Resolution No. 1: Our Past Leaders

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WHEREAS, we have gathered again for this Constitutional Convention to set the future course of our union, and it is fitting that we look to the past and acknowledge the foresight, courage and dedication with which former international officers of our constituent unions met past challenges; and

WHEREAS, Philip Murray (1942-1952), as the president of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, was instrumental in organizing and founding our union, and as first international president of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and as president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, shaped the basic philosophy of our union. He was a visionary force in the American labor movement who championed the principles of economic, workplace and social justice; and

WHEREAS, David J. McDonald (1952-65) focused the USWA on the importance of a bargaining agenda which included major improvements to pensions, healthcare, unemployment benefits, lay-off rights and other fringe benefits and played a key role in the merger of the AFL and CIO; and

WHEREAS, I. W. Abel (1965-1977) further developed the USWA’s strength in wage policy and membership involvement in bargaining, and was influential in the enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Pension Reform Act of 1974; and

WHEREAS, Lloyd McBride (1977-1983) guided our union during some of the darkest days of offshoring and plant closings during the first major steel collapse when our union lost hundreds of thousands of members, but still held to its principles of unity and fairness; and

WHEREAS, Lynn R. Williams (1983-1994) held the union together through the worst of times in the U.S. steel industry, and when confronted by unfairly traded imports, and  unrelenting bankruptcies and consolidations, used concession negotiations to bargain innovative employment agreements and secure for the union a seat in corporate boardrooms, management meetings and sale discussions; and

WHEREAS, George Becker (1994-2001) established a reputation for strong fighting leadership during his presidency, revitalized our political and legislative operations and founded our innovative Rapid Response Program. He led our union through a period of growth that included the USWA’s mergers with the United Rubber Workers and the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers; and

WHEREAS, Leo W. Gerard (2001-2019) led the union on a course of unprecedented activism, demanding – and winning – government action to halt a flood of illegal imports that destroyed North American manufacturing jobs and negotiating precedent-setting labor agreements. A co-founder of the labor-environmental partnership the BlueGreen Alliance, he also fought to revive the economy by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and paving the way for a cleaner, more prosperous future for American and Canadian workers. Under his leadership, the union grew through mergers including those with the Paper, Allied Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), the Flint Glass Workers (AFWIU), Industrial, Wood, and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA), the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU), and the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union (GMP); and

WHEREAS, Boyd D. Young led the United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU) (1996-1999) as president before serving as president of PACE (the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union), which was formed in 1999 by the merger of the UPIU with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW). President Young promoted progressive alliances and, with courage and foresight, led PACE to its historic merger with the USWA in 2005, before stepping down from active office to become president emeritus of the United Steelworkers (USW); and,

WHEREAS, Ken Coss, president of the United Rubber Workers; Ernie LaBaff, president of the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers; Tim Tuttle, President of the Flint Glass Workers; Dave Haggard, president of the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada; and Bruce Smith, president of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union also provided strong leadership to their unions, guiding them to merge with the United Steelworkers; and,

WHEREAS, before the formation of PACE in 1999, both Wayne Glenn and Bob Wages provided the UPIU and OCAW respectively with distinctive top officer leadership; and,

WHEREAS, throughout our history, our union and its predecessors have benefited from the dedication of many talented secretary-treasurers, vice presidents and national directors of Canada as well as district directors, assistants, department heads, technicians, staff representatives, organizers and local union leaders.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we honor our past leaders and dedicate ourselves to continuing the tradition of leadership and distinction that they have established for our great union.

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