Press Releases


2019 Press Releases

 

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For Immediate Release: June 6, 2019

Contact: John Haer, (412) 478-5907, johnhaer1gmail.com


Pittsburgh, PA ― The Battle of Homestead Foundation will feature a keynote presentation and discussion in June on the importance of collaboration and partnership between organized labor and environmental activists. The event, “Labor and Environmental Coalitions: A Must for Survival of Both,” will take place this Saturday, June 8 at 1:30 pm at the Historic Pump House (880 E. Waterfront Dr.) in Munhall.
“It is imperative that the labor and environmental movements work together to confront the challenge of climate change head-on,” BHF President John Haer said. “It’s a problem that’s already affecting millions of Americans through increasingly common severe storms, flooding, droughts, fires, and other disasters. Now is the time to push for a transition to a green economy that will create jobs ― good union jobs ― while hopefully providing us with a chance to avert global catastrophe.”
The event will feature Keynote Speaker Joe Uehlein, President of the Labor Network for Sustainability. Uehlein previously served as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department, and as Director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Campaigns. He also served on the United Nations’ first commission on global warming from its inception in 1988 until 2003. Joe started his trade union work at an aluminum extrusion mill in Mechanicsburg, PA as a member of the United Steel Workers (USW), and then worked highway construction as a member of the Laborers Union, LiUNA, Local 158 in Central Pennsylvania.
A discussion will follow Joe Uehlein’s presentation, featuring Chris Petrone, Legislative Director for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66; Rosemary Bezy, Vice-President, USW Local 1557, US Steel Clairton Works; Eva Resnick-Day, Community Organizer with the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” Campaign to bring Pittsburgh to 100 percent renewable clean energy; and Tina Doose, President of the Braddock Borough Council.
The event comes just months after a fire at the Clairton Coke Works and its resulting air pollution ― and a contentious public hearing ― brought local tensions around labor and environmental issues to the fore. But it also follows in the wake of the introduction of the Green New Deal, a major congressional proposal to address climate change while stimulating job creation and transitioning away from fossil fuels.
“This is a do or die moment,” event organizer and retired steelworker Mike Stout said. “We either work together toward the common goal of collective survival, or time is going to run out very quickly for the human race, and the planet.”
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Pump House Events in Early May Will Take On the Outrage of Family Separation at the Border

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2019
Contact: John Haer, (412) 478-5907, johnhaer1@gmail.com

Pittsburgh, PA ― Two events at the Historic Pump House in early May will deal with US government policies that have separated children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. The events on May 2nd and 4th, organized by the Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF), will follow May Day demonstrations around the US, including in Pittsburgh, to tout immigrant workers’ importance to the US labor force and show solidarity for immigrant working families. The events also come just as policy debates are putting harsh anti-immigration and anti-asylum policies back in the spotlight.

“Immigration has always been a labor issue here in the US,” BHF president John Haer said. “From the earliest US immigrants from Northern Europe through the waves of people coming from Southern and Eastern European who emigrated to Western Pennsylvania and organized some of the most important labor campaigns in US history, immigrants have played a major role in the US labor movement. Along the way, their collective actions have often lifted up their native-born brothers and sisters, gaining better working conditions and pay for all.”

On Thursday, May 2, the Battle of Homestead Foundation will screen “Separated: Children at the Border,” a PBS Frontline documentary film about the history of immigration policy under both the Obama and Trump administrations. It focuses on what happened to Central American families whose children were forcibly separated from their parents and other relatives at the border. (Thursday, May 2, 7:00 pm, at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210. Admission is free and the Pump House is wheelchair accessible. For more information, see https://battleofhomestead.org/)

