Leo Gerard

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Leo W. Gerard (1947-) is International President of the United Steelworkers, formally the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC. Born in Canada, he is active in progressive politics, and is known for forming international alliances and discussions of international trade policy. He is a member of the U.S. National Commission for Energy Policy, a board member of the Campaign for America’s Future and founding board member of the Apollo Alliance, a private sector group concerned with energy independence. In 2005, he became Chair of the AFL-CIO's Public Policy Committee.


In his international efforts, he chaired, in 2002, the Second World Rubber Industries Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil and serves as the Chair of the Rubber Sector of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM). He co-chaired the International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF) World Aluminum Conference in Montreal, in 2003, establishing global network of unions to strengthen workers' rights in the aluminium industry.

Other international alliances in which Gerard has been involved include IG Metall, the German metalworkers' union; AWU, the Australian Workers Union; CFMEU, Australia's Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union; CNM-CUT, the largest metalworkers' union in Brazil; SNTMMSRM, the National Union of Mining, Steel and Allied Workers of the Republic of Mexico; and Amicus, the largest manufacturing union in the United Kingdom.

Beginning as a metalworker at the Inco Smelter in Ontario, Canada, at age 18, Gerard served as the union's International Secretary-Treasurer (1994-2001), as National Director for Canada (1991-1994), and as Director of District 6 in Ontario (1986-1991). He was appointed a USW Staff Representative in 1977.


Writing in the Huffington Post, he approved of President Barack Obama's enforcing trade rules on China, the "Section 421" rules the Chinese had agreed to obey to gain entrance to the World Trade Organization (WTO). They had not been enforced, which he said cost the jobs of U.S. rubber workers whose tires were being undersold by Chinese imports, made without the cost of worker benefits or environmental protection.[1]

He was critical of compromises in the Congressionally-passed U.S. health reform bill, although avoided criticism of President Barack Obama. During the election campaign, he had been surprised to learn "Obama was polling better with our active members than with our retirees, which is very unusual, until we focused on McCain's plan to tax benefits. Our retirees are in expensive plans; that kind of tax would be devastating to them."

There's an excise tax on policies, but there's no public option to hold down the cost of those policies...There's no Medicare buy-in, no pay-or-play mandate for employers. There's no Canadian reimportation to hold down drug costs, on the grounds of 'safety.' No one gets sick from Canadian reimported drugs...I know a guy who got sick from a Chinese-made ingredient in an American drug, but there's no restriction on Chinese drug imports.[2]