1980s

1980
Five women in Hamilton file an Ontario Human Rights Comission complaint to force Stelco to hire women production workers. These were some of the best-paying, most-prestigious industrial jobs in Canada. The 'Women Back Into Stelco' victory by the Steelworkers created a new legal standard and forced not just Stelco but every other industry to begin hiring women. More broadly, it challenged the gender division of labour and undermined the idea of ‘feminine’ work.

1980s
The first Woman of Steel committee is formed in Canada at Local 2900 by shop stewards Nancy Farmer and Bev Brown. It was rare in industrialized workplaces for women to play leading roles in the union, but the progressive union executive created a culture of respect in the workplace for women and LGBTQ people. These courageous activists like Nancy and Bev helped shift the culture within our union to accept women and LGBTQ people as fellow trade unionists.

March 29, 1984
Lynn R. Williams elected USWA President, the first Canadian to head an international AFL-CIO union.

1985
Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees and the Humanity Fund are created.