On Saturday, May 4, the Battle of Homestead Foundation will host the discussion program, “Family Separation at the Border: Its Impact on Pittsburgh, a ‘Welcoming City.’” This program addresses the important role immigrants have played and continue to play in our nation’s history, culture, and work force, and will focus on the current U.S. immigration policy that makes it difficult for Central American immigrants to seek asylum in the U.S. Like other immigrants before them, today’s immigrants are searching for a better life, freedom from violence, and economic security. Speakers will include Monica Ruiz, Executive Director of the Casa San Jose Center in Pittsburgh, and a powerful advocate for Latinos on legal, housing, development, and educational issues; and Guillermo Perez, United Steelworkers Labor Educator and Founder and President, Pittsburgh Chapter of Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). (Saturday, May 4, 1:30 pm, at the Historic Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, PA 15210. Admission is free. For more information, see https://battleofhomestead.org/)

“We’re honored to host immigrant advocates like Ruiz and Perez and to express working class solidarity with our sisters and brothers coming to the US to seek asylum, or simply seeking the ‘American dream’ as so many of our ancestors did,” Haer said.

BHF is committed to preserving the history of the Battle of Homestead and to educating the public about its legacies. BHF, along with others, has successfully preserved the Historic Pump House building, which has become a venue for educational and community events, and led efforts to commemorate the Battle with plaques describing the event and honoring the dead. BHF has been involved in establishing historic markers at sites related to many historic events and persons in Western Pennsylvania.

For more information: mail@battleofhomestead.orgbattleofhomestead.org. Twitter: @HomesteadFdn. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homestead1892/.


Battle of Homestead Foundation 2019 Events Will Focus on Important Labor History Centenary

Historic Steel Strike and Murder of Organizer Fannie Sellins Were Landmark 1919 Events

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2019
Contact: John Haer, (412) 478-5907, johnhaer1@gmail.com

Pittsburgh, PA ― The Battle of Homestead Foundation’s events series this year will examine the importance of landmark labor history events that occurred 100 years ago and their lasting relevance for today. A launch event in April will provide context for the turbulent year that was 1919, which saw labor and class strife, with a massive steel strike and the murder of labor organizer Fannie Sellins in Natrona Heights just before the strike began.

“The year 1919 saw greatly important events in US labor history,” BHF President John Haer said. “Certainly, in Western Pennsylvania none more so than the steel strike and the brutal murder of Fannie Sellins, who instantly became a martyr to the cause.”

BHF will begin its events season with “1919: Bridges from History” on April 25, a discussion featuring historians Eric Leif DavinCharles McCollesterJacqueline Cavalier, and Howard Scott, who will employ their extensive research and experience to spotlight the turbulent post-war era of 1919 USA. Among the many lasting developments of the time, they will touch on the Suffragette movement; immigrants’ struggle for labor and civil rights; the Great Migration North of Black Americans;  wartime unions; strikes; and radicalism and resistance to capitalism. (Thursday, April 25 @ 7:00 pm, the Historic Pump House, 880 East Waterfront Drive Munhall, PA 15120. FREE.)

“With the armistice ending the First World War, signed November 11, 1918, manufacturing demand fell and unemployment swelled. Social pressures already exacerbated by wartime labor practices, inflation and postwar corporate repression of unions, only deepened as economic activity slowed,” historian and BHF board member Charlie McCollester writes at the BHF website. These and other pivotal events set the stage for the labor unrest that would erupt toward fall.

Events to mark the assassination of Fannie Sellins are being organized around the centennial in August. Other events this season will examine current struggles of immigrants in the Trump era, labor and environment coalitions, the Pittsburgh Irish Presbyterian community, and cultural events featuring music and theater (including the April 27 one-woman show, “Mrs. Shakespeare: Will’s First and Last Love,” written, compiled and performed by Yvonne Hudson, 2:00 pm at the Historic Pump House, 880 East Waterfront Drive Munhall, PA 15120, free admission).

BHF is committed to preserving the history of the Battle of Homestead and to educating the public about its legacies. BHF has successfully preserved the Historic Pump House building, which has become a venue for educational and community events, and led efforts to commemorate the Battle with plaques describing the event and honoring the dead. BHF has been involved in establishing historic markers at sites related to many historic events and persons in Western Pennsylvania.

For more information: battleofhomestead@gmail.com

Twitter: @HomesteadFdn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homestead1892/.