Shop Steward

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Red text on a white circle with an outer blue edge with white text and two white stars

Curl Text MADE IN U.S.A. union bugs
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A shop steward is an employee of a company who represents the labor union and its interests. They are typically voted into their position and serve as a critical link between company management and the union. Shop stewards are responsible for ensuring companies’ adherence to regulations and brokering collective bargaining agreements.

The United Steelworkers was an up-and-coming national labor union in the 1940s. It represented an amalgamation of various smaller unions from the American iron, steel, and tin industries. At the outset, the United Steelworkers had 46,000 members, but the union’s membership quickly ballooned to over a million by 2005. The 1940s represented a particularly tumultuous time for the union as workers striked numerous times to win their right to collectively bargain. Workers eventually secured higher wages and paid vacations, but only after they followed through with their threats to walk out. During the 1952 steel strike, things got so out of hand that President Harry Truman intervened and nationalized the American steel industry to push back against the laborers. Truman’s drastic action was later found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the landmark case, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer.


AFL-CIO Alaska. (n.d.). Shop steward resources.

Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer. Cornell Law School.

United Steelworkers. (n.d.). Our history.

Catalog ID CL0497