National Director for Canada
The USW International Executive Board appointed Ken Neumann as National Director for Canada in 2004 following the retirement of Lawrence McBrearty. Neumann was reconfirmed as Canadian Director in the 2005 and 2009 International elections.
Born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, Neumann was a teenager when he first joined the USW, at Local 5890 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Later, Neumann’s activism and leadership flourished within USW Local 4728 in Regina, where he began as a steward and eventually was elected president of the local. He was an instructor, organizer and then president of the USW Regina Area Council before being hired as a United Steelworkers staff representative in 1977. Neumann earned a personal reputation for strong service to USW members in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
Neumann was elected USW District 3 Director in 1989 and won every subsequent district election until his appointment as Canadian Director in 2004. Neumann increased the USW’s involvement in the labour movement in Western Canada, expanded organizing activity and renewed the district’s focus on political action, fighting for worker-friendly laws and helping elect several New Democratic provincial governments.
One of Neumann’s first achievements as National Director was his instrumental role in the USW merger with the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada in 2004. Under Neumann’s leadership, the union has signed strategic alliances with the Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Canadian Region of Communications Workers of Canada, Environmental Defence and the Telecommunications Workers Union.
Neumann’s commitment to political action culminated in the spring of 2011 with Steelworkers playing key roles in the New Democratic Party’s historic breakthrough in Canada’s federal election. The union helped elect 103 NDP Members of Parliament – including two Steelworkers. As the official opposition in Parliament, the NDP is now Canada’s “government-in-waiting.”
In 2010, Neumann launched a National Organizing Project to give more Canadian workers a collective voice in their workplaces. The USW has organized more than 16,000 new members in Canada since 2008.
Neumann holds key positions in numerous Canadian and international organizations, including the Canadian Steel Trades and Employment Congress (co-chair), Steelworkers Humanity Fund (president), Steelworker Trusteed Benefit Plan (president), the International Metalworkers Federation and ICEM (director), the USW Non-ferrous Industry Conference (secretary), United Dominion Industries Conference (chair) and the Canadian Labour Congress (general vice-president).
One of Neumann’s passions is fighting for the dignity and independence of injured and disabled workers. He is co-chair of the National Institute for Disability Management and Research, and he recently helped develop Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences, the first university of its kind.
USW Canadian National Office
234 Eglinton Avenue, East - 7th Floor
Canada M4P 1K7
1.416.487.1571 - Telephone
1.416.482.5548 - FAX