Meet your LGTBQ+ Advisory Committee!

ANDREW REED

President, USW Local 9187
Canton, Ohio

I became involved in my Local Union about 5 years ago. I had attended a few Union meetings but was not “involved”. One day I was asked to go to a Communication and Action Committee training, and it changed my life. I saw the breakdown in communication in my Local and thought I could make it better. One year later I was elected President of my local and have just begun the journey into my second term. They say that you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but you can also be in the right place at the right time.

The USW LGBTQ+ Advisory Council is more than just a committee. It is an opportunity for our Union to expand the fight to protect every member in the workplace. People outside of the LGBTQ+ community do not often realize that an employer can fire someone just for being gay and loving who they love. In those situations, a Collective Bargaining agreement could be the only thing stopping an employer from terminating and harassing someone from the LQBTQ+ community. We can disagree on many things within the Union but standing up for a workers’ right to earn a fair day's pay for a fair day's work is not one of them.

I am hoping that the LQBTQ+ Advisory Council can help guide and improve contract language throughout the United States especially and help the Steelworkers stand up to the founding principle that everyone’s in. We must also educate and legislate to ensure that our Union Siblings and workers no matter who they love get to support themselves and their families while being treated with dignity and respect.


KATRINA FITZGERALD

USW member for 21 years
Canton, Ohio

For 15 years I worked a swing shift where working conditions were loud, dirty and dangerous. For 15 years my income and benefits were less than those I worked shoulder to shoulder with. For 15 years I opened my contract book and didn't see the same level of workplace protections for me as my brothers and sisters had. For 15 years I was a full dues paying member. For 15 years I didn’t see myself in our union.

Having and seeing contract language that is inclusive of you is a life changing!


MAYSON FULK

USW Local 2699
London, Ontario

When I initially got involved in the union a few years ago it was because I didn't see myself or my community visibly represented in our area and that's something that I wanted to change.

So I became more involved in my Local and then later with the D6 Human Rights Committee. I serve as our District’s Trans liaison, assisting members with workplace transitions and helping to educate those around them.

I hope that when people see our International LGBTQ+ Committee and the work we are doing that they feel included and valued and can feel pride knowing that their Union is fighting for them.


CHELSEY ENGEL

USW Local 3657
Pittsburgh, PA

I’m honored to be a part of this committee’s groundbreaking work in our union and in our movement. We all stand on the shoulders of giants who have paved the way for the LGBTQ+ community, like Marsha P. Johnson and Bayard Rustin, and they are why I fight for true equity and safety for my fellow queer siblings.

It’s important for LGBTQ+ workers to be able to tell our stories and share our experiences, because they are as diverse and nuanced as they are valid.

I hope being able to do more of that, along with offering educational workshops and other resources, will create the opportunity for our union to have courageous and compassionate conversations about a community that has always been here, and will continue to be here.


BRITTANI MURRAY

USW Local 3657
Pittsburgh, PA

Growing up in a Union household, I felt firsthand the direct impact of a collective bargaining agreement, benefits, and member solidarity.

After leaving college, I searched for a professional community that could accommodate my passion for worker’s issues, and issues that disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ and BIPOC lives in this country. After many years, I finally found other voices within my union, and have the privilege to work with other members of the LGBTQ+ community to amplify the needs and voices of our Union members.

This work is life-saving and life-altering. Seeing your intersection and identity represented clearly, and fought for fervently in a contract can bring safety and stability to folks' lives.

It is through this work that I get to fulfill so many of the things I set out to do when advocating for workers and marginalized communities.

I know that through inclusive education and language, this committee can help create resources that positively impact all working people and all of our member’s agreements. I want other members to know that we lift as we rise and that by being a steward, volunteering, and adding inclusive language, the lives of LGBTQ+ members, and ALL of our union siblings will flourish.