International and national leaders
Thomas M. Conway
Thomas M. Conway
Thomas M. Conway was elected by the International Executive Board to succeed retiring International President Leo W. Gerard as leader of the United Steelworkers (USW), the largest industrial union in North America, effective July 15, 2019.
Previously, Conway served as International Vice President (Administration), a position he held since March 1, 2005, when he replaced Andrew “Lefty” Palm, who retired. Conway was re-elected four times, most recently in November 2017.
Conway grew up in a union family in New Jersey. His father was an active member of the International Union of Operating Engineers. His mother worked in a brush factory, where she successfully organized a union and negotiated labor contracts.
After serving four years in the U.S. Air Force and attending a trade school for airframe and power plant mechanics, Conway was recruited by Bethlehem Steel in 1978 to work at its Burns Harbor Works, along Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana. He joined Local 6787 and quickly became a union activist.
Conway was working as a millwright in the coke plant and acting as a union griever for maintenance workers in 1979 when Bethlehem, pummeled by imports in an economic downturn, announced its first plant-wide layoffs at Burns Harbor.
Having noticed work crews were heavily stacked with non-union contract employees, Conway devised a plan to reorganize work to avoid layoffs of union maintenance workers in the coke operations.
“The use of contractors in the mills was excessive. I was stunned by it. I couldn’t figure out who worked for Bethlehem Steel and who were contractors. We were all just mingled together. Finally I got down to a core group of guys,” he recalled.
“The industry was turning, and they were all talking about this layoff. I remember saying the company has two work forces, us and them. And when the time comes to go, it’s not going to be them that goes. It will be us – unless we do something about it.”
The company agreed to implement Conway’s plan to preserve union jobs. Conway also sought help from the International and former General Counsel Bernie Kleiman, who put together a longer-range strategy to use grievances to recover jobs lost to outside contractors.
When the layoff came that year, no union members in the coke operations got pink slips. The story that Conway saved jobs roared through the rest of the mill like wildfire.
“That to me was a real turning point,” Conway said. “I sort of cut my teeth on contracting out.”
In addition to grieving, Conway served on the safety committee and chaired the contracting-out committee. He worked closely with International Vice President Dave McCall, who was then vice president of the local and chair of the grievance committee.
Conway joined the union’s International staff in 1987, and again in 1989 after a brief return to the local. As a staff representative, he serviced Burns Harbor and other steel facilities and got involved wherever he could at national bargaining tables, notably with National Steel, Bethlehem and U.S. Steel.
In 1995, former International President George Becker appointed Conway to serve as Secretary of the Basic Steel Industry Conference (BSIC). In that position, Conway was responsible for developing bargaining strategy and directing the union’s trade and legislative efforts at the state and local levels. He was the union’s lead voice in collective bargaining efforts during turbulent steel cycles for more than two decades.
An Asian economic crisis at the turn of the century led to massive dumping of unfairly and illegally traded foreign products into the U.S. market, which, in turn, forced nearly 50 steel companies to seek protection in bankruptcy courts between 1998 and 2002. Conway played an important role in the humane consolidation and restructuring of the industry, including the merger of National Steel into U.S. Steel in 2003. His efforts saved jobs and pensions.
For nearly a quarter century, Conway has demanded that the government enforce U.S. trade laws to prevent importation of unfairly traded, subsidized and dumped products that damage American industries and destroy good-paying American jobs.
Conway has lobbied leaders in Washington, D.C., and testified numerous times before Congress and the International Trade Commission (ITC) in pursuit of stiffer penalties for trade violators and infrastructure investment that would create jobs by requiring contractors to use American-made products.
In 2003, Conway testified on behalf of USW members who work in the rebar industry and in 2015 for members who work in the hot-rolled steel industry. He has also testified before the House Steel Caucus about China and other trading partners overproducing steel, dumping their illegally subsidized products in the United States and devastating the American steel industry.
