In a remarkable testament to the transition from military service to civilian life, Marine Corps Corporal Ryan McKenzie has embarked on an extraordinary journey with the military and the United Steelworkers.
Ryan’s story not only highlights his dedication and personal growth but also underscores the USW’s Veterans of Steel program, which aims to support veterans and help integrate them into the union and their communities. What makes Ryan’s story even more unique is his Métis, indigenous, ancestry, which allowed him to make a fateful decision that changed his life forever.
Born in Canada, Ryan McKenzie, of Métis descendant, had the opportunity, pre-9/11, to obtain a U.S. Green Card and passport, thanks to his indigenous heritage. This unique situation also opened the door for him to join the United States Marine Corps, a decision he initially described as “young and dumb.” Little did he know that this seemingly impulsive choice would profoundly shape his future.
Ryan served four years of dedicated duty in the United States Marine Corps, stationed in Palm Springs, California, and specialized in 60mm mortars.
During his service he quickly realized that the discipline, toughness and solidarity of being a Marine could also be harnessed to make a difference in the lives of others.
His transition to civilian life led him back to Canada to the pipe shop at Evraz Steel in Regina, Saskatchewan. He quickly rose to Vice President of Local 5890. As a proud Canadian citizen, Ryan’s journey has taken him to the heart of the United Steelworkers’ District 3 in Western Canada, where he now serves as the District 3 Veterans of Steel Coordinator.
In his capacity as a coordinator for the USW’s Vets of Steel program, Ryan plays a pivotal role in fostering camaraderie among veterans and helping them find their place within the union. The program’s mission is straightforward yet powerful: to encourage veterans to get involved, even if it’s just through registration.
Ryan’s leadership and passion have made a significant impact, demonstrating that the bond forged in the military can seamlessly transition into the labor movement.
Ryan’s journey, from the Marine Corps to the USW, exemplifies the importance of veterans’ contributions to the workforce and society. His dedication to the Vets of Steel program serves as an inspiration for others, highlighting the opportunities available for veterans looking to continue their service and make a positive impact in their communities.
Historic day for health care in Canada: pharmacare
February 23, 2024| Media Releases
Today marks a historic day for health care in Canada, as an agreement between the Liberal government and the NDP on Pharmacare is confirmed.
The steadfast efforts by the NDP will now pave the way for a universal national pharmacare program and represents an important step towards equitable access to prescription drugs for all Canadians.
For many years, Steelworkers, with the broader labour movement, have worked with the NDP to push for a universal, single-payer pharmacare plan, that would reduce the burden of expensive, inaccessible prescription drugs for Canadians.
The bill, to be tabled shortly, will establish the framework for a national Pharmacare program and will also introduce, in the short term, new coverage for contraception and diabetes treatment, addressing the urgent health care needs of Canadians.
B.C. budget aimed at affordability and priorities of working British Columbians
February 23, 2024| Media Releases
The United Steelworkers union (USW) commends the B.C. government for continuing to invest in health and mental health, housing, affordability and important infrastructure around the province. “Our members, like all British Columbians, feel the impact of increasing costs of living amid a slowing global economy. The government has it right by continuing to direct spending […]
USW expresses concern over Metro Vancouver crane collapses, joins calls for B.C. government to release report on deadly Kelowna incident
February 22, 2024| Media Releases
The United Steelworkers union (USW) is expressing deep concern regarding the recent crane incidents and the recent crane collapses in Burnaby and Surrey and is joining calls for the B.C. government and WorkSafeBC to release the report from the deadly Kelowna crane collapse in 2021. “These incidents underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive examination […]