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(Brighton, England) - United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today addressed some 700 delegates to the Policy Conference of Unite the Union, the largest labor union in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Unite the Union is also the USW’s partner in the two million- member global union, Workers Uniting.
Len McCluskey, UNITE General Secretary, introduced Gerard as “a friend and a kindred spirit.”
In his address, Gerard linked the economic crisis in the United Kingdom and Europe to the right-wing assault on voting rights and collective bargaining in the United States. He called for Workers Uniting members to “stand up and fight back against right-wing economic policies.”
Gerard praised President Barack Obama for supporting efforts to revive the manufacturing industry and give tax breaks to companies that bring jobs back to the United States. In describing the collaboration of the USW and UNITE on a common political and economic action programs, Gerard emphasized joint organizing and bargaining campaigns. He also proposed linking union-supported think tanks in the United Kingdom and North America to develop worker-friendly policies.
Gerard thanked UNITE for its support of the 780 USW members at Rio Tinto in Alma, Quebec who have been locked out since December 30. Workers Uniting is calling on the London Olympic Committee to dissociate itself from Rio Tinto, which is producing the medals for the 2012 Olympics. www.offthepodium.org.
Gerard also praised the support of Workers Uniting for democratic unions in Colombia and Mexico.
The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments, to the public sector, service and health care industries.
For more information, see www.usw.org and www.workersuniting.org
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