On the heels of our USW National Policy Conference, I am more motivated than ever by the accounts of hard work and of triumph of Steelworker local union leaders, activists, members and staff.
The theme of our policy conference, “Engage, Mobilize, Organize,” speaks to the source of our union’s power and our collective ability to make a difference in our workplaces, in our communities and in our society.
It also reflects a truism that I’ve held onto since my early days as a shop floor activist – the union’s power comes from the grassroots.
I have been inspired by the stories of organizing and the determination that new members show to improve their lives at work, harnessing the power and strength of the union. I was also touched by the hope and deeply rooted belief that better is always possible, among longtime Steelworker activists.
Our conference in Toronto celebrated an important Steelworker win – pension protection in the case of corporate bankruptcies. You will read more about this critical achievement in our political update on page 16.
In the meantime, I sincerely thank every member and SOAR activist who put themselves forward over the last two decades to win this legislation. Without you, it would not have been possible.
Our union is now focused on winning federal anti-scab legislation, which would ban replacement workers in the case of a labour dispute. Like pension protection, this can be the next big Steelworker win. Having anti-scab legislation in federally regulated sectors would help 80,000 USW members alone and hundreds of thousands of other workers across the country. Currently, anti-scab legislation exists in Quebec and B.C., with Quebec’s law dating back to 1977.
I believe wholeheartedly that now is the time to double down on pushing the federal Liberals to
introduce anti-scab legislation – immediately. With the opportunity created by the federal NDP-Liberal supply-and-confidence agreement, we must move to get this legislation introduced and passed as quickly as possible and then work to do the same in all other parts of the country.
During our policy conference, 520 delegates sent letters to Liberal cabinet ministers and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and more than 60 people got up to the mics to volunteer to lobby their Liberal MP. To all those who have taken this action so far – thank you!
If you are interested in lobbying your Liberal MP to demand anti-scab legislation now, I urge you to get in touch with our Legislative Staff Representative George Soule. Our union has the materials and the guidance to help you succeed in this lobby and every voice counts! firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a moment to send a letter now by going to usw.ca/antiscab.
Thank you for your action and I believe together, we will win!
USW National Director
This article appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of USW@Work magazine.
USW@Work magazine Summer 2023
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