Gerard said he was humbled “that you’ve given me the chance to lead what’s still be the leader of the greatest union on Earth.”
He said we should be proud of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Steelworkers of America and our founders who risked everything to win the rights we have today.
“They battled hired thugs and scabsscabs and thugs. They stood down national guardsmen hell bent on breaking their strikes. They even stood their ground against cops that shot them dead on picket lines on more than one occasion,” Gerard said, bringing more than 2,000 to their feet. “And yet, in spite of all that, they prevailed.
“Their power was – as ours still is – the greatest power ever known: it is the power of our unity.”
President Gerard lauded the union’s activism and diversity, explaining that our union is made up of workers from steel, paper, rubber, mining, oil, telecommunications, glass, health care, higher education, aluminum, paper workers, minersoffices, public sector and public safety.
“All of us are the same at heart – dedicated, as our founders were, to the belief that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect t.and to be able to support themselves and their families at a living standard that allows them to hold their heads high. We’re all proud USW members,” he said.
Gerard recounted battles in the United States in Canada that are putting our union rights at risk and unfair trade costing Steelworker jobs. The power of unity has been what’s helped the union lead on 81 trade cases, several bargaining challenges and attempts to divide us over politics.
“The day is done when any politician – of any party – can get our support with a promise and a pat on the head,” Gerard said. “So listen up candidates from every party, left or right in Canada and USA: .
If you’re not willing to give us your full support, don’t expect to get ours.”