a Pennsylvania AFL-CIO bus adorned with the faces of workers, Rooney said he decided to endorse Barack Obama for president after studying all the candidates in both political parties. Obama won his support after hearing him speak during the Democrat primaries about helping Middle Class families.

"That's the reason I endorsed Barack Obama - seeing the man and seeing what he stood for. He is a person of intellegence, of integrity, who wants to move this nation beyond its religious and racial divisions," Rooney said.

"Hope is such a big thing - hope for the future, hope for our children. Barack Obama can again offer that hope."

Rooney and retired Steelers defensive back Mike Logan joined USW International Secretary-Treasurer Jim English and International Vice President Fred Redmond on the first leg of the bus tour, which will stop in mill towns every week between now and Election Day. The final stop is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh at USW headquarters Nov. 1. (See a complete schedule here.)

While Rooney and Logan signed autographs and posed for photos, volunteers signed up union members to block walk and phone bank for Obama-Biden.

English reminded the crowds that there isn't much time left to help turn out the vote for the most important election of our time.

"We will have an opportunity to vote to replace the worst president this country has ever witnessed," English said to loud cheers from the West Mifflin crowd, where people were decked out in black-and-gold "Steel Blitz for Barack" jerseys and USW for Obama t-shirts. "You'll have a chance to vote for someone who, unlike any other candidate in recent memory, is not ashamed to use the word union when he talks to the public."

Redmond reminded the crowds of the crucial issues facing Americans - an economy in crisis, rising expenses, job losses and trouble with health insurance.

"We've got 24 days to change the direction of our country," Redmond said. "And there's no organization when it comes to mobilization, getting out the vote, knocking on doors and making phone calls better than organized labor. Millions of people are counting on us to take back our country."

Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicities and Vince Zapotosky joined the tour in Uniontown and spoke on behalf of the Obama-Biden campaign. Pennsylvania Rep. Marc Gergely spoke on behalf of the campaign in West Mifflin and McKeesport, where Mayor Jim Brewster joined a passionate crowd of USW local leaders and members.

Logan, who grew up in Pittsburgh in a Steelworker family, encouraged USW members to do what they can to help elect the Obama-Biden ticket. He said he got involved in the campaign after his 6-year-old son showed interest in Obama during a time when Logan's mother, who did not have health insurance, was ill. She recently died at the age of 51.

"My son said to me, 'Dad, can we get Barack Obama in office so we can have health insurance so my grandmother can be here?'" Logan recalled. "Please, on November 4th, let's help my son and your children achieve their dreams.

Let's get things done to have the United States of America the way we want it to be - the way it should be."

Stay tuned to for more coverage from the Steel Blitz for Barack tour, including real-time photo diaries, news updates and video footage. For the latest on Obama and other campaigns crucial to working families, visit the USW's interactive Election Central here. For a direct link to a photo slide show of today's event click here.

October 18, 2008

Steel Blitz for Barack: It's About the Green

Martins Ferry, Ohio _ It's not about black and white. It's not even about black and gold.

The only color that should matter in this election is green.

That was the message Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, USW International President Leo W. Gerard, Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Dan Rooney and retired Steeler Edmond Nelson sent loud and clear on the first stop of the "Steel Blitz for Barack" bus tour Saturday morning.

"Color does matter in this election," Gerard said to a cheering crowd. "And you know what color matters? Green. Because working people have had their futures robbed and it's time to get back on track with Barack Obama as president."

The USW Local 1238 union hall decorated with black and gold "Steel Blitz for Barack" signs was overflowing with USW members and others who heard that the qualifications and proposals from Obama make him the best choice Nov. 4. 

"Barack Obama is a person who has lived our life – a person who has fought for a better America," Gerard said. "This is our obligation to our kids and grandkids to win this battle." 

Strickland reminded the audience of the millions of lost jobs, lost health care, the economic crisis and other woes suffered under the Bush administration. He compared the plight of working Americans to a person who is drowning in a river.

The governor told the crowd that if someone were drowning, they wouldn't care about the race of the man who was trying to rescue them. "Too many people feel like they're drowning and Barack Obama is the rope," Strickland said to loud applause.

Strickland also compared Obama's candidacy to that of John F. Kennedy's, the country's first Roman Catholic president. He reminded folks that many argued wrongly that Kennedy should not be elected because of his religion. 

