In an Unnecessary Election, We Made the Best of it

A note to Steelworkers from USW National Director Ken Neumann on the 2021 federal election

I want to thank all Steelworkers who got involved in this election – as volunteers and as voters. 

Our union is engaged in politics because it shapes the lives of workers and our families. Our votes matter and make a difference.  

The results are (mostly) in, and we will have another Liberal minority government in Ottawa. At the time of writing this, the NDP has won in 25 seats, with a couple of others that are still being counted. 

The United Steelworkers union in English Canada endorsed Jagmeet Singh and the NDP in this election. We can be proud that Steelworkers helped elect New Democrats to fight for us. 

Jagmeet’s positive campaign focused on the issues that matter to workers and everyday people. NDP proposals to make the wealthy pay their fair share, create a million jobs, make housing more affordable and bring in pharmacare and dental care resonated with millions of voters.

The NDP committed to undertake the important work of reconciliation in true and equal partnership with Indigenous communities across the country.

The NDP had the most diverse slate of candidates of any party in this election – more women and gender-diverse candidates, the most LGBTQ2SIA+ candidates, the most racialized candidates and the most Indigenous candidates. This equates to better representation. 

I had the chance to join Jagmeet and the Hamilton-area NDP candidates on Labour Day, where Jagmeet highlighted the NDP’s plans for workers including paid sick days, a $20 minimum wage and universal, affordable, accessible child care.

As usual, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals claimed NDP policies as their own and used scare tactics to win. 

Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives tried to woo working-class voters, but voters viewed his promises with distrust based on the Conservatives’ lousy track record of attacking workers and unions. 

Despite the snap election call, the USW was able to organize in many ways, including telephone town halls for Steelworkers in District 3 (Western Canada) and District 6 (Ontario and Atlantic Canada) where members had a chance to discuss policy and get updates on the union from our elected leadership. Thanks to all who participated. 

We held Steelworkers Vote schools online and in person to develop political activists within our ranks and hear from our members about the election issues that affect them. 

In District 5 (Quebec), members got politically active with the Féderation des travailleurs(euses) du Québec (FTQ).

During the pandemic, it was Jagmeet Singh and the NDP who delivered results for workers. 

Now that the election is over, our union in English Canada will continue our work with Jagmeet and the NDP to pressure the Liberals to actually deliver on all their promises. 

Thank you again for your election involvement. Please stay healthy and safe. 

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
USW National Director

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