Conway has worked with domestic steel producers to achieve tariffs that have rescued many companies from bankruptcy and liquidation. He has worked for the antidumping and countervailing duties that protect American jobs in steel, aluminum, rubber, mining, paper and other major sectors. And he has fought trade agreements that put the interests of corporations and millionaires ahead of workers.
Conway directed “Stand Up for Steel” lobbying campaigns in cooperation with the industry that later evolved into the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), founded in 2007 with the mission of strengthening American industry. AAM collaborates with employers and lawmakers to fight unfair trade, create jobs and support domestic production.
During his 14-year tenure as International Vice President, Conway became the union’s most experienced contract negotiator in steel, aluminum, oil and other major industries where USW members work, often directing bargaining during crises.
“Bargaining is really the heartbeat of the union. Everything else we do is in furtherance of getting a collective bargaining agreement for our members, and that is our core work,” he said.
“But a trade unionist should grow outside the two covers of their contract book to understand the importance of things around them. PAC (the USW Political Action Committee), Next Gen, Women of Steel and the other programs all come together to make sure you can get decent labor agreements. That’s the key to growing the union.”
Conway chaired negotiations with ATI, a specialty steel company that locked out 2,200 Steelworkers at 12 mills in six states on Aug. 15, 2015. Under his leadership, the USW ran a successful “fight back” campaign and reached an agreement to end the labor dispute seven months later, after the NLRB issued a complaint declaring the lockout illegal for its duration.
Conway also has directed USW negotiations with AK Steel and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. since 2006. He played a central role in achieving the Trade Act Section 421 tariff relief in the tire industry against the flood of unfairly traded tires from Asia.
Conway led talks with U.S. Steel in 2008, 2012 and 2015, when the industry was on the verge of crisis again because of illegally traded steel. In 2018, with the industry improving, USW members under Conway’s leadership successfully fought off concession demands and ratified a new four-year agreement covering 16,000 workers that significantly increased pay and included a signing bonus.
After settling with steel, Conway turned to negotiations with the oil industry. With Conway’s guidance, the USW oil workers reached a three-year contract in January 2019 that advanced wages, health and safety, and fatigue management. Quality health care was maintained, and the deal contained no retrogression on contract items the union had gained over the years.
Also in 2019, Conway is leading bargaining in the troubled aluminum sector, including with Alcoa and spinoff Arconic, as well as bargaining efforts in specialty metals such as titanium.
Conway was instrumental in developing the Institute for Career Development (ICD), a contractually negotiated benefit for eligible members and participating employers.
Established in 1989, the ICD is a joint labor-management training program in which members can participate in self-directed learning opportunities on their own time.
The ICD offers a wide range of courses at 65 locations in the steel, tire and rubber, glass, container and utility sectors. Currently 16 companies participate.
Conway is the eighth President of the USW.
Marty Warren was elected as United Steelworkers National Director for Canada, as of March 1, 2022, representing the union’s more than 225,000 Canadian members. He succeeded Ken Neumann, who retired after serving as USW National Director for 18 years.
Prior to his election as National Director, Warren served as USW District 6 Director for nine years. Throughout his career, he has built a well-earned record as a consensus-builder who doesn’t shy away from tackling the daunting challenges facing the union movement, USW members and all working people.
“Canadian families are facing some of the toughest economic and social challenges we have seen in generations. Our working and living standards are under constant attack by corporations and right-wing politicians who do their bidding,” Warren says.
“Our union, and the labour movement, must fight back like never before. We will cultivate an environment that develops our next generation of activists and leaders. We will engage and empower our members, their families and all Canadians to be politically active.
“When we mobilize, we will be loud, determined and relentless in what we believe is right and just. We will work together with our political allies to push governments at all levels for change that makes life better for workers and that builds stronger communities.”
