In the days before the United Steelworkers’ last Convention, unemployment was low in the United States and Canada. The countries’ economies were humming. The United Steelworkers union was negotiating what would be some of the best agreements ever with steelmakers. It was the summer of 2008.
Just a few weeks after the Convention, however, the stock market crashed. The grave recession began in the United States and quickly spread to Canada and the rest of the world.
From the outset, right wingers tried to blame the crisis on workers and succeeded in making them pay.
The USW defended manufacturing jobs from unfair and illegal exports. The USW filed and won trade case after trade case. And the union mounted aggressive campaigns to rebuff right-wing attempts to terminate collective bargaining rights and corporate attempts to ignore life-threatening hazards in industries.
It has been an exhausting but essential effort. It is what Steelworkers do: stand up to the challenge, smack down the oppressors. That work continues. Stand and fight!
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