Veterans of Steel Council meets for first time, establishes goals for USW vets

Several dozen USW members and staff who served in the armed forces in the United States and Canada made history today with the first-ever meeting of the new Veterans of Steel Council.

The council, which included representatives from the union's districts and staff, gathered under the leadership of International President Tom Conway, who served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force before he began his union career. They spent the day brainstorming and setting goals for moving forward our work to improve the lives of their fellow veterans.

The veterans’ council, established at the our most recent constitutional convention, brought a wealth of experience and ideas to the discussion, which included topics such as ideal contract language for veterans’ issues, increasing funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, placing qualified veterans in good union jobs, helping veterans in both countries deal with mental health and other issues, and publishing a resource guide for vets who are union members, among other topics. 

2019 Veterans of Steel Council Meeting

Conway welcomed the delegates to Pittsburgh for the meeting and reminded them that the Veterans of Steel program was intended to grow from the local level, rather than being a top-down project. He urged the council members to reach out and connect with other veterans as much as possible “both inside and outside” of the USW, including by doing community service projects that help veterans. Goals included engaging veterans in the union and communiity, educating and advocating for veterans issues in both the United States and Canada, and providing a variety of resources for Steelworker vets and their families, including help with PTSD.

"There's a reason all of you are in this room," Conway said. "We want to learn from you and for you to learn from and help veterans in our union and in our communities." 

Will Attig, executive director of the AFL-CIO's Union Veterans Council, also joined the meeting where he said veterans make up almost a quarter of the labor movement and have unique needs as well as a lot ot offer, including strong leadership skills. "Unions veterans have passion and purpose," he said.

Veterans who are interested in participating in the program can sign up here to get more information and receive a free Veterans of Steel sticker. Members can also text VET to 47486.


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