The son of a unionized ironworker, Warren has been a labour activist for three decades. He joined the United Rubber Workers (URW) in 1984 while working as a tire builder at the BFGoodrich Tire plant in his hometown of Kitchener, Ontario. Within a year, he was elected to his first local union position as a shop steward, and quickly earned a reputation as a gutsy and determined activist, leading several sit-downs and in-plant protests.
In 1991, by which time his local had grown to more than 1,000 members, Warren was elected to his first executive board position. The following year he rose to Vice-President of his local and held the position for six years. It was during this period that he also became a proud Steelworker as a result of the 1995 merger of the USW and United Rubber Workers.
Warren became president of USW Local 677 in 1998 and led the local for six years, a challenging and often turbulent period that included three labour disputes at the BFGoodrich plant. He was hired as a full-time USW Staff Representative in 2004, and in April 2012, he was appointed Assistant to the District 6 Director.
As National Director, Warren has pledged to a proactive and collaborative leadership approach to build on the USW’s unmatched legacy of defending workers’ rights and fighting for social and economic justice.
“Leadership is the challenge of bringing people and ideas together, respecting each other’s differences, and making decisions that build solidarity and encourage and support our current and future activists. It is about constant change, ensuring our union evolves, doing the hard work required to meet our members’ expectations, needs and hopes for a better future,” he says.
“It is with an overwhelming sense of responsibility for our members, our union and our communities that I have the honour to serve as the United Steelworkers National Director for Canada.”
Connect wth Marty!
District leaders and chairs
Scott Lunny is the newly elected Director of USW District 3, representing members in the largest geographic district of our international union, covering Canada’s four western provinces and its three northern territories.
After earning a degree in industrial relations from the University of British Columbia, Lunny began a career as a labour, social justice and political activist in 1994. He worked for a decade for the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA) as a national staff representative, researcher and communications officer. He served as a senior staff and policy advisor to the president and executive officers and developed, implemented and oversaw a major organizing recruitment program, including budget and supervision of campaigns and staff.
Lunny became a proud Steelworker in 2004 when the IWA merged with the USW. He was actively involved in the planning and implementation of the historic merger. He went on to work as a USW staff representative and key staff for several years, working with the USW Wood Council on forest policy issues and coordinating numerous legislative and political campaigns.
In 2008, Lunny attended the Harvard University Trade Union Program and was appointed Assistant to the District 3 Director. For over a decade, Lunny oversaw many activities and key files on behalf of the 50,000 members in the district. He actively worked with staff and local unions on bargaining, organizing, training, political action and other member services.
Lunny was a key coordinator and was involved in negotiating the merger of the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) to welcome over 12,000 members to the USW. Since 2020, he has worked closely with the national local to support staff, provide mentorship and build a stronger future for the members within the United Steelworkers union.
In November 2021, Lunny was elected as District 3 Director during the USW International Executive Board election. He now serves as part of the union’s 26-member International Executive Board led by Thomas M. Conway.
As a long-time political activist and social democrat, Lunny served five years as Vice-President of the British Columbia New Democratic Party (BC NDP) and has been active with Steelworkers Vote and lobbying campaigns for the district.
He is actively involved in his community, serving as President of the Union Protein Project, a non-profit initiative created by unions and the United Way to support food banks and advocate for food security. He is also a nationally certified youth baseball coach and a long-time volunteer in local minor baseball programs.
Lunny lives in Richmond, B.C., with his spouse, Nina, and three sons, Aidan, Gavin and Owen.
Dominic Lemieux became the USW District 5 (Quebec) Director in April 2020, and he was re-elected in 2021. He was appointed as Assistant to the District 5 Director in 2016 and before that, he worked as the USW Regional Co-ordinator for Quebec’s North Shore region.
A native of the Bas-Richelieu region of southwestern Quebec, he is the father of two children, Alexandre and Francis.
Lemieux is the vice-president of the Quebec Federation of Labour (Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec) and a member of the board of directors of the federation’s development capital fund, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Quebec’s workplace health and safety agency, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, as well as the Institut national des mines du Québec, which supports and advises the government in its responsibility for education in the mining sector.
