#USWFamily: Abel’s Daughter Donates Historical Items

Karen Abel-Jones, daughter of I.W. Abel, USW President from 1965-1977, and her Grandson Greg Jones recently visited USW headquarters in Pittsburgh to meet with members of our Executive Board to donate historical items and papers to our archive museum.

Abel played a key role in diversifying the industries we represent by facilitating the 1967 merger with the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers and the 1972 merger with District 50, Allied and Technical Workers. He was known for being instrumental in making the USW a leader in fighting unfair trade, which continues to be part of our union’s core work.

Abel was also instrumental in the passage of landmark legislation such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and served on the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which concluded that poverty and institutional racism were key factors in the violence that occurs in U.S cities.

“He wasn’t a large man but he had a huge, boo­­ming voice, and boy did he use his voice,” said Abel-Jones. “We had to share my father with the union and the world, but when we had him all to ourselves it was magical, and he made sure we really had him all to ourselves by taking a break from work.” 

During Abel’s term as President, current USW International Vice President, Dave McCall, was a young union activist at his local union. 

“I remember that he was such an inspiring leader, and really took the time to share history and knowledge with me as I was coming up through the ranks,” McCall said. “It’s an honor to be able to welcome his family into our headquarters, the I.W. Abel Building.” 

There’s no doubt the magnitude of impact Abel continues to have on our union as we continue to work on issues he was at the forefront of like trade, retirement security, suitable wages for our workers and more. 

“He would be so proud of how the union has grown and continued the work he dedicated his whole life to. I know he’s smiling down,” said Abel-Jones.

I.W Abel artifacts

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

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