USW Builds Global Solidarity with Swedish Workers

Members and leaders of the Swedish industrial and metalworkers’ union IF Metall traveled to Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA to meet with USW members and leaders last week.  IF Metall is Sweden’s second largest union representing workers in key industrial sectors including the plastics, pharmaceutical, steel, chemical, and auto industries. 

During the visit, union officials discussed differences in labor laws and social programs in North America and Sweden. In sharp contrast with the United States , Sweden provides free healthcare, eldercare, pensions, and other social benefits to its citizens and roughly 90% of workers are covered by a union contract   

The Swedish delegation also met with members of USW Local 9999 which represents employees at Sapa in Cresona, PA. IF metal represents Sapa sites in Sweden and a union member sits on the board of directors of the Norwegian-based company. In Pittsburgh, Steelworker organizers and the IF Metall delegation discussed opportunities for new organizing at Swedish-based companies operating in the United States and Canada.  Leaders of IF Metall and the USW noted the strong and productive social partnership between unions and employers in Sweden and committed to working together to ensure that Swedish employers operate with the same forward-thinking collaborative approach while operating in North America and around the world. 

Photo of IF Metall delegation with USW International President Leo Gerard and Secretary Treasurer Stan Johnson

From left to right: Stan Johnson, USW Secretary Treasurer, Mikael Nilsson, OHS coordinator at Trelleborg and IF Metall representative on the company board; Magnus Palmgren, IF Metall project coordinator; Leo Gerard, USW International President; Anna Fernebro, member of IF Metall executive board and union representative at SWEP International; Johnny Wismén, regional OHS coordinator and representative of IF Metall at Fagerhults 

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