Since 2021, Lemieux has been actively involved with a working committee for Milieux alliés contre la violence conjugale, a campaign which engages employers and unions to be allies in ending domestic violence.
Following his studies in mining, he began his career in the gold mines of Quebec’s Abitibi region, then went to work at the Stelco steel plant (now ArcelorMittal) in Contrecoeur. He quickly developed an interest in workplace health and safety and became an activist on the USW Local 6951 executive board.
Lemieux was appointed as a USW Staff Representative in 2008. He travelled throughout Quebec as a member of the union’s organizing team. He has led major negotiations with multinationals such as Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Lafarge, ArcelorMittal, Glencore and many others. He was a servicing representative for Local 9490 members at the Alma aluminum smelter who were locked out by Rio Tinto but eventually won a collective agreement that restricted the use of sub-contractors. He also was the servicing representative for one of the largest USW locals in North America, Local 8922, which represents over 16,000 private security workers across Quebec.
Lemieux holds a certificate in workplace health and safety from the University of Montreal and completed the Harvard University Trade Union Program. He earned a graduate degree in industrial relations and coaches student teams in collective bargaining competitions.
Lemieux chaired the Quebec Federation of Labour’s Youth Committee from 2007 to 2009 and played a key role in a lengthy campaign that in 2018 led to a legislated ban on two-tier pension and benefit plans in Quebec workplaces. Under his leadership, Quebec Steelworkers have led a campaign for legislative reform to better protect workers’ pensions and benefits in corporate bankruptcy proceedings.
With a passion for the art of negotiation, Lemieux is constantly seeking to advance the rights of workers, unionized and non-unionized, in workplaces and society at large, in the courts and within governments at all levels.
Recognizing that the union’s strength comes from engaged members and activists at the local level, he is committed to mobilizing grassroots members to union activism, not only during collective bargaining, but at all times, notably in the union’s political and social action campaigns in Quebec.
The USW District 5 headquarters are in Montreal.
Myles Sullivan is the newly elected Director of United Steelworkers (USW) District 6, representing more than 74,000 USW members and 50,000 retirees across Ontario and Atlantic Canada. He previously served as Assistant to District 6 Director Marty Warren, a position he held since September 2019.
Sullivan has been a labour, political and social justice activist and, above all, a proud Steelworker, for more than a quarter-century. Born and raised in the northern Ontario gold mining community of Kirkland Lake, he joined the USW in 1995 after he was hired by mining company Falconbridge Ltd. (now Glencore) in Sudbury. He soon became active in the union, taking on roles including health and safety rep and steward before being elected chair of his 350-member bargaining unit within USW Local 2020.
Sullivan was hired as a USW Staff Representative based in Sudbury in 2007. Early in his tenure, he was the servicing staff representative for Local 6500, as members weathered their 361-day strike against Vale, working with some 3,500 families standing in solidarity against the mining giant. His direct involvement in the historic, year-long strike was a defining experience in his life and career.
“The strike highlighted the tremendous solidarity and fighting spirit of our members, who fought like hell to resist the destructive, anti-union agenda of a massive, multinational corporation. And it crystalized the necessity for the USW to continue our efforts to build community, labour and political alliances, at home and around the world,” Sullivan says. He carried many of the lessons from the strike with him as he went on to bargain major collective agreements, particularly with multinational corporations.
In 2013, Sullivan was appointed USW Area Co-ordinator for northeastern Ontario and served six years in the position before relocating to Toronto as Assistant to the District 6 Director.
An ardent proponent of member engagement and education, Sullivan credits many of his successes fighting for workers’ rights to the Steelworkers’ unmatched member-to-member education and training programs.
Throughout his career, Sullivan also has demonstrated a passion for working-class political activism. His commitment to social democratic principles includes serving nine years as a vice-president of the Ontario NDP.
