New Veterans of Steel Council Formed

Men and women who have served honorably in the United States military come to work in the shipyard every day, holding jobs in practically every department and work area. Now, veterans who are members of USW Local 8888 will have their own unique voice heard in union affairs, following the launch of the new Veterans of Steel Council. The council was established under the leadership of Tom Conway, USW International President, who served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force before he began his union career.

Vince Harris, a Local 8888 vet and chair of the contracting out committee, represented the local at the first-ever meeting of the new Veterans of Steel Council last month in Pittsburgh, PA. He was one of several dozen USW members and staff who served in the armed forces in the United States and Canada that brainstormed about how to undertake  their work to improve the lives of their fellow veterans.

They discussed topics such as ideal contract language for veterans’ issues, increasing funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, placing qualified veterans in good union jobs, helping veterans in both countries deal with mental health and other issues, and publishing a resource guide for vets who are union members. Goals included engaging veterans in the union and community, educating and advocating for veterans issues in both the United States and Canada, and providing a variety of resources for Steelworker vets and their families, including help with PTSD.

Local 8888 President Charles Spivey said the union will definitely create a local Veterans of Steel program for USW vets in the shipyard. Veterans who are interested in participating in the program or want to get more information about receiving a free Veterans of Steel sticker, can contact Vince Harris at the union hall  (757) 247-5294.  Members can also text VET to 47486.