"We broke that barrier and America became a better country because of that. This year, we have another barrier to break and that is the barrier of race," Strickland said. "We will break that barrier and that will make us a better country because of it." 

In Martins Ferry and in Steubenville at USW Local 1190, Dan Rooney reiterated the message that voters should focus on Obama's character and proposals – a life lesson Rooney said he learned from his father, Art Rooney.

"One thing my father told me was, 'It's not all about the money. It's about treating people right, treating people fair. It's about treating people with dignity," he said. "And this is why I think we win and have a winning team."

Rooney told USW members that there are only 17 days before the election: "Get to work."

And that's exactly what dozens of Steelworkers did by signing up to block walk and phone bank as they waited in line to get autographs from Rooney and Nelson.

Conway also fired up the troops, telling them: "This is the most important work we have to do. Don't be afraid."

Nelson said he took his entire Saturday to participate in the Steelworker bus tour because the election is so important. He pointed out that McCain doesn't remember how many houses he owns and supports policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy.

"This election is close to my heart. We need a person who is responsible, who worried about doing the right thing for all Americans," the former defensive end said. "You think about who Barack Obama is and who John McCain is and who they really identify with. Barack Obama is the best thing that's happened to this country in decades."

The Steel Blitz for Barack bus tour continues through Nov. 1. Stops are planned Thursday in Johnstown and Altoona, next Saturday in Western Pennsylvania and Nov. 1 at USW headquarters.

October 24, 2008

On a brisk fall night, hundreds of fans packed the venue, dressed head to toe in black and gold. They danced to the "Steelers Polka" under Terrible Towels and Steelers pennants, and they cheered wildly when their Pittsburgh heroes took the spotlight.

This wasn't a football game at Heinz Field. It wasn't even an NFL Sunday at a Western Pennsylvania home. They were halls in Altoona and Johnstown, where the Steelers' legends joined Steelworkers to rally support for Barack Obama in the crucial final quarter of the presidential campaign.

Steelers heroes Franco Harris, Robin Cole and Dan Rooney joined USW's Jim English and John DeFazio and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO's Billy George on the latest leg of the Steel Blitz for Barack bus tour, which since Oct. 11 has been rolling through battlegrounds Pennsylvania and Ohio. The tour has taken Mr. Rooney, a host of retired Steelers and USW leaders to working class towns to talk about why it's so important to elect the Obama-Biden ticket.

English, the USW's International Secretary-Treasurer, reminded voters about Obama's and John McCain's records when it comes to issues important to working families. It's Obama, he said, who supports health care for all, trade policies that protect American jobs, strong Social Security that doesn't gamble retirements in the stock market and the right to join unions to bargain for a better life.

"When you look at it from the point of view of workers and their economic interest, there really isn't a race is there?" English asked the crowd, which responded with a loud, No! "The choice is clear. Barack Obama."

Former All-Pro linebacker Cole told more than 500 at the Bavarian Hall in Altoona that the economy has everyone dealing with tough times and that Obama is the only candidate proposing solutions for working America.

"When you're feeling the pinch, there's something called teamwork. Teamwork makes the dream work and there's only one guy out there talking about teamwork," Cole said. "It's going to take all of us and that's what Barack Obama is talking about. Our cause is to make America better and that means all Americans working together."

Hall of Fame running back Harris also got the crowds in Altoona and Johnstown fired up for Obama. In Johnstown, more than 1,000 people attended the rally at Ace's.

"I welcome all of you as one team," Harris said. "Labor, you built America. You made it strong. You are fighting for the rights of the working class. The change will only happen when we elect Obama and Biden."

Rooney, who has endorsed Obama since the Democratic primary, said the presidential candidate reminds him of John F. Kennedy and symbolizes the strong family values the Rooney family has always represented. He encouraged everyone to work hard for Obama between now and Nov. 4.

"The largest reason I support Barack Obama is because he challenges us to be the best Americans we can be," Rooney said. "Barack believes in our greatness. He keeps challenging all of us to go for it."

The Steelers signed autographs for those who attended, and while the fans waited in line, volunteers from the Obama campaign signed them up to work in the last days of the campaign.

The Steel Blitz for Barack tour continues this weekend with stops in Latrobe, Leechburg and Beaver, Pa. It ends next Saturday with the biggest rally yet - four days before Election Day.