First-Ever Organizing Conference Draws Activists

Organizing Conference 2019: Day 4 Workshops

The USW’s first-ever conference on organizing was a resounding success.

“You’re the future of our union,” International President Leo W. Gerard told the 115 USW members who attended the conference, held from June 22 to June 25 in Pittsburgh at the International Headquarters. 

The conference attracted a noticeable number of younger members who were chosen by their District Directors and the union’s Organizing Department to lead an expanding effort to organize new members in existing, traditional and emerging industries and sectors.

“Your union has the best and the brightest, the people most willing to stand up, the people most willing to learn,” Gerard said.

There were learning opportunities in external, internal and advanced organizing. External campaigns typically target employers or job sites where there is no union. Internal organizing seeks to build support for the union in represented workplaces where not all workers are members.

In addition to Gerard, the conference heard from International Vice President Tom Conway, who succeeds the retiring Gerard this summer; International Vice President Fred Redmond, District 4 Director John Shinn, who is in line to become Secretary Treasurer, and Directors Mike Millsap and Emil Ramirez.

The officers thanked the participants for giving their time and energy to growing the union and helping others reach the American Dream.

“This is our calling. We can do better if we do it together. Collective bargaining is all of us standing together side by side, trying to make a better life for our families and a better country for all of us,” Redmond said.

“Not only are we going to grow our union, we’re going to grow the movement of workers in this country who will be able to live with dignity and respect. That’s what we’re all about.”

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