Thomas Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, has passed away at the age of 71, according to a statement released by the USW. Conway, who joined the union in 1978 and became its top negotiator and later president in 2019, was known for his expertise in operational details, finances, and economics during negotiations. He was praised for his tactical negotiating skills and his understanding that a good contract involved more than just wages and benefits. Conway was also a vocal supporter of Cleveland Cliffs’ bid to purchase rival U.S. Steel, which was rejected last month.
Conway’s death, following his illness earlier this year, has left a vacancy in the leadership of the USW. The union’s executive board is expected to meet this week to appoint a successor. Conway’s guiding principles of the dignity of work and the power of working people were highlighted by David McCall, the USW’s international vice president of administration. Conway, known for his tough and tenacious approach during contract talks, advocated for the enforcement of anti-dumping laws and the prevention of subsidized products from damaging domestic industries. He also focused on expanding union membership by venturing into clean energy, electric vehicles, and retail industries.
Throughout his career, Conway emphasized the importance of workers being prepared to stand up for their demands. He urged union members to be ready for the inevitable fights that would come their way, highlighting their ability to win these battles. His dedication to the union and his commitment to fighting for workers’ rights will leave a lasting impact on the USW and the labor movement as a whole.