The United Steelworkers announced changes in its leadership as a result of a series of retirements, including Canadian USW International President Leo W. Gerard and Vice-President Carol Landry.

The United Steelworkers announced changes in its leadership as a result of a series of retirements, including Canadian USW International President Leo W. Gerard and Vice-President Carol Landry.

“The decision to announce these changes together will ensure that a capable and experienced group of trade union leaders will hit the ground running as a team,” said Gerard. “It will also pave the way so that the union continues to be on solid footing and that the transition is seamless and serves the best interest of our membership.”

Gerard will be replaced by Tom Conway, who has served as a USW International Vice-President since 2005.

Gerard served the USW for more than 50 years. He began his career at age 18 in the mining industry in his hometown of Sudbury, Ont., and has since held a series of positions in the union, guiding it to what it is today. He spent his life fighting for working families and labour rights across the globe, and his impact as a labour leader in North America is immeasurable.

Gerard worked as union staff representative and ultimately became a District Director, the National Director for Canada, International Secretary-Treasurer and finally in 2001 the USW’s International President.                                                    

During his time with the union, Gerard has been a constant, strong and credible voice for the USW in both Washington, D.C., and Ottawa. He has testified on innumerable occasions on behalf of the union’s membership and their jobs, families and communities.

Gerard served on variety of advisory councils and task forces, setting policy and relentlessly defending workers during his presidency. Under his leadership, the USW formed the first global union, Workers Uniting, and built global labour alliances around the world.

Gerard intends to remain active in the labour community but has largely decided to enjoy his well-earned retirement and looks forward to spending more time with his wife and family.

“There are few labour leaders who can match Leo Gerard’s record and commitment in leading the fight for good jobs, for workers’ rights and for social justice in Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world,” said USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann. “His leadership will be missed but he is leaving behind a strong union, well-positioned and ready to confront the challenges ahead.”

Carol Landry is retiring after serving as USW International Vice-President-at-Large since 2008. She became the first woman to serve on the union’s executive board,  bringing with her years of experience as a labour activist and negotiator in a career that began in Canada in 1986.

Landry has been responsible for the union’s nuclear and chemical sectors and served as co-chair of the USW’s Next Generation program. She also served as Vice-President of the IndustriALL Global Union and spearheaded programs encouraging women to take leadership roles in the union.

Filling Landry’s seat will be Roxanne Brown, who currently serves as USW Legislative Director in the union’s Washington, D.C., office.

Throughout these changes, the USW remains a progressive and powerful voice for workers in the United States and Canada and around the world.

“Our union is changing and becoming more diverse,” said Gerard. “We represent more different kinds of workers in more and more sectors, and our board is changing to reflect that growth. The USW is committed to bringing forward the next generation of labour leaders and to provide the tools, training, and opportunity they will need to succeed.

“These changes in leadership do not mean we are shrinking from any of our longstanding commitments. Rather, these new leaders are redoubling our promises to them and to our mission to always fight for the working class. The new team brings vast experience and knowledge of our industries and issues and will continue the proud traditions the union has always stood for.”

“While we will miss our colleagues,” said Conway, “we recognize their desire to move into new phases of their lives, and we wish all the best for them. They have left behind a solid and stable union, and for that, we thank them.”