United Steelworkers Canada News Feed http://www.uswca.org/news/media-centre/articles/rss United Steelworkers Canada News Feed Wed, 23 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 Ken Neumann’s Statement for International Women’s Day 2021 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/ken-neumanns-statement-for-international-womens-day-2021 Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/ken-neumanns-statement-for-international-womens-day-2021 USW makes work and activism more accessible for women

Raising the Bar logoA woman’s place is in the union ... and in the workplace ... and anywhere she wants to be! Our society still puts barriers in the way of women’s participation. And the USW is committed to removing those barriers.

Women should be able to do any job they choose. But most workplaces, machines, personal protective equipment and safety programs have been designed to suit male workers, leaving women out.

Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety is an important new USW campaign to make sure women’s voices and concerns are heard. We’ve created an Action Guide, an inspection checklist and other resources to raise awareness and make positive changes

And our union is also removing barriers to women’s involvement in union activities. Even in 2021, women still do most of the work caring for children and elderly family members. That makes it hard to attend union meetings and education courses, or to sit on a committee or be a steward.

USW’s Family & Community Education Fund is now available to repay the cost of child or elder care for Steelworkers who attend authorized union events. (To qualify, members must belong to a local union that contributes to the fund.) Full details and claim forms are available on our web site

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than listening to the sound of barriers being broken down!

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
National Director

Take Action: Urge Your MP to Vote Yes to Pharmacare https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/take-action-urge-your-mp-to-vote-yes-to-pharmacare Wed, 17 Feb 2021 15:54:44 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/take-action-urge-your-mp-to-vote-yes-to-pharmacare The United Steelworkers union (USW) urges federal politicians of all stripes to vote Yes to pharmacare, so people don’t have to choose between paying the rent or mortgage and taking the medication they need to stay healthy.

Momentum is growing for NDP Member of Parliament (MP) Peter Julian’s private member’s bill, Bill C-213, An Act to Enact Pharmacare.

Steelworkers can help.

Build support for Bill C-213 by signing Peter Julian’s petition and emailing your MP to urge them to vote Yes Bill C-213.

“We don’t need more studies or promises, we need action. Vote Yes on Bill C-213, and bring in pharmacare,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

The USW has long supported a single-payer pharmacare plan that is universal, public, accessible, comprehensive and portable. Bill C-213 will bring in pharmacare for Canadians modelled on the Canada Health Act and will improve the health and lives of millions of Canadians.

Pharmacare brings fairness when women, racialized people, Indigenous people, young people and those with lower incomes have more difficulty accessing the drugs they need.

“Union members tend to have better health care and drug benefits than workers who do not belong to a union that negotiates on their behalf,” said Neumann. “But all workers – and all Canadians – deserve public drug coverage to ensure that people can access the medication they need.”

The Liberal government’s own advisory council recommended universal pharmacare in 2019, before the pandemic.

As studies have shown, pharmacare will save lives. Too many Canadians die from preventable causes because they lack medication coverage.

Since the pandemic began, many workers have lost their jobs or benefits coverage. Pharmacare would mean all Canadians could get the medication they need to stay healthy without having to pay out of pocket or worry about not being able to afford the cost.

Email your MP to urge them to vote Yes on Bill C-213.



What’s Your Work Story? Write for Our Times https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/whats-your-work-story-write-for-our-times Tue, 16 Feb 2021 15:43:51 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/whats-your-work-story-write-for-our-times Our Times magazine is always looking for workers’ stories about their working lives.

Consider writing your work story for Our Times Magazine’s Working for a Living series.

You can do it! Our Times wants stories that describe:

  • What your work is like
  • What you do for a living
  • How you feel about your work
  • The best part about your work
  • And the worst part

Paint a picture – write about what you see and do while working.

If you're not at a paid job now, write about what your job was like, before you quit, retired, got laid off or fired.

Articles should be 2,000 words or less.

For stories accepted for publication, Our Times will pay the writer $100.

There’s no deadline to this writing assignment – it’s an open-ended call for stories.

