No labor leader has stood his ground or fought as hard as International President Leo W. Gerard to preserve and create union-wage jobs that support middle-class families and their communities.
To advance the fight for good safe jobs, Gerard has focused the United Steelworkers (USW) on strategic contract bargaining in paper, steel, rubber and other key sectors, while at the same time fighting unfair trade and building clout through political action and domestic and international alliances.
He is leading the USW’s drive to restore manufacturing jobs that built the great middle class in the United States and Canada and to prepare for new clean energy manufacturing that represents the future of American industry.
The son of a union miner and activist, Gerard went to work at a nickel smelter in his hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, at age 18. As a young man, he studied economics and political science at Laurentian University, where he later received an honorary doctorate of laws degree. Gerard was awarded a second honorary doctorate of laws degree, this one from the University of Guelph in Canada, in recognition of his contributions to social justice.
Gerard was appointed International President on Feb. 28, 2001 by the USW’s International Executive Board to succeed the late George Becker, who had retired. That November, Gerard was elected by acclamation in union-wide elections.
Previously, Gerard was the union’s International Secretary-Treasurer (1994-2001), the National Director for Canada (1991-1994) and Director of District 6 in Ontario (1986-1991).