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Rep. Courtney Honored by United Steelworkers with 2019 Wellstone Award

October 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) was honored by the United Steelworkers (USW) union as a recipient of the 2019 USW Paul Wellstone Award, presented annually by USW to elected officials and citizens who work to advance the best interests of Steelworkers, and all working men and women. Courtney was recognized specifically for his work to repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on employer sponsored health insurance plans, and for his efforts to reduce instances of workplace violence through his bill, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309). Courtney was presented with the award by USW International President Tom Conway, USW members and staff during their 2019 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

“Senator Wellstone was a giant in Congress, and an icon for any elected official who seeks office to promote justice and fairness for working families,” said Congressman Courtney. “He is one of my heroes, and to receive this award which bears his name is truly an honor. I am sincerely grateful to USW for this recognition, and to all the steelworkers and working families for whom Senator Wellstone dedicated his career. Senator Wellstone went to bat each and every day for America’s middle-class working families, and that is the legacy that I will continue to try and emulate.

“USW members have been instrumental partners in advancing two of my chief legislative priorities. For nearly a decade they have been advocating to repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on employer sponsored health insurance plans by explaining the impact a 40% tax would have on their hard-fought collectively-bargained health plans. Their support contributed to the huge success of the vote on my bill to repeal the tax, which passed the House 419-6. They also represent health care workers who are unfortunately experiencing unprecedented and unacceptable levels of violence at work, and have been a major part of the movement to pass H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.”

USW’s Wellstone Award is named after the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, an unwavering supporter of the labor movement who was tragically killed in a plane crash prior to the 2002 election along with his wife, daughter, and three campaign aides. In his twelve years of service to the state of Minnesota, Senator Wellstone fought tenaciously for middle-class working families and steelworkers, championing causes such as access to quality healthcare, protections for workers’ pensions, and more.

Past recipients of the USW Wellstone Award include Congressman John Lewis (GA-05), American television and radio host Ed Schultz, former Governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton, American actor and activist Danny Glover, former Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, and more.