Leeann Foster

Leeann Foster

International Vice President

Leeann Foster took office as USW International Vice President in 2019 and was reelected to a full term in 2021. Before this, she served the union as Assistant to the International President and Associate General Counsel. She has served the union for more than 25 years.

As International Vice President, Foster oversees more than 550 locals and more than 30 paper bargaining councils in the USW Paper Sector to further the coordinated bargaining approach that now dominates the industry. Her efforts focus on implementing the council-wide agreements in place at the major paper companies, while also seizing opportunities to cement across the industry this approach enabling all locals within a company to speak as one at one bargaining table.

Foster also leads the Making and Converting Paper Safely program to build worker-focused health and safety programs in the paper sector. Central to her agenda is building a program to organize more box facilities into the union.

She co-chairs the IndustriALL Global Union Federation Pulp and Paper Sector Working Group to represent USW paperworkers’ interests at a global level. She also works on trade and policy issues confronting the U.S. paper industry and brings the workers’ perspective forward.

In addition, Foster oversees the USW Women of Steel Leadership Development Program, and the USW Women of Steel Department reports to her.

Foster first came to the United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU) as an attorney and became the executive assistant to UPIU President Boyd Young. During her time with the UPIU, she administered key departments for the union and assisted Young in the merger to form the Paper, Allied-Industrial and Chemical Workers International Union (PACE). Foster was key in forming the National Paper Bargaining Program to confront fractured bargaining in the paper industry and in developing PACE’s National Rapid Response Network for legislative action. She also was integral in the merger with the USWA to form the USW.

She serves as an elected commissioner in Mt. Lebanon, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb.

Foster worked in the USW paper sector at Longview Fiber Company (now WestRock) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where her father was an officer and is now a retired 45-year member of USW Local 11-436. She is a graduate of Coe College and Drake Law School.