TORONTO, Sept. 21 /CNW/ - With over 1,000 delegates expected, the United
Steelworkers (USW) International Women's Conference at Toronto's Sheraton
Centre Hotel Sept. 23-26 is expected to be the largest gathering of working
"Local union women from all sectors of the USW in Canada and the United
States are expected, and we are reaching beyond our borders with women
attending from unions across the globe to make for a truly international
conference," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.
"Our conference theme, "Women of Steel: Building Power, Taking Action",
reflects the activist role of USW women," said USW Assistant to the President
Leeann Anderson, who is also the conference chair. "Strong unions need women,
and it is clear that women in every nation need strong unions. We will
highlight the critical role women play in the USW, how society and governments
are failing women and working families, and what actions we can take as trade
unionists to build awareness and power for change."
The conference centres on engaging women in the work of the union, skills
enhancement, global solidarity and political action. Workshops will focus on
building participants' skills so they can be even more effective union leaders
International guests from South Africa, Mexico, Sweden, Brazil, Chile,
the United Kingdom and Germany will discuss how to improve working conditions,
stop worker exploitation, improve work-life balance and other issues that
affect women in their daily lives.
"These women know that in today's global economic society that solidarity
must reach across nations to the furthest regions of the world," said Women of
Steel Director Ann Flener. "We must talk with each other, compare situations,
and learn best practices from each other's experiences."
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John
Edwards, and Vancouver MP Libby Davies, Labour Critic for the New Democratic
Party (NDP), will be two of the featured speakers.
USW President Leo W. Gerard will address delegates on Monday, Sept. 24,
followed by Davies. Gerard will speak about the Protect Our Kids - Stop Toxic
Imports international campaign the union is unveiling in Canada the next day.
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, Edwards will speak, followed by former USW
President Lynn Williams. US National Labor Committee Executive Director
Charles Kernaghan and journalist Arianna Huffington will speak on Wednesday,
At around 6 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 26, conference participants will
engage in some political action on the streets of downtown Toronto, aimed at
getting out the vote for the Oct. 10 Ontario provincial election. This will be
followed by a Women's Vote Breakfast, with special guest Ontario NDP Leader
Throughout the four-day event the Sudbury Women of Steel Choir will
The USW is the largest and most diverse industrial union in North
America, representing more than 850,000 men and women working in every sector
of the economies of Canada and the US.
For further information:
For further information: Lynne Baker, (615) 828-6169