Part 2: Labor and Elections

Last month we wrapped up our Election Connection newsletter by sharing language from a resolution on Political Action (Resolution No. 14), which was adopted at our union’s first Constitutional Convention in 1942.

Pictured: Delegates to the first-ever United Steelworkers of America Constitutional Convention.

While 80 years have passed, the intent and urgency of Resolution No. 14 is as relevant today as it was during that founding convention. Part 2 of our Labor and Elections series is dedicated to explaining why that is the case.

In 1942, the nation was struggling to piece together a foundation upon which the American Dream could be built following the Great Depression. At the same time, the vast majority of countries around the globe, including the United States, were involved in or affected by World War II.

While our nation has grappled with a different set of challenges in recent years, working families are dealing with many of the same struggles we faced nearly a century ago.

Most Americans were dealing with poverty, poor health, inadequate housing and dangerous workplaces with almost no end in sight. That is, until workers got organized in state and federal elections and helped elect enough allies in government who worked to advance pro-worker legislation, including:

  • the National Labor Relations Act, which established the right of private-sector workers to join unions;
  • the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established child labor laws and assured the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay;
  • the Social Security Act, which helped Americans’ retire in their mid-60s, nearly eradicating poverty among the elderly;
  • and other laws that improved workplace safety standards, guaranteed unemployment insurance and more.

Our union insisted these legislative victories were only the beginning, and thus included in Resolution No. 14 the pledge to help elect “representatives, regardless of political faith or allegiance, who have demonstrated that they may be relied upon to back the full objectives of labor.”

Further, Resolution No. 14 urged all unions affiliated with the CIO and the AFL to “undertake joint action through the nation in conformity with this pledge.”

In other words, at our founding convention, the USW made the case for the establishment of a permanent, concerted effort within the labor movement to organize workers and our families to achieve greater power at all levels of government.

Today, that structure is known as Labor 2022, and next month the USW will officially launch the Labor 2022 campaign to elect lawmakers who will support workers, no matter their party affiliation.

The Labor 2022 campaign mobilizes Steelworkers to talk with other working people across industries – including autoworkers, plumbers, nurses, teachers and more – to build solidarity and encourage political action that advances workers’ rights.

Everybody in. Nobody out.

Solidarity has always been at the heart of our movement, and so has political action.

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