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Steelworkers hold veterans round table seminar -and announce plans for 1st Labor Day Parade in Bethlehem, PA in 50 years!

08.26.08

September 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Steelworkers hold veterans round table seminar

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

BETHLEHEM, August 20th- The United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union Local 2599 sponsored a round table seminar on August 11th in the Lehigh Valley to discuss issues important to military veterans.

The event was held at the United Steelworkers Union Hall on East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem.

According to Local 2599 President Jerry Green, the event was attended by approximately fifty former members of the arm services, union members and their families, and invited quests.

Mr. Green moderated the event with nine veterans from the Lehigh Valley participating on the panel including: John Stoffa, Northampton County Executive; Bob McAuliff, United Steelworkers International Staff and USW District 10 Rapid Response Lead Coordinator; Charlie Kelly, a member of the United Steelworkers Union; Paul Coaches, a United Steelworkers Union retiree; Mike Dzwonczyk, a United Steelworkers Union retiree; Don Trexler, a United Steelworkers Union retiree; Rich Kulick, a United Steelworkers Union retiree; Joe Long, a United Auto Workers Union Local 677 retiree and Chairman of the Northampton County Democratic Party; and Jim Wasser via phone from Chicago, representing the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation and a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union.

The speakers discussed the need for improved spending for the Veterans Hospitals, health care, and prescription drugs.

They agreed the George W. Bush Administration has failed to improve veteran services and cuts have been made to most veteran programs. The feeling of the group was if Republican Senator John McCain is elected in November, the veteran system will be cut further. The group showed their admiration for Mr. McCain’s service to the nation as a Vietnam veteran but suggested his leadership as President of the United States would be a disaster and he would not help the military veterans.

The panel shared some personal stories with the audience involving their experiences dealing with veteran issues. Mr. Green discussed how Steelworkers Union members that were veterans lost their health care coverage when Bethlehem Steel Corporation went bankrupt and the need for the United States Veterans Administration benefits became that much more important.

Mr. Green also told the newspaper Local 2599 is sponsoring a Labor Day event in Bethlehem which will include a parade and picnic.

On September 1st, Labor Day, the USW will conduct a parade starting at 10:30 am at Main Street and Spring Street in Bethlehem and march up Main Street and back to the unions picnic area on East Lehigh Street in the city. Tickets for the picnic are $10.00 and will include food, beverages, music and games.

Tickets for the picnic must be purchased in advance and can be obtained by calling the United Steelworkers at 610.867.3772 or e-mail at USWGreen@aol.com.

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