The history of the steelworkers in Canada is a rich one, sprinkled victory after victory for working people.
Thousands of Canadians have been able to bargain a decent wage. Thousands have better medical drug, dental, life insurance
and pensions. And all of Canadian society has benefited from the Union's work on the political front.
In 1930s, employees of the big steel companies in the United States and Canada formed the Steel Workers Organizing
Committee. In 1942, they met in Cleveland, Ohio to form a new international union- the United Steelworkers of America.
One early pioneer was Charles Millard, the Union's first Canadian director. Another was John L. Lewis, who
led the United Mine Workers and later helped set up the Steelworkers, Philip Murray was the first President of the Union.
People like Millard, Murray and Lewis had a passion for justice and the dream of a better life for Canadian and American workers.
But it wasn't easy. In the early days, it took great strikes to establish the Union and get the respect of
The 1946 Steel Strike
Although the new union had little money and no strike fund, the Steelworkers had to strike in 1946 against
three big Canadian steel companies: Algoma Steel in Sault Ste MArie, Ontarion, The Steel Company of Canada (Stelco), and the
Dominion Steel and Coal Coporation in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Wages had been 64 cents an hour at Stelco. You had to work 25 years to get more than just a week off. If you
got sick. you lost your income. The Union changed all that by surviving the 1946 strike. Other workers saw the Steelworkers
were here to stay, and joined up.