Learn more by checking out the Our Times writers’ guidelines here.

Our Times is a magazine that’s published four times a year. It’s about work, workers’ rights and social justice. Subscribe for just $25.


When it comes to building materials, Canada has a climate advantage to use (or lose) https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/when-it-comes-to-building-materials-canada-has-a-climate-advantage-to-use-or-lose Tue, 16 Feb 2021 12:47:22 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/when-it-comes-to-building-materials-canada-has-a-climate-advantage-to-use-or-lose New U.S. President Joe Biden has a USD $2-trillion plan to build America’s clean economy. That’s trillion with a t.

The plan is sweeping and includes, among many other things, spending on modern public buildings and infrastructure with the next generation of low-carbon building materials.

What will the U.S. be buying? Aluminum, cement, steel, and wood, the materials used to construct most things we build and whose production represents a vital part of Canada’s economic backbone.

The good news for us: when it comes to the carbon footprint of these construction materials, Canada has a unique advantage.

Thanks in large part to our country’s clean electricity grid (which is now 82 per cent emissions-free), goods produced here often have a smaller carbon footprint than those produced elsewhere. When you combine this with the efficiency of our manufacturers and the fact that it’s less polluting to ship materials across a land border than across an ocean, it becomes clear that Canada’s advantage is also its opportunity, an opportunity to not only build better in our own backyard—but to also help with renovations down south.

The scale of the undertaking should not be understated. Buildings account for 13 per cent of Canada’s carbon emissions, and when you add infrastructure, like roads and airports, the number is even higher. In short, we can’t achieve our 2050 goal of net-zero emissions unless we build better, and nor can the Biden administration.

In addition to cutting pollution, “buying clean” and investing in public construction also creates jobs at a crucial time when our economy is in recovery. These employment and economic benefits are outlined in Blue Green Canada’s latest report, which recommends three actions to capitalize on Canada’s low-carbon advantage.

First, governments should ensure all public spending on infrastructure prioritizes lower carbon materials, fuels, and processes, creating new markets, supporting jobs, and stimulating demand for these products.

As an example, Canadian-made Portland-limestone cement contains up to 10 per cent less embodied carbon than ordinary Portland cement, and it costs the same. If it were used exclusively across Canada, we would avoid over one-million tonnes of carbon pollution every year.

Secondly, we need an Industrial Decarbonization Strategy to identify the low-carbon advantage of Canadian industries and manufacturers. We must demonstrate, commercialize, and promote high-potential technologies that further reduce the carbon footprint of Canadian manufacturers, while ensuring our products become and are recognized as the most sustainable in the world.

Canadian steel is already among the world’s cleanest, and yet Canada spends more than $7-billion annually on imported steel and aluminum that’s typically higher-carbon. The steel made at an Ontario facility, for example, is about a third less carbon-intensive than steel made in the U.S.—and nearly 80 per cent cleaner than steel made in China.

Finally, the federal government should establish a Clean Infrastructure Challenge Fund to encourage the use of low-carbon building materials in the construction of public infrastructure. The challenge would showcase the potential of these solutions for use in all forms of infrastructure.

This one-time fund dedicated to public projects would be available to provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to support infrastructure projects that reduce pollution through the use of low-carbon building materials.

Together, these actions would help create a stronger ecosystem for clean building in Canada, unlocking overlooked pollution-cutting opportunities while supporting Canadian manufacturers by creating the conditions for them to compete and win in a cleaner and cleaner global marketplace.

We already have the advantage. It’s time for Canada to put its strengths to work.

Ken Neumann is the Canadian national director of United Steelworkers.

Merran Smith is the executive director of Clean Energy Canada.

Blue Green Canada was founded by an alliance between Canadian labour unions and environmental and civil society organizations to advocate for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts.

New Project Templates for the Family and Community Education Fund https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/new-project-templates-for-the-family-and-community-education-fund Tue, 16 Feb 2021 11:15:56 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/new-project-templates-for-the-family-and-community-education-fund Project templates from the Family and Community Education Fund (FCEF) make planning and hosting Steelworker events easier!

