USW leader pledges to organize clean energy, electric car and retail workers

A United Steelworkers sign is seen outside the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant in Ecorse, Michigan, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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LAS VEGAS, Aug 8 (Reuters) – The head of the United Steelworkers union vowed on Monday to sue workers in the clean energy, electric car and retail sectors as it seeks to adapt to a changing economy and to rebuild adherence to old industries.

USW leader Thomas Conway told an audience of about 3,500 union members and retirees at his constitutional convention that he will train more organizers and appeal to traditional and new industry workers.

“We’ll be there – in offshore wind, electric vehicles, nickel and copper mining,” said Conway, whose speech to a crowded conference room at the MGM Grand hotel was the equivalent for the ‘USW Presidential State of the Union Address.

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“We will bring our union to the industries of today and tomorrow,” Conway said.

He did not provide details of any additions to his organizing staff.

Conway said the Biden administration is committed to lifting more families out of poverty and bringing them into the middle class. He pointed out that the collaboration of union members has helped bring about change in American and Canadian society.

He tied the election of U.S. President Joe Biden and a Democratic-dominated Congress to the completion of the administration’s infrastructure bill that provided funding for roads, bridges and public transit systems. .

“The president sees the unions as a path back to rebuilding the middle class,” he said. The administration “is not content to flatter us out of sentiment, but it is an economic policy”.

Ron Holdcraft, a union member from LaSalle, Illinois, who works for a cement manufacturer, praised efforts to expand USW ranks.

“Anytime you can expand the fellowship and help people, that’s a good thing,” he said.

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Reporting by Erwin Seba in Las Vegas Editing by Marguerita Choy and Deepa Babington

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