·  Statement

International Women's Day 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Women of all races, ages, and abilities are among those workers who benefit most from union membership. Left to the market alone, workers from all equality-seeking groups would continue to be marginalized. Steelworkers bargain wage rates, seniority systems and other contract provisions that refuse to discriminate against women or any group of workers.

As Carol Landry, USW International Vice President says, "International Women's Day provides our union, our members and our communities an opportunity to recognize the achievements and progress of women in the labour movement. On March 8 we celebrate our proud legacy of achievement and we renew our commitment to the continued struggle for social and economic justice for all women."

Today women's equality remains under attack: from government efforts to weaken unions, through bills C-377 and C-525; from the low-wage economy and the likes of the Temporary Foreign Worker program; and from cuts to public services.

On International Women's Day 2014, I salute USW women's committees and activists at all levels of the union. The work you do advances women's equality and rights, within the union and throughout our global society.

A Next Generation brother said it perfectly in a recent post to the international Women of Steel Facebook page: "Thank you to all of our Sisters of Steel wherever you are. Having just returned from Mexico where women's rights groups are fighting for their lives to be recognized and respected, I am so proud of the work you're doing. By promoting your action you are strengthening people all over the world."

Take this opportunity to reflect on the role of Steelworker women's committees, to join one, and to dedicate yourself to renewed action inside your committee. Our national women's committee has developed an exciting action plan for 2014-15 that highlights work on childcare and domestic violence, as well as on supporting the work of district and local union committees.

Human rights are hard-won things. And once we gain them, we have to work to keep them. Steelworker women's committees and our allies in the wider women's movement deserve our respect and support. As we sing in "Bread and Roses", "The rising of the women means the rising of us all."

Happy International Women's Day!

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
USW National Director

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