USW President: Social Justice Requires Economic Justice

Jul 24, 2013, 11:14 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

PITTSBURGH, July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today from USW International President Leo W. Gerard in response to the Trayvon Martin case:


"Our work in the labor movement is built on the idea that all individuals have value, but that only through collective action can we realize our true power to change the world.

"The question now, as we examine the case of Travyon Martin's death and its aftermath, is: How do we best use that power to honor his memory and to prevent such a tragedy from happening again?

"We must make sure that we are building a more peaceful society rather than a more violent one. With that goal in mind, we must re-examine laws such as those regarding racial profiling and 'Stand Your Ground.' But the most important action we in the labor movement can take to advance that idea is to step up our fight for economic justice for all.

"The more we invest in our struggling communities, the more we work to create good jobs, the more we eliminate the problems of unemployment and poverty, then the better we will be able to put an end to the violence in our communities and heal the wounds of racism.

"Statistics show that these problems inflict a disproportionate amount of pain on African Americans and on young black men in particular. It is our duty to make that issue a priority if we truly want to create a more perfect union.

"President Barack Obama has called on us to begin a national conversation in our families, our churches and our workplaces about issues of race. As workers, it is our responsibility to make sure that conversation focuses on achieving economic justice for our most vulnerable citizens."

The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels and municipal governments and agencies. For more information, visit

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450,

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)