USPA History

The United Steelworkers Press Association (USPA) is a free service resource organization consisting of local union newsletter editors, web masters and communicators dedicated to improving the union's ability to get its message to the members and the public. We are staffed by the Steelworkers New Media Department and governed by an elected board of directors, consisting of rank-and-file representatives.

The organization was started in 1966 at a two-day meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. when the USWA International Executive Board issued a statement authorizing the USWA Public Relations Department to establish an association of editors which could govern and assist local union publications.

On September 16, 1966 the first conference was opened by Raymond W. Pasnick, USWA Director of Public Relations. The keynote address was issued by USWA President, I.W. Abel. On September 17, the first USPA Executive Board was elected by members, and a Code of Ethics was adopted.

At the Biennial Conferences in 1972 the United Steelworkers Press Association (USPA) established the Howard J. McCartney Award to encourage and inspire local union editors to pass the Union's message down through the ranks. The award was to be presented every two years to a deserving local union communicator in the truest sense. 

At the 1998 Biennial Conference, the membership voted to change the elected body from a president and six regional vice presidents to a president and twelve district vice presidents.

In the year 2000, the first Raymond W. Pasnick Award was awarded at its biennial conference in Las Vegas. Named after the late Ray Pasnick, it was to be presented every two years to local unions for editorial excellence by circulation size category. In that same year, the USPA launched a special web site for members only. The USPA Infonet was established as a downloadable Web site to enable union communicators to obtain information, photos, graphics, etc. for leaflets, newsletters and Web sites.

In 2002, the Michael R. Enos Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in Web site design was established. The award would be presented to the USPA Local that excels in their local union web site development in honor of Mike Enos, the USWs first webmaster.

In 2005 at the International Constitutional Convention the USPA, which had been an independent organization, voted to join with the USW and become part of the Steelworker family.

At the 2006 Biennial Conference held in Pittsburgh, the members voted to change the title for vice president to USPA District Communication Coordinator.

In 2008, the USPA Executive Board was reduced in size from 13 District Communication Coordinators to seven coordinators.

In 2012, the United Steelworkers introduced the New Media Department. Director Connie Mabin and the New Media staff welcomed the chance to assist in honing the talents of communicators and to introduce new social media skills to USPA and USW members.

Over 150 delegates attended the 2013 USPA Training Conference making it the largest attended conference in over 15 years. Participants gave a thumbs-up to the three days of exceptional training that included special guest speakers such as AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, Curator for Upworthy Brandon Weber and the Director of the Political Leadership Project for Wellstone Action Sujata Tejwani. The conference concluded with the presentation of 17 awards by United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard which included a new award for social media.

Plans are already under way for the 50th Anniversary Conference which will be held in 2016