According to a Tuesday January 11 release, the international executive boards of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and the Paper, Allied Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) unanimously agreed to merge their organizations into what they call “the largest and most powerful industrial union in North America.”
This new union will be the dominant representative of labor in North America’s metals, paper and forestry products, tire and rubber, mining, glass, chemicals, energy, and other basic materials and resource industries. Also, it will have a significant presence in equipment and machinery, stone, clay and concrete, other manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and service sectors.
USWA international president Leo W. Gerard stated: "Our unions share a commitment to innovative bargaining strategies that protect our members in many ways, while maintaining and building the productive capacity of the companies they work in."
The new United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied-Industrial and Service Workers International Union will have more than 850,000 members in more than 8,000 locals in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Total active and retired members of the new union – critical to the organizations political and bargaining influence – is estimated at over 1.25 million.
Individual members of PACE and USWA will vote on the merger proposal at concurrent conventions in April.
"By joining forces with the USWA," said PACE president Boyd Young, "PACE members will have greater bargaining power, because this merger creates a larger union presence in our core industries and gives us more leverage at the bargaining table. Once merged, our union will immediately be a major presence in North America's core industrial sectors and that strength of diversity will both protect and promote our bargaining agendas."