Steelworkers, Laurentian University Honour Leo Gerard’s Legacy

SUDBURY – The United Steelworkers (USW) union is pleased to announce its support for a new student scholarship fund and lecture series at Laurentian University to honour the legacy of Sudbury native and USW International President Emeritus Leo W. Gerard.

The USW, through its Canadian National Office, District 6 Office (Ontario and Atlantic Canada) and its two Sudbury-based local unions – Locals 6500 and 2020 – along with support from the Sudbury and District Labour Council, will contribute $35,000 to the Leo Gerard Legacy Fund.

The fund will provide annual scholarships to students enrolled in Laurentian University’s Workplace and Labour Studies Program. It also will fund a lecture series at the university that will feature nationally and internationally renowned experts on issues affecting working people and organized labour.

USW and Laurentian representatives announced the creation of the Leo Gerard Legacy Fund this morning at the Steelworkers Local 6500 union hall on Brady Street. Today’s announcement, combined with the USW’s previous $200,000 donation to Laurentian’s Centre for Research in Occupational Health and Safety, represents the largest funding commitment from a trade union in the university’s 60-year history.

“I am honoured that the USW is supporting my hometown university in its mission to prepare graduates to address some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as workers’ rights, inequality and social justice,” said Gerard, who retired in July 2019 after serving 18 years as the union’s international president and more than five decades as a labour activist.

“It is important that Laurentian University continues to build its reputation as a community leader in labour-focused research that offers students exceptionally valuable skills and knowledge,” said Gerard, who studied economics and political science at Laurentian and received an honorary doctorate of laws degree from the university in 1994.

“This donation in honour of Leo Gerard – a powerful advocate for workers in Canada and around the world – will have a significant impact in expanding Laurentian’s innovative Workplace and Labour Studies program as well as supporting its workplace placement program, a strategic academic priority,” said Dr. John Peters of Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies Program.

“This much-welcomed act of generosity by the USW will enable us to prepare the next generation of labour leaders, strengthen our Arts program and advance our commitment to experiential learning within the wider Sudbury community,” Peters said.

“The Leo Gerard Legacy Fund and the USW’s donation to the Centre for Research in Occupational Health and Safety are important supports for students and their families,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

“All students should have the opportunity to pursue their studies in programs that improve their communities and promote equality at work. We hope our support will help prepare the next generation of informed, educated and active workers,” Neumann said.

“For generations our union and our members have worked closely with allies in all sectors of our society to improve the lives of working people, to fight for social and economic justice and to build stronger communities. Today we are once again building on those shared goals,” said Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director.

“We recognize Laurentian University’s commitment to education, research and community outreach on issues that are critical to working people today and to future generations,” said USW Local 6500 President Nick Larochelle. “We are proud to support this mission.”


For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Nick Larochelle, USW Local 6500 President, 705-675-3381, ext. 232
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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