At the best of times, it can be hard to come up with creative ways to engage members. The FCEF has brainstormed popular event ideas and included planning tips and suggested resource lists to help you with hosting. There are now more than 15 project templates on the website ready to inspire you and your membership!

Some event ideas include:

  • Online Speaker Series for Teens
  • Family Wellness Programming for Web or In-Person
  • Black History Month Workshops

We’ve got virtual and in-person options – check them out here.

Requests for projects under $5,000 can be submitted to your District Education Co-ordinator at any time. Our next big project deadline is April 16, 2021.

As a reminder, the FCEF is open to contributing locals. For information on how to join, please visit: http://usw.to/3m7.

Complicit in Laurentian Crisis, Province Must Step Up https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/complicit-in-laurentian-crisis-province-must-step-up Thu, 11 Feb 2021 12:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/complicit-in-laurentian-crisis-province-must-step-up The following letter from USW District 6 Director Marty Warren was published by the Sudbury Star:

For years, Laurentian University employee and student groups sounded the alarm. They warned of dire consequences of a steady erosion of public funding coupled with reckless administrative decisions.

The powers that be, including the Ontario government, dismissed and scoffed at such concerns, even as Laurentian headed towards a full-blown financial crisis. A few days ago, however, those warnings were borne out, with Laurentian’s bombshell announcement that it was applying to the courts for protection from creditors to restructure its financial affairs – in other words: bankruptcy protection.

There is no consolation for the university’s students, faculty and staff who could justifiably say, “We told you so.”

Instead, students must now worry about their future educational prospects. Faculty and staff are left to contemplate potential job losses and whether their benefits and retirement security will be compromised.

Contrary to its attempts to suggest otherwise, the Ontario government is complicit in this unprecedented fiasco. Not only has it presided over the erosion of university funding, the government has four representatives on the Laurentian University Board of Governors. Every step of the way, government representatives have been part of the disastrous, secretive and arbitrary decision-making at Laurentian that led to this crisis.

The Ontario government’s shameful failure of oversight at Laurentian is a scandal in itself. Its deliberate policy of maintaining the lowest per-student funding levels in Canada, as well as the highest tuition rates in the country, lays bare its complicity not only in the Laurentian crisis but in the financial crunch facing the province’s other universities.

For more than 60 years, Laurentian University has served a distinct role in the economic, social and cultural fabric of northeastern Ontario. That role must be defended and strengthened.

The Ontario government has a clear responsibility to intervene and immediately put a stop to the insolvency proceedings at Laurentian. The government must resolve the chronic underfunding at the university and eliminate the threats facing students, faculty, staff and the communities it serves.

Marty Warren
District 6 Director
United Steelworkers

View the letter to the editor as published by the Sudbury Star

Eastern Ontario Women’s Committee Donates to Local Shelter https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/eastern-ontario-womens-committee-donates-to-local-shelter Wed, 10 Feb 2021 12:47:22 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/eastern-ontario-womens-committee-donates-to-local-shelter Thanks to the work of the USW Local 9211 Women’s Committee, Maison Baldwin House, a women’s shelter in Cornwall, Ont., received a $2,000 donation from the Steelworkers last December.

The Women of Steel contribution was divided into a $1,000 donation to Maison Baldwin House, and 20 gift cards of $50 for each of the women who were staying at the shelter at the time of the committee’s donation. 

Women of Steel donate to Maison Baldwin HouseMaison Baldwin House assists women and their children in the transition from violent and abusive circumstances to a safe and secure environment and a renewed family by providing safe shelter and services. 

In addition to empowering women to make their own choices, the organization, like our union, works proactively to end violence against women in our society.

Maison Baldwin House said the Women’s Committee’s donation would go a long way, especially after the holiday season which brings extra costs. 

USW Local 9211 is an amalgamated local union representing almost 600 members – predominantly women – who work in long-term care facilities, retirement homes and a Hospital in Eastern Ontario.

