United Steelworkers in Niagara Get Busy Fighting COVID-19

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) in the Niagara Region are stepping up to produce and distribute personal protection equipment (PPE) mostly to health-care workers.

In addition to a call from USW Ontario Director Marty Warren for donations of surplus PPE, USW members who hold down day jobs as well as being volunteer firefighters purchased two 3D printers and began pumping out face shields for a number of facilities in the region.

Dylan Shannon is President of USW Local 14241, which represents workers at several different workplaces, including the firefighters. He is also President of the USW Niagara Peninsula Area Council. Matt Nault is a Local 14241 member in Thorold and operates a small company with friend Mike Ruddell. That operation is idle due to the pandemic. Together with Shannon, production of the face shields takes place in Ruddell’s house.

“This began to take off after the Thorold Volunteer Firefighters Association put $150 towards 3D filament tape,” says Shannon. “One roll lasts about three days and 24/7 production can yield 25 face shields a day. A roll costs $34.50 and 100 plastic sheets costs $46. That means one shield costs 92 cents.”

The USW Niagara Area Council came up with another $2,000, which led to more donations from several other locals as well as personal donations from other USW members. The funds allowed for the purchase of three more 3D printers and increased production to 100 face shields a day.

“This effort is a remarkable example of union members giving back to their communities,” said Marty Warren. “I am more than proud of what our members are doing. They are heroes in this fight against COVID-19.”

While Ruddell is not a USW member, he is now an honorary member of Local 14241.

“We are definitely all in this together,” says Shannon. “Mike is truly one of my brothers.”

With more to come, face shields have now been produced for: Wainfleet Volunteer Firefighters; Thorold Volunteer Firefighters; Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. Catharines; Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington; various Niagara Health Systems (NHS) workers; airport security screeners.


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Dylan Shannon, USW Local 14241 President, 289-686-3467, dylan.shannon4@gmail.com
Sylvia Boyce, USW District 6 Health and Safety Co-ordinator, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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