International Woodworkers of America (IWA)

International Woodworkers of America (IWA) was an industrial union of lumbermen, sawmill workers, timber transportation workers and others formed in 1937.

The IWA was formed when members of the Sawmill and Timber Workers’ Union division of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America voted to disaffiliate their local unions and form their own union. The IWA subsequently affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

The IWA quickly moved into Canada, where it absorbed a number of smaller unions which had formed in the 1930s, and the Lumber Workers Industrial Union, one of the industrial unions of the Industrial Workers of the World. A successful strike and organizing drive in 1946 established the IWA as western Canada's largest union, a position that it has generally held since then.

The IWA was staunchly Democratic, and avoided left-wing politics throughout its history. Most of its members lived and worked in the American and Canadian West. Its membership reached as high as 115,000 in the early 1970s.

In the 1980s, raids, mergers and anti-union actions by employers decimated the IWA's membership. The burgeoning environmental movement also restricted access to public lands, where most old-growth timber existed. As the timber industry lost access to public land, timber companies shed thousands of jobs as well.

In 1987, the Canadian branch of the IWA separated from union, retaining the IWA initials but with the new name Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA Canada).

By 1994, the remainder of the U.S.-based IWA had just over 20,000 members. The IWA leadership felt the union was no longer viable on its own, and the IWA merged with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) on May 1, 1994. Today, the IWA is the Woodworking Department of the IAM. IWA Canada remained an independent Canadian union until 2004, when it merged with the United Steelworkers.

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United Steelworkers

The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, commonly known as United Steelworkers (USW), is a general trade union with 860,294 members across North America. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the United Steelworkers represents workers in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States. The United Steelworkers represent workers in a diverse range of industries, including primary and fabricated metals, chemicals, glass, rubber, heavy-duty conveyor belting, tires, transportation, utilities, container industries, pharmaceuticals, call centers and health care.

 The United Steelworkers is currently affiliated with the AFL–CIO in the United States and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in Canada as well as several international union federations. On July 2, 2008, the United Steelworkers signed an agreement to merge with the United Kingdom and Ireland based union, Unite, to form a new global union entity called Workers Uniting.

 The current International President of the United Steelworkers is Leo Gerard, who has served as president since 2001.

 Rank-and-file members, as well as representatives, of the United Steelworkers refer to themselves, and are most often referred to, as Steelworkers. The use of the capitalized single word "Steelworker" or "Steelworkers", as opposed to the lower-case two worded "steel worker" or "steel workers", is also an identifier of those who are part of, or affiliated with, the United Steelworkers International Union rather than being general non-union workers within the steel industry. This distinction is important in North America wherein a vast majority of the steel industry is unionized. For example, some of the most recognizable and largest companies in the business such as United States Steel, (U.S.S.), Servestal, and the largest steel company in the world, ArcelorMittal, with their combined hourly workforces at facilities in North America being Steelworkers and represented by the USW, including the largest facilities on the continent, like U.S. Steel's Gary Works in Gary, Indiana, ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor in Burns Harbor, Indiana, Indiana Harbor East and West in Northwest Indiana, and Cleveland Plant in Cleveland, Ohio, all of which are situated on the Great Lakes freshwater system. On the other hand, only a handful of smaller companies, usually at facilities known as "mini-mills", like Nucor Steel and its facility in Crawfordsville, Indiana, are non-union shops not represented by the United Steelworkers.

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