Resolution No. 17: Amalgamation
WHEREAS, the United Steelworkers was formed by countless mergers throughout its history and the history of its predecessor unions. These historic mergers have served to strengthen our bargaining power, political activity and overall resources to better serve our members in the United States and Canada, as well as to create a multitude of opportunities for new amalgamations of local unions that share geographic areas or commonalities of interest; and
WHEREAS, the merging of our local unions through amalgamation also serves to create amalgamated local unions with greater strength, resources, ability, knowledge and talent to face the tough economic challenges of the global economy without fear of financial disaster. Through amalgamation, many of our local unions have magnified their power by combining resources to better meet the administrative, educational, political, financial and organizational demands that their leadership and members face; and
WHEREAS, 37% of all USW local unions are amalgamated with over 63% of our membership in these amalgamated local unions, and we have approximately 5,000 unit presidents dealing with everyday workplace issues while maintaining a vital and active role to meet the needs of the membership; and
WHEREAS, after nearly seventeen years of progress using our “Best Practice for Positive Amalgamation Process,” as adopted by the USW International Executive Board on April 3, 2000, and again reaffirmed in August 2011, local unions continue to successfully build their power, increasing in size and membership and have become a recognized and respected force with elected officials and within our communities; and
WHEREAS, since our last convention 59 more local unions have amalgamated following our “Best Practice Process for Positive Amalgamation” policy including a large amalgamated local created through a consensual agreement to merge together to create a newly chartered local union. Local unions have also agreed to amalgamate in the same industries to magnify their leverage in collective bargaining and to increase their political power; and
WHEREAS, each Amalgamated Local Union recognizes that the struggle of members in one unit is the struggle of all of its members and the exchange of ideas and information and the pooling of resources among the membership of an Amalgamated Local Union builds a powerful, cohesive bond among our members; and
WHEREAS, the leaders of our amalgamated locals continue to recognize that it is crucial to continue to develop educational and training programs and to continue to participate both at the district and international level in the educational programs designed to enhance the leadership of our local unions; and
WHEREAS, unit presidents play a critical role in the effective operation of a vibrant amalgamated local union, significant effort must be made to ensure that they are provided with the training required to help them do their jobs; and
WHEREAS, successful amalgamated local unions have encouraged their unit leaders to establish an expanded committee structure including rapid response, civil and human rights, workers’ compensation, political action, organizing, safety and health, and women’s committees at each unit level, providing greater opportunity for additional Local Union activists to participate in the Union.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that:
(1) Our Union reaffirms its policy of amalgamating Local Unions by using the “Best Practice for Positive Amalgamation Process.”
(2) We encourage existing and new amalgamated Local Unions to strengthen our Union by increasing the number of Local Union activists through the inclusion of committees at each unit.
(3) The USW congratulates those Local Unions that have merged together and succeeded in building strong amalgamated local unions.
(4) We will continue to provide and promote educational opportunities for local and unit leadership in order to further strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the amalgamated structure and to increase the involvement and activism of the membership of all units contained within the amalgamation.
(5) We encourage all amalgamated Local Unions to continue to engage in organizing, mobilizing, political action, and the education of their membership in order to encourage our Union to grow and prosper.