We Are Women of Steel
Since the establishment of the United Steelworkers (USW), women have been an integral part of the organization. And, while female activism within the union has always been recognized, it wasn't until the Women of Steel Leadership Development Course in Canada was developed in the mid-1980s that women firmly established their identity within our union.
Many historical factors have influenced this growth: more women entering the workforce; expansion of the industries represented by the union; affirmative action; and, automation of work previously restricted to heavy physical male labor.
The first Women of Steel resolution was introduced at the 26th USW A Constitutional Convention in 1992. It stated that: women are first-class citizens in our union and in the labor movement as well as in the workforce and in society. Gender equality was defined as a union issue, a source of strength and solidarilty .
Diversity in our Union
Women of Steel today encompass a diverse set of activities, issues and initiatives within the USW that are directed at propelling women into activist roles at all levels of the union. With their involvement and energy, the culture of the USW continues to grow and advance working women's issues as part of its regular agenda.
Many women's issues are mainstream union issues and concerns. They include pension and retirement security, affordable health care, better pay, paid leave for family and medical needs, job security and more control over work hours.
Women bring an additional perspective to the issues and add to the list of potential solutions Women also bring new issues to the union agenda that represent the needs of working women. They include balancing work, family and union involvement, opening opportunities for women to hold an equal status in their union, eliminating violence and sexual harassment and being mentored into leadership positions by both women and men.
Women are more than ever helping to shape our Union and as we grow the roles of women, we expand our diversity. USW leadership will continue to expand the roles of women and welcome their diversity.