Steelworkers make great neighbours!

Photo (left to right): Danielle, Maison Baldwin House Representative with USW Local 9211 Women’s Committee representatives Dyana McMahon, Sue Desbiens (Unit Chair), Carole Ayotte (Local Union Officer and Unit Steward), and Lillian Ryner (Local Union Vice-President and Unit Steward).

Steelworkers Support Laurentian University Students, Faculty and Staff Amid Financial Crisis https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/steelworkers-support-laurentian-university-students-faculty-and-staff-amid-financial-crisis Mon, 08 Feb 2021 12:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/steelworkers-support-laurentian-university-students-faculty-and-staff-amid-financial-crisis ATTN:
Laurentian University Faculty Association
Laurentian University Staff Union
Laurentian University Student Associations

Dear colleagues,

The United Steelworkers union (USW) and its Local Unions 1998, 2010 and 4120, representing 12,000 employees at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and the University of Guelph, support the students, faculty and staff of Laurentian University in calling for immediate intervention by the Ontario and federal governments to stop the insolvency proceedings at Laurentian and to provide funding to ensure the university’s long-term sustainability.

What is occurring at Laurentian University has further exposed a crisis that has long been building in Ontario’s university system. It is the most-extreme outcome to date of a broken funding model that leaves Ontario dead last in Canada in terms of per-student public funding and forces students to pay the highest tuition fees in the country. This deliberate erosion of public funding affects all universities but is particularly harmful to Ontario’s smaller and northern institutions such as Laurentian.

The effects of this funding crisis have been compounded by a coinciding erosion in transparent, accountable and traditional collegiality of university governance and administration. Laurentian and other universities have increasingly flouted their governing constitutions and bylaws, and cut out faculty, staff and students from decision-making processes.

The Laurentian University Faculty Association is to be praised for repeatedly sounding the alarm, warning that unaccountable, secretive governance and administration was leading to reckless decisions that only exacerbated the university’s financial problems. It is a travesty that such concerns have been ignored, not only by Laurentian’s administration and governors, but also by the Ontario government.

Indeed, it is a scandal in itself that the provincial government is feigning ignorance and surprise regarding the financial crisis at Laurentian, when in fact the government has four representatives on the university’s Board of Governors. Every step of the way, government representatives have been part of the disastrous, closed-door decision-making process at Laurentian.

Given its inexcusable failure of oversight and its worst-in-Canada funding model, the Ontario government is complicit in the unprecedented and preventable situation at Laurentian University. The government must intervene to stop the insolvency proceedings, immediately address the chronic underfunding at Laurentian and eliminate the threats facing the university’s students, faculty, staff and the communities it serves.

As well, in light of Laurentian’s tri-cultural mandate to support French, English and Indigenous communities – part of its unique role in the economic, social and cultural fabric of northeastern Ontario for over 60 years – the federal government also shares responsibility in securing the university’s future.

The crisis at Laurentian has laid bare the unquestionable need for systemic reforms to a university system plagued by underfunding and flawed governance and administrative structures. Laurentian, and all Ontario’s universities, must not be allowed to operate like profit-driven, private corporations where the education of students and the jobs of employees are subjected to the whims and perils of insolvency proceedings.

The members of United Steelworkers’ Local Unions 1998, 2010 and 4120, along with USW members everywhere in Ontario and across our country, wholeheartedly endorse your campaign for immediate provincial and federal intervention to secure Laurentian University’s long-term sustainability. We will stand with you every step of the way in this battle.

In solidarity,

Colleen Burke
USW Local 1998
(University of Toronto) 
Kelly J. Orser
USW Local 2010
(Queen’s University)
Liz Cherry
USW Local 4120
(University of Guelph)
District 6 Virtual Black History Month Celebration https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/district-6-virtual-black-history-month-celebration Fri, 05 Feb 2021 13:49:55 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/district-6-virtual-black-history-month-celebration Join us for an exciting Black History Month virtual celebration on February 25 at 7 p.m. ET, hosted by the District 6 Human Rights Committee.

