Meet political commentator and labour leader at fund raising dinner
It is a rare opportunity to hear from an internationally-renowned speaker in a small town, but Grand Forks has the chance this week to welcome Leo Gerard at a fund raising dinner.
Gerard is the international president of the United Steelworkers of America (USW), but is also recognized in even higher circles after being appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. He serves as co-chairman of the BlueGreen Alliance and on the boards of Campaign for America’s Future and the Economic Policy Institute. He helped create the Washington-based public interest group, Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Headlining the pasta dinner at the Seniors Hall in City Park this Thursday, April 18, Gerard will be giving his insights on government action around climate change, the global economic crisis, and his commitment to social justice. Joining Gerard will be MLA Katrine Conroy of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Boundary-Similkameen NDP candidate Sam Hancheroff.
Gerard is the second Canadian to hold the highest office in the USW. Growing up in Sudbury, Ontario the son of a miner, Gerard followed in his father’s footsteps. But he changed course, attending Laurentian University to study economics when, just before graduation, he moved into a job with the Steelworkers and has climbed the ranks within the union since.
Finishing his degree in economics and politics later in his career, Gerard has been awarded an honorary doctorate in Law in 1994. He also is a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Committee and chairs the labor federation’s Public Policy Committee. He is a member of the IMF and ICEM global labor federations and was instrumental in creating Workers Uniting, the first global union, with leaders of the UK-based manufacturing union Unite.
And in his spare time, Gerard sits as a political panelist for CNN and MSNBC.
USW Local 1-423 is hosting the event in support of the NDP’s efforts in the upcoming provincial election. The USW represents workers employed at both Roxul Inc. and International Forest Products Ltd. in Grand Forks.
The dinner begins with refreshments at 5:30 p.m on Thursday, Apr. 18 at the Seniors Hall in City Park. Tickets for the evening, which include home-made pasta dinner and a silent auction, are $25 and are available at: New West Trading Co. and the NDP campaign office (on 5th Avenue behind city hall). Call 250-447-9344 for more information.