Who We Are
Today's USW leaders carry on the visionary leadership of predecessors who guided the union to its present position as a strong and democratic union.
1942 - 1952
Philip Murray, a coal miner at age 14, was named by United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis to head an organizing drive in steel as chairman of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC). In 1942, the founding convention of the United Steelworkers of America named Murray the union's first president.
David J. McDonald, becoming president upon Murray's death in 1952, helped bring about the 1955 merger of the AFL and CIO and also led the union through its historic 1I6-day strike.
1965 - 1977
I.W. Abel was instrumental in passage of landmark legislation such as OSHA and ERISA, the pension reform act, and in reaching an Experimental Negotiating Agreement with major steel producers that curtailed nationwide strikes in return for guaranteed wage increases and cost-of-living adjustments. He also helped to guide the merger of the International Union of Mine and Smelter Workers with the USWA.
1977 - 1983
Lloyd McBride confronted massive changes impacting the steel industry and launched the fight against imports that were destroying the jobs of thousands of Steelworkers.
1983 - 1993
Lynn R. Williams, becoming President upon McBride's death, led the USWA through the most difficult period in the history of the union and the American labor movement. His innovative leadership in bargaining resulted in creation of the Institute for Career Development, Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations (VEBAs), and financing through contracts for the Stand Up For Steel coalition, as well as securing corporate board positions for Steelworkers' representatives.
1993 - 2001
George Becker became President upon Lynn Williams' retirement, and launched the struggle to save the North American steel industry and combat the failed trade policies that had triggered the crisis in the industry. He expanded the union's organizing effort and created Rapid Response, the most effective member-lobbying program in the American labor movement. Under his leadership, the union concluded mergers with the United Rubber Workers and the Aluminum Brick and Glass workers.
1999 - 2005 (PACE)
Boyd Young became President Emeritus of the new USW after the historic merger of the United Steelworkers with the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE). He was President of PACE prior to the merger and before that International President of the United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU). Earlier in his career, he was President of UPIU Local 801 at an east Texas paper mill, Eastex Inc.; a UPIU international representative covering Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi; and director of UPIU Region 6.