This year has seen an important surge in activism confronting anti-Black racism and state violence as well as recognizing and celebrating the contributions of Black people and organizations. Our union is a part of this movement.

The event is also an opportunity to find out how you can play a role in your union to stand up for racial justice. All are welcome!

We’ll hear from:

Roxanne Brown, USW International VP At Large
Fred Redmond, USW International VP, Human Affairs
Yolanda McLean, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Ontario President
Mark Austin, Co-chair of the District 6 Human Rights Committee and USW Local 1998 Health and Safety officer and Recording Secretary

February 25 at 7 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. AT / 8:30 p.m. NT

Click here to register.

You can also download the poster here and help us spread the word!

Launch of District 3 NextGen Network https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/launch-of-district-3-nextgen-network Wed, 03 Feb 2021 14:26:48 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/launch-of-district-3-nextgen-network We are excited to announce the launch of our second network, the District 3 NextGen Network. 

The USW District 3 NextGen Network was created to inspire and connect all of our young members (35 and under) from across Western Canada. 

The Network will connect members to share stories and ideas, build an understanding of their important role in the labour movement, and to help grow our union. The Network will also provide opportunities for mentoring and leadership development, along with union and community activism. 

The issues and topics discussed within the Network will not always be union-related, and people can contribute whether it is work-related, political, informative, or creative. It is about bringing members together to have open discussions and conversations.

The Network will use a private Slack channel, and only members can see who is in the channel and what is posted. Slack is easy to join and offers both web and app-based access so you can stay connected wherever you are. Members can participate from the comfort of their own home or on breaks at work.  

Members must register to join the Network at www.usw.ca/D3NextGenNetwork

The Network is being coordinated by Deepak Kullar. If you have any questions about the Network, please reach out to Deepak at dkullar@usw.ca.

Stay tuned for more networks to be launched in the weeks ahead, including networks for Veterans of Steel, Political Action, and Steel Pride. 

Join the NextGen Network today!

In solidarity,


Stephen Hunt
Director for District 3

Marty Warren Statement for Black History Month https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/marty-warren-statement-for-black-history-month-2021 Wed, 03 Feb 2021 10:02:49 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/marty-warren-statement-for-black-history-month-2021 USW District 6 is pleased to continue its annual tradition of celebrating Black History month this February, virtually.

During the month of February, District 6 will acknowledge and recognize the vast contributions and sacrifices that Black workers have made toward shaping our union as well as our communities over the years. During the pandemic, District 6 continues its support for frontline health-care workers and essential workers, who continue to work each day to keep us all safe and to ensure our families have access to essential goods and services.

We recognize that there are a significant number of these important workers who are from the Black community. Their contributions during this unprecedented time are greatly appreciated.

The United Steelworkers union believes in diversity and equality and will work earnestly to eradicate all forms of discrimination within our workplaces and communities. We will continue to work with our political leaders to ensure meaningful progress is made to achieve this goal.

Please join our District 6 Human Rights and Women of Steel Committees on February 25 to celebrate this important month, virtually. We will also celebrate the election of Kamala Harris in the U.S. – the first American female Vice President of Black and Asian descent!

RSVP for the February 25 District 6 Black History Celebration
7 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. AT / 8:30 p.m. NT

In Solidarity 

Marty Warren
USW District 6 Director

Unity and Strength for Forestry Workers – ACT NOW! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/unity-and-strength-for-forestry-workers-act-now Fri, 29 Jan 2021 17:42:30 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/unity-and-strength-for-forestry-workers-act-now The forestry sector has always played a key role in Canada’s economic health. Now more than ever, it needs strong government action to ensure that it can continue to sustainably support workers’ families, their communities, as well as many of our public services.

Right now, thousands of USW members and forestry workers could be in danger of losing their livelihoods. Decisions are being made that could affect the future of the forestry employment industry in British Columbia.

