USW Cares: 2017 District 6 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Darren Green

When Darren Green noticed his local union halls were run down, he led a project to help spruce them up. When he realized children in his community were going without school supplies, he led efforts to buy more than 1,000 backpacks and load them with educational necessities. When he wanted to change the perception of labour, he created and pushed the #CommunityMatters hashtag on social media.

“To me, it’s the most important thing that we do,” said Green, president of Local 5328 in Hamilton, Ontario. “If people need help, they call me or the Steelworkers.”

For his leadership in his union and his community, Green is District 6’s 2017 USW Cares Jefferson Awards winner.

“Darren is a very respected leader in this community and is always there to support those in need,” said Sylvia Boyce, Green’s union sister and District 6’s Health and Safety Coordinator, “He does all of this for others, not for self-gratification or awards. He’s truly a remarkable human being.”

Green is also president of the Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council, representing workers at ArcelorMittal Hamilton East. As President, he oversees thousands of union members from a variety of employers. He is also currently the labour representative on the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Workforce Development, chairman of the Building Committee at the United Steelworkers Centre in Hamilton, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Golden Horseshoe Credit Union. His involvement with the union began in 1988, and he has since held a variety of executive positions before becoming president in 2007.

Green previously served as chairman of the Political Action and Social Services Committees at the local Labour Council and was a director for the local United Way. Upon the creation of the Youth Worker Awareness program, Green organized and taught a group of instructors to educate thousands of local high school students about the importance of health and safety. Green has also organized the Union Kids Christmas Party since 1990.

As President of the Area Council, he noticed some of the spaces they spent their time in could use some updating, so Green worked to renovate the union hall and offices. Because of this, rentals have increased, which helped the Council become more involved in the community.

The Area Council also created a float for the annual Christmas parade, where children from the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs and their parents take part. This effort helped make union members more active in the community. Every year, the Steelworkers look forward to sharing the float with the children and passing out candy.

The Area Council has also created a project known as Operation Backpack, where Green, along with other volunteers, fills backpacks with school necessities to send to needy children. In the first year, he helped to fill 92 backpacks, but the project has attracted attention and has since expanded to filling 1,000 backpacks last year thanks to sponsors and people like Green.

Green also helped to create a sense of community within five local unions in the area by organizing an annual Labor Day picnic, where he provides meals for 500 families while also organizing entertainment and prizes for the children at the event.

One projects closest to Green’s heart is the ‘Community Matters’ program that focuses on assisting people with anything they may need such as collecting donations or organizing events to help bring the community together. The Area Council currently partners with different groups in the community to spread the message.

After joining the Mayor’s Committee Against Racism in the mid-90’s, he helped manage and organize the first International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Hamilton, which helps create a sense of togetherness, acceptance, and friendship. Green hopes that this event will continue to grow in the future.

Green also volunteers at food banks and homeless shelters and supports other charities whenever he can – a perfect example of how much Steelworkers contribute to their local communities.

If you know a Steelworker who is doing something amazing in their community, we want to know about it! Use the #USWCares hashtag and give a shout-out to @SteelworkersCA when you post on social media. Tosend us your stories, please go to usw.ca/uswcares.

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