PITTSBURGH—Tom Conway, president of the United Steelworkers International since 2019, died Sept. 25.
He was 71.
"From his earliest time making steel to his steady hand leading us through the darkest days of the pandemic, Tom followed two simple guiding principles: the dignity of work and the power of working people," said David R. McCall, the USW's international vice president of administration. "Tom was never afraid of a fight, and thanks to his ingenuity and determination, generations of workers can enjoy better jobs and brighter futures."
A same-day release from the USW on Conway's passing states that he was "known for his quick wit, formidable bargaining skills and unwavering devotion to workers and their families."
"Solidarity wasn't just a word to Tom; it was a way of life," said USW International Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn. "He understood that by working together, we will balance the scales against greedy corporations and the billionaire class."
Conway found his calling in the USW as an activist in 1978, specifically with USW Local 6787, which represented workers at the Burns Harbor Works of Bethlehem Steel.
"While working as a millwright in the coke plant, Conway served as a griever for plant-wide maintenance and was a member of the safety and contracting-out committees," according to the USW.
Conway joined the international staff of the USW in 1987 and was appointed as vice president of USW International in 2005.
His rise in the organization was directly related to his adept negotiating skills, especially as they concerned contracts in the steel, aluminum, oil and other major industries.
And he relished going "toe-to-toe" with big companies and billionaire owners, the USW release stated.
One of his more recent victories came in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, as a case filed against Goodyear April 20 by an independent union alleging a denial of labor rights at the central Mexico passenger tire production facility was resolved.
The July 19 ruling came down in favor of the independent union, with several specified mandates for Goodyear moving forward in the matter.