We need to tell the government that we support a low-carbon wood industry that lowers British Columbia’s environmental footprint but that it must also protect the forestry industry and it’s viability. We are asking members and advocates to send a letter today in support of forestry workers! Even if you are not working directly in the industry, we know that the reduction in revenue and jobs will affect all communities.

Send a letter by clicking here. If you are using a phone, please remember to click on the words, “I accept Privacy Policy”.

Thank you for your support.

Quebec’s Bill 59 Is UNACCEPTABLE! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/quebecs-bill-59-is-unacceptable Wed, 27 Jan 2021 11:02:25 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/quebecs-bill-59-is-unacceptable Allegedly aimed at “modernizing” Quebec’s four-decades-old occupational health and safety laws, the proposed Bill 59 actually guts existing legislation, turning back the clock on workers’ rights and protections. Bill 59 is Unacceptable flyer.
The bill, introduced in October by the conservative Coalition Avenir Québec government, is now under review in the Quebec National Assembly.

Quebec’s existing legislative provisions on workplace health and safety prevention cover less than 12% of workers in the province. Steelworkers and Quebec’s labour movement have been advocating for these measures to be extended to all workplaces. Instead, Bill 59 proposes to weaken existing safeguards, while also gutting other workplace health and safety provisions.

“This ‘reform’ would lead to a prevention regime that exists on paper only. It would weaken the ability of unions to force employers to ensure real prevention in the workplace. The real impact of on-the-ground prevention would be diminished and the compensation would be cut for injured and ill workers,” Steelworkers Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux said in condemning the proposed reforms.

Please see this page for videos and detailed information on the USW District 5 campaign against Bill 59 (in French).

Please see this page for information on the Quebec Federation of Labour campaign against Bill 59 (also in French).

Download the flyer in PDF.

Workers in a Pandemic Need More Than Being Told to ‘Just Stay Home’ https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/workers-in-a-pandemic-need-more-than-being-told-to-just-stay-home Tue, 26 Jan 2021 12:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/workers-in-a-pandemic-need-more-than-being-told-to-just-stay-home This article was originally published in iPolitics on January 26, 2021

“We’re all in this together.” It’s the political slogan of the pandemic. Yes, it sounds nice at first, but the truth is, we’re not all in this equally. Many people, families, and entire communities are being hit much harder by COVID-19 than others.

Of course, most of us can agree that the best way to get through this crisis is for all of us to follow expert medical advice, but that’s a lot easier said by the prime minister at a podium than done by a great many workers across Canada who are often left behind by his government and can’t just choose to “stay home.”

In the 10 months since the federal government’s first major COVID announcement, families have struggled to balance working from home with online learning, front-line workers have isolated themselves from loved ones, essential workers have put up with insufficient protections at work, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs altogether, and the horror we’ve seen play out in long-term care homes screams for attention.

But, in the same 10 months, despite supportive words, the Liberals have been slow to offer, deliver, and extend much-needed supports. From the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Wage Subsidy Program to federal paid sick leave, time and again, even the flawed programs the government has eventually offered have only come because NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his team pushed it to act.

When the first shutdowns began, the Liberal government planned only small changes to employment insurance. But the NDP, which was urging a universal direct payment for everyone, pushed the Liberals to introduce, double, and then extend the CERB. The NDP and the labour movement also pushed the Liberals to increase their proposed wage subsidy from 10 to 75 per cent. And it was the NDP that fought for, and won, increased supports for students, seniors, part-time and gig workers, and people living with disabilities.

Now, as COVID spreads in workplaces ranging from warehouses to health centres, to help flatten the curve, the Liberal government must follow the NDP again. It needs to listen to a growing number of voices across Canada — from workers to medical experts — and expand and extend its program for paid sick leave.

Last spring, while Singh was saying paid sick leave should be made available to all workers — not just those who have good benefits packages — so that no one would have to choose between going to work sick and paying the bills, Trudeau repeatedly dismissed the idea, saying it wasn’t his responsibility.

