United Steelworkers Local 9460

Report on the 2017 United Steelworkers Convention

 by Lynn Wedlund

THE POWER OF UNITY DEFINES US! The first day of the convention was opened by our International President Leo Gerard with a tribute to the USW’s 75 years of fighting for workers. The USW is a diverse union with members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Gerard said the union faces challenges in fighting to maintain jobs, supporting middle class wages and benefits, and fighting against corporate greed. He urged union members to run for office at every level of government in the countries they reside in, and that the USW is there to help on all levels.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez was the next speaker. He said his mission is to advance the middle-class agenda. He is inspired by the USW values of unity and commitment to fight for workers’ rights. Perez said he understands that we are a divided nation, and the Democratic Party needs to earn our trust.

USW Secretary-Treasurer, Stan Johnson, reminded delegates that their primary responsibility during the convention is to debate and pass resolutions that will define the union’s policies and guide its actions. Following that, the delegates debated numerous resolutions.

At the close of day one, the attendees were inspired by Reverend Dr. William Barber II, a Protestant minister and President of the North Carolina NAACP. His message was one of unity. “We must stop making issues Democratic or Republican; these are moral issues, not political issues. We must have a strong, steadfast unity among labor, religious, civil rights, environmental and other organizations in order to beat back the national immorality of hard-right politicians,” Barber said. (continued on page 5)

Day 2 had a focus of international solidarity, and featured speakers from other union in the United States, the UK and Mexico. Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary of the UNITE union in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, stated, “We are a global union for men and women, for young people and retired people, for people of color, for those with disabilities and for LGBT workers.” Burke met with USW represented healthcare workers and said his union is committed to making sure it builds a strong relationship with the healthcare sector.

Day 3 was devoted to supporting resolutions. Debate was held on resolutions brought forward on the Women of Steel, Civil and Human Rights, Collective Bargaining and International Trade. Resolution No. 23 was one of the resolutions that passed that our union was backing. It commits the USW to strengthening a structured, active and member driven Healthcare Workers Council. As a result of the passing of this resolution, the USW will now hold a Healthcare Sector Conference at least once every three years with a focus on education, bargaining trends, communication and legislative issues.

This convention was extremely well organized, professional produced and it inspired our delegates with THE POWER OF UNITY!

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