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A giving culture 

March 5, 2024
Image: Two people are pictured facing the camera smiling, shown from the waist up, holding a cheque that is being presented by the person on the right to the person on the left.

By Sharen Brownson, President, USW Local 9422, Thunder Bay, Ont.  

For as long as I can remember, giving has been a key ingredient to the Lac des Iles’ (LDI) culture. LDI is Impala Canada’s remote mine site about 90 minutes northwest of Thunder Bay, so for 14 days, we all live, work, and eat together before going home to our friends and families for the next 14. I think there is something about this setup that encourages each of us to step up and give more of ourselves to our teammates, who are indeed like a second family. 

In December, our members participated in an annual holiday raffle at our mine site. Organized by the company’s Recreation Committee, LDI suppliers generously donated incredible prizes – iPads, high-end toolkits, gift certificates for airfare, etc. The event happens during a holiday dinner where managers take over the kitchen, serving amazing food to employees. 

All raffle proceeds go to deserving charities, and this year, they were divided evenly between four organizations: two in the Thunder Bay region where the majority of our members live, (Thunder Bay Shelter House and Dew Drop Inn) and two charities operating in other communities where our members live. We all have an opportunity to nominate local organizations, and this year, Sudbury Food Bank and Iris Place in Wawa, Ont. were the lucky recipients.  

With a workforce of about 830 people (558 of whom are USW members), I was so proud when we raised nearly $30,000 this year! That meant almost $7,500 went to four deserving charities that work to strengthen the communities where we live and raise our families. 

Members of Local 9422 regularly remind me what the United Steelworkers union is truly about: supporting and protecting one another. We take care of each other, and we take care of those around us. We do it every day when we show up for our shifts, and it doesn’t stop there. We stand up for our communities and for others in need. I know my local is not alone in this service. 

USW members have many strengths – technical skills, leadership capacity, business savvy – but what I’m most impressed by is their capacity to give. It’s magical and it does so much good in the world. And it deserves to be recognized. 


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