Resolution No. 3: Everybody's Union

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WHEREAS, Canada and the United States share a proud history of a strong middle class, economic security and living standards built on the productivity and solidarity of organized labor; and 

WHEREAS, as USW members we are committed to the core principles that anyone who wants to work should have a job; that all workers and their families should live in dignity with health care and retirement security; that every worker – regardless of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation – should enjoy the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively; and that all workers should share equitably in a strong economy; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that there is a place for every worker in our union and will continually fight so that all our members have safe workplaces, secure retirements and wages sufficient to support families and communities; and

WHEREAS, the Covid-19 pandemic caused massive disruptions to our society, proving just how essential our work is and how much all workers need a voice on the job, as we sacrificed to ensure our nations had the resources they needed to survive the crisis; and

WHEREAS, we worked together to keep each other safe and make sure that the burden of the pandemic did not disproportionately fall on working families, even as it shined a light on the desperate need for reliable child care and universal access to affordable health care; and

WHEREAS, the Striketober and Great Resignation movements demonstrated how precarious and exploitative our systems of labor too often are and how workers are prepared to take collective action to improve their jobs and their lives; and

WHEREAS, in the United States we witnessed a direct attack not only on our Capitol but on our entire democracy, as opportunistic individuals sought to perpetuate and harness rampant misinformation to undermine our elections; and

WHEREAS, in Canada a small group, influenced by far-right forces, occupied our federal capital, harassing local workers and residents for several weeks, in the name of “freedom”; and

WHEREAS, during the pandemic the richest individuals accumulated even greater wealth, exacerbating longstanding economic imbalances and a widening gulf between the very rich and everyone else; and

WHEREAS, in both Canada and the United States, we continue to work with our national, federal, provincial and state leaders as we pursue our priorities, including affordable health care, retirement security, and workers’ rights, while never backing away from protecting our core values; and

WHEREAS, infrastructure investments present a badly needed opportunity to grow our industries and build safer communities using union-made goods and services; and

WHEREAS, we will always fight for Buy American and Buy Canadian provisions to promote quality products that support fair labor standards and protect good-paying jobs, despite local authorities who make excuses for using foreign products for major infrastructure projects and procurement needs; and

WHEREAS, bad trade deals and the so-called free markets have left us vulnerable to foreign dumping and subsidization, putting American and Canadian jobs at risk, destabilizing our economies and further necessitating the diligent enforcement of trade laws and the development of new trade policiesand trade remedy laws; and

WHEREAS, we believe that while the market is an effective way of creating and delivering products, citizens have certain social and economic rights that we must fight to maintain, including the right to form unions; and

WHEREAS, through our organizing efforts, we continue to extend the benefits of collective bargaining to more workers, empowering them to negotiate for their futures and build economic security for themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS, we take our values and vision to the bargaining table to build safer workplaces with fair wages, benefits and workplace rules. The collective action we take across sectors builds bargaining power, while departments like Strategic Campaigns help local unions face elevated bargaining challenges by honing their negotiating and advocacy skills. These factors combine to help us make gains that benefit union and non-union workers alike; and

WHEREAS, we prioritize clear and effective communication between our members as the bedrock of our solidarity while striving to increase our union’s media presence to combat dangerous misinformation and demagoguery; and

WHEREAS, through our union-wide education efforts, we provide the resources to arm members with the information and skills needed to confront challenges in their workplaces and communities while becoming stronger leaders to fight for a better future; and

WHEREAS, programs like Women of Steel, SOAR, Steel Pride, Veterans of Steel and Next Generation build activism and demonstrate that there is a role for every member and every voice inside our union; and

WHEREAS, legislative and political processes in Canada and the United States continually demand our attention and involvement – from Ottawa to Washington – our members’ interests are advanced through the collective efforts of our leadership, staff, and members. We fight against bad trade deals and so-called “right-to-work” legislation, just as we fight for retirement security, anti-scab legislation, card check certification, stronger safety provisions and a guarantee that the voices of working families are heard in all aspects of state and local government; and

