In May 2022, Laura Ramirez, who started with the Steelworkers Humanity Fund in 1988, retired after 34 years with the Fund and the Union. Laura was instrumental in setting up the foundations of the organization, building and maintaining relationships with partners and unions across Latin America. Her many contributions included building a women’s rights program, championing health and safety efforts internationally, and most recently, developing a large workers’ rights program in Mexico.
To mark Laura’s legacy, we are sharing testimonies from partners across Canada and Latin America, looking back on her many contributions over the years.
Thank you Laura, you will be missed!
From all of us at the SHF and in the union – thank you Laura for your tremendous contribution to building international solidarity. Generous with your time, you have been a builder of bridges. Moving effortlessly between three languages, different cultures and contexts, you excel at connecting Steelworker members with partners throughout Latin America – interpreting and explaining our partners’ struggles to us, and in turn making partners understand our realities. Your expertise in project administration has been very much appreciated and will be hard to replace. Your commitment to women’s rights and your determination to find ways to raise the bar globally has set a strong foundation upon which the SHF will continue to build. Thank you!
Marty Warren, SHF President & Ken Neumann, SHF Past President
Laura always represented the Steelworkers Humanity Fund with great professionalism and transparency. Attentive to the activities of the projects and willing to support when needed. Laura is one of those people who leave a mark wherever they go, it can be said that she made a path by walking it. Laura was a great ally. Pure gratitude to those who built empathy, sorority, and fellowship.
Rosalba Calva, Mexico
Laura strengthened the commitment of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund with the workers of Latin America, especially with unions. She made a significant contribution to working women, such as in the mining sector in Peru. She worked to ensure that union organizations incorporated women workers and treated them as equals, which was not an easy task due to the patriarchy present in the world of work.
Estela Ospina, Peru
Laura is committed to the struggles of Indigenous peoples, the struggles of workers and especially the struggles of women. She contributed much to our leadership training by sharing experiences and fostering exchanges. She coordinated visits with Canadian Women of Steel to learn about both of our realities and build on what we have in common as women.
Maria Estela Barco, Chiapas, Mexico
Laura fought against injustices to working people in different parts of the world. She always found new ways to contribute to the trade unions and women’s movement. Her great character helped foster connections with those who approached her. Although Laura is leaving, her footprints will not go unnoticed by those of us who had the privilege of knowing her and participated in activities where she shared her knowledge with humility and respect.
Martiza Paredes, Honduras
Laura supported projects with the National Mining, Metallurgical and Steel Federation of Peru. During that time, we always expressed our profound recognition and gratitude for her practical and candid approach with all our members.
Herbert Hidalgo, Peru
It is so rare to meet people in the international development and solidarity movement who fight with the fiery passion that Laura Ramirez has exemplified throughout her career. I will always remember Laura for her tireless dedication to support women’s rights, the labour movement in Latin America, and her tremendous conviction toward supporting migrant workers here in Canada. Her passion and tireless voice will be missed.
Patricia Rebolledo, Canada
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- Laura during a rally against cuts to education in Ontario, 2020. Photo: SHF
- Laura (3rd on the right) during a Women of Steel exchange in Guatemala, 2018. Photo: SHF