Sullivan officially assumed the role of USW District 6 Director on March 1, 2022.
Past Canadian directors
Charles Millard led fellow workers out on strike in order to win the first contract in Canada between an auto manufacturer and its workers in 1937. The CIO recognised Millard’s talent for organising, and appointed him to be the first head of the Steel Workers Organising Committee (SWOC). At the founding convention of the United Steelworkers, Millard was named the first Canadian National Director. He later served as an elected Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario and was a founding member of the New Democratic Party.
Bill Mahoney worked at the Algoma Steel plant, where he led the then independent union to join the SWOC. During his tenure, tens of thousands of workers joined the Steelworkers in factories across the county. Beyond organising, Mahoney is regarded as an early fighter for Canada’s universal health care system. He helped set up a non-profit health clinic in Sault Ste. Marie – a radical idea at the time. Mahoney later became the first labour leader to be named a member of a board of a university and won the Order of Canada.
Gerard Docquier became the first francophone elected Director. Docquier joined the Steelworkers while working at Pirelli Cable and became a Staff Representative in the 1950s. His groundbreaking “Back to the Locals” education program energised a new generation of union members. Docquier fought against the manufacturing crisis of the 1980s, spearheading the creation of the Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress (CSTEC), which brought together members of the United Steelworkers and steel companies. A champion for international solidarity, he is a founding member of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund, and made the union a more inclusive space with his “Everyone’s Union” policy. Docquier was awarded the Order of Canada in 1991.
Leo W. Gerard
Leo W. Gerard
Leo W. Gerard is the son of a miner and went to work himself in a smelter in Sudbury at the age of 18, while a university student. While his tenure as Canadian Director was short, Gerard’s influence on the global union movement is unprecedented. Following his term as USW National Director, he became the international union’s Secretary-Treasurer. In 2001 he ascended to the union’s top role, and served as USW International President for 18 years, retiring in 2019. Gerard led the creation of worldwide networks of unions to build solidarity and bargaining strength among workers at multinational companies. He also led the labour movement in holding corporations accountable, filing trade sanctions against foreign companies who skirted the rules. The New York Times called Gerard the “No. 1 scourge of free traders.” Gerard received an honorary doctorate of law degrees from the University of Guelph and Laurentian University in recognition of his contributions to social justice.
Lawrence McBrearty worked as a miner in Murdochville and was elected to be a local union President at the age of 28. A champion against globalization andneo-liberalism, McBrearty led the fight to amend the Canadian criminal code so that boards of directors, owners and operators could be held criminally responsible for workplace injuries or fatalities. The historic act was adopted by Parliament in 2003 and is named the Westray Law, in memory of the 26 miners who lost their lives in a preventable explosion. After his tenure as Director, Lawrence served as a board member of many steel industry associations and he was awarded a Ph.D. degree Honoris Causa from l’Université du Québec in 2004.
Ken Neumann served as the USW National Director for Canada from 2004 to 2022, being reconfirmed in the role in the 2005, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2017 international elections. Born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, Ken was a teenager when he first joined the USW, at Local 5890 in Regina, Sask., and then later Local 4728. He was hired as a staff representative in 1977, elected District 3 Director in 1989, and won every subsequent district election until his appointment as National Director in 2004. Ken had an instrumental role in the USW merger with the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada in 2004. Under Ken’s leadership, the union has signed strategic alliances with ACTRA National (the Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists), the Canadian Region of Communications Workers of Canada, Environmental Defence, the Telecommunications Workers Union, Unite Here, the Canadian Football League Players’ Association and the Ontario Taxi Workers Union, as well as creating many international alliances, such as Workers Uniting – with Unite the Union in the U.K. and Ireland, and Mexico’s Los Mineros.
One of Neumann’s passions has been fighting for the dignity and independence of injured and disabled workers. He is co-chair of the National Institute for Disability Management and Research and he helped develop Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences, the first university of its kind.