For Immediate Use: February 25, 2013
Contact: Sal Aguilar, 219-886-2596; firstname.lastname@example.org
USW District 7 Statement Stephen Skvara, Retired Steelworker, Raised a Voice for Justice
Gary, IN (Feb. 25) – The United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement from Jim Robinson, Director, USW District 7, in recognition of the death last week of Stephen Skvara, 65, a retired steelworker activist, President of an Indiana Chapter of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), and who served on the district SOAR executive board.
“Our union has many unsung heroes and Stephen Skvara was certainly among them during his retirement years when he raised his loud Steelworker’s voice for justice on healthcare for everyone, retirement security for seniors, and fairness to workers who lose their benefits in corporate bankruptcies.
“His voice was loudest in Chicago when he stood up at a 2007 AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Debate Forum to ask a question that was nationally televised to more than one-million, plus thousands who were seated at the event to say: ‘Every day of my life, I sit at the kitchen table across from the woman who devoted 36 years of her life to my family and I can’t afford her health care. What’s wrong with America and what will you do to change it?’
“Stephen Skvara’s question was applauded by us all. We needed answers and the presidential candidates then began talking more about the healthcare crisis all across America. Barack Obama was on that Chicago candidates’ stage, he heard Steve’s voice and today we have Obamacare.
“The Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees empowered Stephen to standup and fight back for us all. He testified before Congress on the issue of corporate bankruptcies that need to give workers greater protection of their benefits; he stood up in the nation’s capital to defend against budget cuts of the State Children’s’ Health Insurance Program; and he raised his voice during the 2012 election in support of now U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was being falsely attacked by her opponent for protecting steelworkers’ benefits during the bankruptcy of LTV Steel Corp.
“Our retired union brother will be missed for his helping make our steel community and nation a better place. We offer condolences to his family for their loss of Stephen, a husband, father, and grandfather. He was beloved by all active and retired USW members in Indiana and Illinois.”
Mr. Skvara began worked in East Chicago at Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., which later became LTV Steel. He retired as an electrical repairman with 34-years-service after a disabling injury from an auto accident in 1997. A family service is being held today in Valparaiso at the Moeller Funeral Home at 7:00 pm, with visitation starting at 4:00 pm. Mr. Skvara passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Porter Portage Hospital. He is survived by his wife, four children and a granddaughter.