Months later, in exchange for the NDP’s support on an important vote, the government finally agreed to introduce 10 days of paid sick leave for workers across the country through the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). The program is temporary and limited to COVID, but it’s the first time in Canadian history that a national sick-leave plan has been offered to public- and private-sector workers right across the country. Since then, the government has done too little to make sure people can access the program, or even know it’s there for them to use.    

The prime minister must expand and promote the CRSB and protect those who use it. And he can show leadership by giving all federally regulated workers 10 paid sick days. Then, he could rightly call on the provincial and territorial governments to do the same.

In the fight against COVID, arguments between the federal and provincial governments will get us nowhere. Neither will slogans from politicians, unless they’re backed up with action.

Making sure all workers have the ability to stay home and still pay the bills if they’re sick is a big step in the right direction, and could be a turning point in finally flattening the curve.

Ken Neumann is the national director of the United Steelworkers union in Canada, which represents 225,000 workers across the country.

Ken Neumann Statement for Black History Month https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/ken-neumann-statement-for-black-history-month-2021 Mon, 25 Jan 2021 09:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/ken-neumann-statement-for-black-history-month-2021 In our union’s proud history of promoting and supporting equality, Steelworkers celebrate Black History Month each February. 

During Black History Month, Steelworkers celebrate the accomplishments of Black Canadian people in society, acknowledge the achievements of activists in our union and encourage Steelworkers to continue the struggle for equality. We recognize that despite advances in equality, racism has played a historic part in our national experience.

Since the murder of George Floyd in the U.S. in May last year, there has been international mobilization against racism and anti-Black racism. In recognition of this activism, Steelworkers have created the USW National Anti-Racism Working Group. Drawn from membership and staff selected by each district, the National Anti-Racism Working Group will consult with and help our union develop initiatives against racism in all its forms. The National Anti-Racism Working Group will begin its work in 2021. 

In support and celebration of Black History Month, Steelworkers can become activists and allies by:   

  • Joining the New Democratic Party, whether federally or provincially, to contribute to the elimination of racial discrimination
  • Creating a Human Rights Committee in your local or unit by using the mandate in the USW Constitution’s Article VII, Section 12
  • Working with organizations such as the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)
  • Standing up and speaking out on your own against racist behaviour and comments in our communities and workplaces 

The principles of equality are essential to Steelworkers solidarity in our workplaces and social justice in our communities. I ask all Steelworkers to join me in celebrating Black History Month this February. Beyond that, I urge you to always continue the fight for equality.

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
National Director

Why Hundreds Were Infected at the Cargill Meat Plant https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/why-hundreds-were-infected-at-the-cargill-meat-plant Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/why-hundreds-were-infected-at-the-cargill-meat-plant The Cargill meat plant in High River Alberta has been the Canadian workplace with the highest incident of COVID-19 infection. A worker has died and the RCMP has opened an investigation into his death. The legal responsibilty of employers to protect their workers or face criminal charges has been the focus of a United Steelworkers campaign called 'Stop the Killing. Enforce the Law'. An interview with the Western Canadian Director of the USW, Stephen Hunt.

Also in RadioLabour's Canada Report for the week of January 17 - 22, 2021:

  • An interview with UFCW Local 401 communications officer Michael Hughes.
  • "Stop the Killing. Enforce the Law", USW's Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt
  • The LabourStart Report about union events 
  • And singing: "The Westray Mine Song"
Launch of District 3 Women of Steel Network https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/launch-of-district-3-women-of-steel-network Thu, 21 Jan 2021 15:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/launch-of-district-3-women-of-steel-network We are excited to announce the launch of the District 3 Women of Steel Network!

The USW District 3 Women of Steel Network is an opportunity for all sisters who want to connect with other sisters within their local and across Western Canada. This is not a committee and is open to all sisters to join. 

The Network can help address issues that affect working women. Being able to discuss issues women face in day-to-day tasks or at the workplace with others that can relate or have similar experiences can help build solidarity. The issues and topics discussed on the Network will not always be union-related and sisters can contribute whether it is workplace-related, political, informative, or creative.

The Network will utilize a private Facebook group and only members of the group can see who is in the group and what is posted. Sisters can participate from the comfort of their own home or on work breaks and can attend any speaker events or group chats. 

