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Union bug MADE IN U.S.A. Union bug

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The United Steelworkers is a general trade union founded in 1942 and has come to represent workers in a different industries including metal, paper, chemicals, glass, rubber, heavy-duty conveyor belting, tired, transportation, and utility industries in the U.S. and around the world. The organization would start as the Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee SWOC) of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in June 17, 1936 in an effort to organize steel makers, who had mostly nonunion since the Homestead Lockout of 1892. SWOC would have its first win against U.S. Steel, who had during the Great Depression set up company unions created and controlled by management to keep independent companies out of the company. SWOC convinced many U.S. Steel workers to support independent unions leading to talks with U.S. Steel chairman Myron Taylor that resulted in a contract between the SWOC and U.S. Steel.

The SWOC would later be renamed to the United Steel Workers of America in 1942, gaining strong membership during WWII in part due decisions not to strike in exchange for government mandates to employers that spurred organizing. The USWA would fight the steelworking industry over wages, benefits and working condition in the postwar era, and led five nationwide strikes between 1946 and 1959, resulting in negotiated pensions for workers. By 1960, steelworkers were among the best paid manufacturing workers in America. The cost of these victories, however, contributed to the collapse of the American steel industry, leading to layoffs and devastating USWA membership.

The USWA would bring in other industries to its jurisdiction, such as mill workers, stone workers, rubber and plastic workers, aluminum, brick and glass workers. The USWA has grown to become the U.S.'s largest industrial union, coming to represent 1.2 million workers in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, and even have an international presence in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico and other places around the world, representing workers in nearly every industry there is.


Heron, C. (2004). steelworkers' union. In The Oxford Companion to Canadian History. Oxford University Press.

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

Rees, J. (2003). United Steelworkers of America. In S. I. Kutler (Ed.), Dictionary of American History (3rd ed.). Charles Scribner's Sons.

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