WHEREAS, in the United States, our union demands that trade laws be enforced. We pursue innovative cases in many industrial sectors to defend our members’ jobs when they are threatened by illegal and unfair trade, initiating and winning major gains that have saved jobs in sectors ranging from steel to tire to paper; and

WHEREAS, in Canada we oppose bad trade deals, and we are well on our way to securing the right for unions to initiate unfair trade cases in Ottawa, because it is workers who ultimately suffer the consequences of unfair trade practices; and

WHEREAS, we utilize our education and activism networks, such as Rapid Response in the United States, to engage USW members in key legislative fights and to ensure that our members understand the policy implications of workplace issues; and

WHEREAS, we have expanded our influence by creating new organizations with key partners like the BlueGreen Alliance, Blue Green Canada and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Our work in the policy arena is magnified through these relationships and has helped us become the leading voice in Washington and Ottawa for a clean energy economy and a revitalized manufacturing sector, helping secure our members’ jobs now and in the future; and

WHEREAS, as union members, we work globally for livable wages, safe working conditions and decent benefits, from the sweatshops of Jordan to the mines of Mexico, as well as in workplaces across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. We use our collective strength, bargaining ability and international relationships, and we acknowledge that a threat to one is a threat to all; and

WHEREAS, we believe that our communities largely define who we are, and healthy communities develop when we care for each other, treat people fairly, keep them safe and help them achieve; and

WHEREAS, we rely on our diversity and inclusivity to make us a force greater than the sum of our individual parts; and

WHEREAS, we take on this challenge to preserve what the labor movement has fought for, what countless workers have died for and for what we believe our countries can become.


  1. We will be everybody’s union, a union that always fights for social and economic justice in order to build better lives for all. People who work hard should earn family-supporting wages. Reducing economic inequality is not only right; it is at the core of sustaining our economies.
  2. We will help every worker who wants to join a union access their legal right to organize. We will work to bring new members into our union, in every sector of the economy, and to ensure that our fellow workers across every industry and demography can receive the well-documented benefits of a union contract while also increasing our bargaining power through increased density.
  3. We will push to establish full employment, rejecting the notion that stagnating wages are the new norm. We will be a union that works hard for legislation that facilitates organizing so that all workers have the opportunity to bargain collectively.
  4. Our union will work in Canada and the United States to facilitate robust investments in our physical and social infrastructures and to ensure those investments draw on the goods and services we already provide, creating good jobs, strengthening our long-neglected supply chains and building healthier communities.
  5. We will always advocate for better health care and retirement security for all citizens.Security and dignity in retirement and access to quality medical care are fundamental, universal rights, regardless of an individual’s economic circumstances.
  6. As a union, we will continue to fight to ensure that all levels of government are properly financed and empowered to ensure quality public services and education; provide effective regulation of our workplaces, marketplaces and economies; and protect us from environmental degradation. Governments at all levels have important roles to play in providing essential services, defending the vulnerable, encouraging environmental sustainability, facilitating economic growth and ensuring a fair and just society. We must have a progressive tax structure in which corporations and the wealthy also pay their fair share.
  7. Our union will support regulations on the financial sector and insist on corporate accountability.As long as our economic policy puts the interests of corporations before the interests of working people, corporate short-term profiteering and financial speculation will jeopardize our economic future.
  8. Trade agreements must include enforceable protections for workers and the environment as well as prohibitions against child labor, forced labor, sweat shops, illegal subsidies, currency manipulation and other forms of unfair and illegal trade. We will fight to protect domestic jobs and eliminate tax incentives and loopholes that encourage corporations to invest abroad. Together, as a union, we will promote a global economy in which the rights of all workers and the environment are protected, trade is fair and balanced and trade agreements do not undermine the rights of sovereign governments or ignore the impact of globalization on workers and the environment.

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