Sisters must register to join the Network at www.usw.ca/d3wosnetwork. The first 100 sisters to register will receive a limited-edition scarf featuring both the traditional Rosie the Riveter as well as a Modern Rosie image. 

We will be holding an official virtual launch on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 6:30 pm Pacific Time. We will be joined by Sister Carol Landry to help launch the Network and sisters are encouraged to register as soon as possible with the Network to receive more details.

The Network is being coordinated by Ginette Hoogeveen (Talbot) and Tara Cavanagh. If you have any questions about the Network, please reach out to Ginette, ghoogeveen@usw.ca, or Tara, tcavanagh@usw.ca.

Join the Women of Steel Network today!

In solidarity,

Stephen Hunt
Director for District 3

Donna is Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/donna-is-raising-the-bar-on-womens-health-and-safety Tue, 19 Jan 2021 09:37:17 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/donna-is-raising-the-bar-on-womens-health-and-safety Late last year, the USW launched an important new campaign: Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety. Local union leaders and activists are off to a running start in 2021.

Meet Donna Wingrove: she is the Financial Secretary for USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke, Ontario, where she works at Stelco. In advance of International Women’s Day, Wingrove is planning a Saturday morning “Raising the Bar” event on March 6 for all women members. She’ll do a short presentation about the campaign and go through the Inspection Checklist, a resource created to help women members facilitate discussions with health and safety representatives in their workplace. 

Fortunately, the local’s hall is big enough to maintain a safe physical distance, and the local can offer participants individually packaged lunches. (This is all assuming Ontario is no longer in a state of emergency.)

For other local unions where this isn’t possible, some are turning to online training and presentations. Is your local union, health and safety committee or women of steel committee interested in Raising the Bar? For more information, please contact:

District 3: Ed Kent – ekent@usw.ca 
District 5: Julie Hébert – jhebert@metallos.ca
District 6: Sylvia Boyce – sboyce@usw.ca

Stay tuned for more reports about what local union activists are doing to Raise the Bar!

December 2020 SHF Update https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/december-2020-shf-update Wed, 13 Jan 2021 13:42:06 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/december-2020-shf-update In November 2020, after eight years of struggle, SITRATERNIUM (Ternium International Guatemala Workers’ Union) finally got its first collective agreement at international steel giant Ternium’s Guatemala plant. The Steelworkers Humanity Fund played a key role in this important achievement.

Machinerie Laurin’s Laval Unionized Workers Choose United Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/machinerie-laurins-laval-unionized-workers-choose-united-steelworkers Tue, 12 Jan 2021 15:26:21 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2021/machinerie-laurins-laval-unionized-workers-choose-united-steelworkers Laval, Tuesday, January 12, 2021 – The forty or so workers employed by Machinerie Laurin in Laval have opted to join the United Steelworkers (USW). These workers manufacture industrial metal containers for waste materials. 

They made the decision to withdraw from another trade union organization, the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (Congress of Democratic Unions), in order to join the Steelworkers Local 2008. The new union certification was granted at the beginning of January. 

"The time had come for us to change unions. Our voice was no longer being heard within the old union and the services had ceased to meet our needs. We are proud to have joined the United Steelworkers, a union that has evolved in keeping with the new workplace realities and has quickly adapted during the current pandemic," stated Marc-André Magnan, a representative of the group of unionized workers.

Negotiations will continue with the support of the United Steelworkers and will be based on the aspirations of the 40 or so new USW members. 

"We are very pleased to welcome the Machinerie Laurin workers into the larger USW family. Steelworkers place a high value on connections with members. A union is first and foremost the members who are in it," said USW Organizing Co-ordinator Mario Denis. 

Affiliated with the FTQ (Quebec Federation of Labour), the Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers is the largest private-sector union in Quebec, representing more than 60,000 workers in all sectors of the economy. 


Source: Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers (FTQ)

Information: Clairandrée Cauchy, 514 774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca 

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