Departments and Services

USW districts, local unions and bargaining committees are backed up by a range of expertise. Our Canadian National Office staff includes researchers and economists, health and safety experts, a legal department, an education department, human rights experts, a communications team and an organizing department to help new members join the USW.

Research, Public Policy and Bargaining Support

USW research staff includes experts in economics, public policy, pensions, job evaluation and industry trends. The USW Research Department provides the facts, figures and arguments needed to bargain the best possible collective agreements, pensions and benefits.

Health, Safety and Environment Department

The USW is the health and safety union. Our struggles for health and safety have taught us the importance of making the link to the environment and our community. USW health and safety staff, together with trained local activists, help members deal with risks and hazards at work, provide assistance on workers’ compensation, educate health and safety committees and campaign across Canada for safer and healthier workplaces as well as a clean environment.

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Education and Equality

The USW Education and Equality Department is at the centre of the services and programs provided by our union. Every year, thousands of Steelworkers learn more about collective bargaining, human rights, health and safety, grievance-handling and arbitration, how to run a local, and many other topics. “Back to the Locals” courses are led by trained member-facilitators. Our equality program helps promote women’s and human rights through education and activism. The Women of Steel program offers courses to sisters interested in taking on leadership roles in our union and community. It also mobilizes for action on issues like pay equity and ending violence against women and girls. And in addition to courses on human rights and the duty to accommodate, USW also delivers training in the workplace to both union and management to prevent and deal with harassment, sexual harassment and violence. Finally, the department supports the National Women’s Committee, National Human Rights Committee, and the National Aboriginal Committee, along with the initiatives that each committee identifies to build a stronger union and a better world.

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Legal Department

e Legal Department is the union’s front line for responding to any legal issue that arises in the life of the union. Lawyers in the Legal Department assess each new issue and then either provide advice and representation or, depending on the jurisdiction and subject matter, retain and supervise outside counsel.

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Communications and Political Action Department

The USW communications team promotes union activities and achievements in the media and for our members, ensuring union stories, issues and the perspectives of working women and men are included in radio, print, web and television news stories. Our staff produce the union’s publications, audio-visual productions and bargaining support materials. We provide timely information to members and the public through our bilingual website. The USW Ottawa Legislative Office is the hub of our activism on Parliament Hill, monitoring and coordinating legislative initiatives, lobbying elected politicians and making positive change on the issues that matter to working people. Through Steelworkers Vote, USW members get involved in election campaigns to mobilize our membership and build political power.

Organizing Department

USW representatives are always available to help anyone who needs a union. Our union’s track record in helping people join our union and achieve real gains is second to none, in every type of occupation and workplace, helping thousands of new members join the Steelworkers every year. Our union has been involved in organizing for decades and has experience with every kind of obstacle, every tactic that employers sometimes use to prevent women and men from exercising their rights. USW reps know how to listen, how to build confidence and how to work as a team with you and your co-workers.

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Global Affairs and Workplace Issues

Human rights are worker rights. Members of the Steelworkers are building respectful work and learning environments, negotiating and implementing policies to prevent and deal with harassment, discrimination and workplace violence. We negotiate pay equity plans to ensure that workers’ pay is based on what they do, rather than on gender discrimination, as well as job evaluation systems that involve union members and provide for fair pay within the workplace. The Global Affairs and Workplace Issues Department offers resources and workshops on equality rights, promotes workplace skill training for workers, coordinates the union’s involvement in human resource sector councils, supports the union’s negotiation of pay equity and job evaluation, as well as overseeing the Steelworkers Humanity Fund and taking action on human rights and international issues.

Administration Department

The USW’s Administration Department handles the national office accounting and coordinates national conferences, purchasing and contracts. It provides direct support to the National Director and Assistant to the National Director. The department also includes reception, shipping and receiving and duplicating services.

New Media and Information Technology Department

The USW’s New Media and Information Technology department is responsible for our phone, computer network and server technology, security, equipment, maintenance and backup. The department provides information, assistance and troubleshooting for staff through the help desk. New Media and IT staff install upgrades and provide training on software as required. They assist with audio-visual and computer requirements at conferences and events and act as a resource for video and media projects. The deparment also manages our websites and social media presence.