Janet Baic Looks to Engage Next Generation of Women Activists at Local 9548

When Janet Baic first started working at Tenaris Algoma Tubes in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, in 2013, she was only one of a handful of women at the Canadian pipe manufacturing facility.

Now, in 2024, an influx of women at the plant is bringing a sense of revival to Local 9548’s Women of Steel (WOS) committee.


Figure 1: Janet Baic pictured on far right

“Out of the nearly 700 people in the union, I don’t even know how many women we have,” said Baic. “I’ve lost count, actually.”

Baic is using this opportunity to breathe new life into the local’s WOS committee and engage more of the women in union work.

“The focus for us right now is spreading the word to all of these new women,” Baic said. “I was also able to give each of them the USW guide on Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety, which is super helpful.”

Baic said these types of resources are necessary for women who have jobs like hers—laborious,  dirty, and sometimes dangerous.

“There are some issues that only women see and experience, so having that support is vital.”

Baic also acknowledged the importance of creating a space in the movement specifically for women, making the WOS program a no-brainer for the activist and committee chair.

“It can be very healing for us to talk about what we’re going through or have gone through,” said Baic.

One highlight from Baic’s involvement with the WOS committee occurred last year on International Women’s Day, when she hosted a family-friendly movie night at a neighborhood theater.

“A lot of members brought their children, and a lot of folks started talking who had never talked before,” said Baic.

The committee also assists a local organization with Tampon Tuesday, a campaign that occurs each year in March. The members donate hundreds of dollars of menstrual hygiene products, which the organization provides to those in need.

Baic’s advice to women who feel alone or hesitant to get involved in the union is to simply reach out.

“If you don’t have a Women of Steel committee in your local, find another local that does and ask them for help,” said Baic. “We all need community.”

Click here to access the action guide on women’s health and safety.

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