Solidarity Works Podcast



Full Steam Ahead: Restoring Domestic Shipbuilding

In 1975, the United States was a leader in global shipbuilding. The industry employed 180,000 workers who built more than 70 commercial ships in American shipyards.

In the early 1980s, that changed as federal spending on domestic manufacturing was slashed and foreign competitors like China employed predatory practices to dominate the industry.

Of course, the USW isn't letting this go without a fight. In this episode, we talk to USW Sub-District 1 Director Jamie Walker about the union's campaign to restore domestic shipbuilding.

Direct Download | Episode 56 Link


Health and Safety Wins in Washington

More than 80 years ago, U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins identified silica dust as a deadly hazard. Finally, this past April 16, MSHA, through the Department of Labor, issued a final rule reducing silica dust exposure to better protect America’s miners.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, also clarified a rule in another major victory for workers this month to ensure workers are able to choose their own representative to join OSHA agents during workplace inspections.

Today, we’re talking with two USW health and safety experts about both of these new rules’ impacts and how the union has been fighting nonstop to keep workers safe, and will continue to do so in the future.

Direct Download | Episode 55 Link


The Future of Solidarity: Next Gen Activists Take the Lead

The USW’s Next Gen program saw its humble yet historic beginnings in a resolution at the International union’s Constitutional Convention in 2011. It endorsed the training and development of younger Steelworker activists to take on increasingly greater roles in their local unions, their governments and their communities.

Since then, young and newer members of the USW across the United States and Canada have answered the call to become activists, and we're talking with three of them for our latest episode. 

They'll share how they became involved in their local unions, what they believe is currently driving young workers to organize, and why they believe the labor movement’s future is bright because of the next generation’s diversity.

Direct Download | Episode 54 Link


Tackling Two-Tier: Workers Unite and Dismantle Divisive Wage Systems

When late International President Tom Conway took the helm of the USW in July 2019, he made a promise that his administration would work to reduce or eliminate tiered wage and benefit systems in union contracts. Many USW locals have heeded late President Conway’s call and made great strides in eliminating these tiered systems in recent years. Today we’re talking with USW Vice president Luis Mendoza about how members in the paper sector have done just that, including workers at WestRock, America’s second-largest packaging company. We’re also talking with Chris Frydenger, who works at a brass foundry in Illinois, about how his local was able to beat back a two-tier system implemented in 2016.

Direct Download | Episode 53 Link


Saving Maxo Vanka: USW Members Preserve Historic Murals

When Croatian painter and immigrant Maxo Vanka first visited Pittsburgh in 1935, he fell in love with the steel town and developed a friendship with Father Albert Zagar of the St. Nicholas Croatian Church in Millvale. Zagar longed for color on his church’s plain walls, but he didn’t want the usual imagery found in most religious houses. He knew Vanka was the perfect artist for the job. Vanka then painted 25 individual murals that cover every inch of the church, and today, artists and activists, including members of the USW, are working to preserve the historic art to its original glory. Today we’re talking with two of these members who are dedicating their time and expertise to saving these murals and what they mean for Pittsburgh and the labor movement as a whole. Learn more at:

Direct Download | Episode 52 Link


Union-Made Holidays: USW Gifts to Last a Lifetime

Members of the USW across the U.S. and Canada make the highest quality products in their industries, from Bulleit Bourbon distilled in Kentucky and All-Clad cookware handcrafted in Pennsylvania to clothing spun in Portland, Maine, at American Roots and Custom Foam pillows fabricated and molded in Ontario, Canada. Today we’re speaking with several USW members about the products they and their union siblings make and why these products are the ideal gifts for the labor supporter in your life.

Direct Download | Episode 51 Link


We're Made for This: USW Members Serving in Local Politics

Check out the latest episode of USW Solidarity Works to hear from two union members who have stepped up to run for office in their communities. You’ll hear about what inspired them to make these moves and why union activists are uniquely equipped to serve in local government to be a voice for workers and families.

Direct Download | Episode 50 Link


America's Nuclear Legacy: Cleaning Up the Past, Powering the Future

Members of the United Steelworkers union are known for being masters of production. On top of creation, we also help repair damage done in the past to ensure our communities can thrive in the future. We do this by cleaning up toxic nuclear sites to protect local residents and wildlife, and we conduct vital tests for various nuclear sector needs. 

In the latest episode of Solidarity Works, we talk with Jim Key, who heads the USW Atomic Workers Council, about what the sector looks like today and what’s to come. We’ll also hear about the different sites we represent and the role our members play in cleaning up America’s toxic legacy.

Direct Download | Episode 49 Link


Organizing the South: Why It Matters and How We Do It

This May, members at electric bus manufacturer Blue Bird in Georgia voted to join the USW. Then, in August, members at Kumho Tire, also in middle Georgia, ratified their first contract after a years-long battle to have their voices heard. Check out the latest USW podcast episode to learn how these historic campaigns happened and why they matter not just for the South but for the entire country.

Direct Download | Episode 48 Link


Taking Charge: Health Care Workers Seize Their Safety

This week, nearly 200 USW members who work in the vast and diverse health care sector are gathering in Pittsburgh for their first Health Care Workers Council Conference since 2018. A lot has changed in the industry over these past five years, not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of automation, short staffing, and skyrocketing rates of workplace violence.

Health and safety has quickly become one of the top priorities for the sector's workers, and USW members especially aren't waiting for employers to protect them. They're taking matters into their own hands.

In our latest episode, we hear from two members and conference attendees, Kim and Casey, who are using the collective strength of the union to make positive changes in their workplaces in order to keep themselves and their co-workers safe and supported on the job.

Direct Download | Episode 47 Link


Unionism on Turtle Island: Indigenous Peoples and the Fight for Reconciliation

For this episode of Solidarity Works, we’re talking with two USW members who are currently serving as Indigenous Engagement Coordinators for the union’s District 3 and 6 in Canada. Listen to learn about how they’ve been reconnecting to their Indigenous roots and how local unions can make a difference in making sure their Indigenous members not only survive but thrive within their communities and workplaces.

Direct Download | Episode 46 Link


Jobs for Justice: From Prison Chaplains to Public Defenders

When Sean Gardener, a Buddhist chaplain in Canada, first walked into the prison where he would be providing spiritual care to people behind bars, he expected to feel nervous or fearful. Instead, he felt at home.

Listen to our latest episode of Solidarity Works to hear from Sean, along with a public defender in Pennsylvania, talk about working in the criminal justice field and share their experiences as USW members.

Direct Download | Episode 45 Link

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222