2008 Firsts for Women from WowOwow

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Carol Landry, First Female Executive Board Member of the United Steelworkers Union

December 16, 2009
by Mark E. Moran
Carol Landry is the first woman to become a member of the International Executive Board of the United Steelworkers union. Landry, a union activist, was appointed International Vice President by unanimous vote.

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In July 2008, Carol Landry became the first female member of the International Executive Board of the United Steelworkers union. Landry joined the union in 1987 when she began working at Highland Valley Copper, Canada’s largest copper mine. She became the shop steward of the local union and eventually rose through the ranks to become its president. Landry is also an executive member of the board of directors of the International Metalworkers Federation.

In 1989, Landry was the only female member of a 13-person bargaining committee during a 107-day strike that focused in part on equal opportunities for women. Before the strike, women largely held clerical positions, were paid on a wage scale lower than men, and had different job classifications and different lines of career progression. The struggle ended with an agreement that established one wage scale and the right for every worker to bid on all jobs.

A decade later, as president of the union, Landry helped resolve another strike in part by agreeing to an innovative tying of union wages to the price of copper. While this produced an initially modest decrease in wages, it resulted in much higher wages for the next five years.

“While she will become the first woman International USW officer, Carol is becoming a vice president not because of gender, but because of her passion, skills and dedication to economic and social justice for working people everywhere,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President.
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