USW Rapid Response director says program helps members connect

Developing ways to communicate with fellow members is crucial to unions. The United Steelworkers have found ways to make progress on this through their Rapid Response program.

United Steelworkers Director of Rapid Response Amber Miller spoke to the America’s Work Force Union Podcast about how important this program is to the USW and the success they have seen from it.

USW Rapid Response

Miller said the USW developed the Rapid Response program about 25 years ago to help raise money for a USW Brother who needed financial assistance. After great success in the isolated example, the USW took the program nationwide.

She said the non-partisan program splits the workplace into sections or groups where a representative can talk to members and communicate issues on a personal level.

Miller said the program has seen great success and is viewed positively amongst members. They have worked to advance the interests of the USW and call attention to union issues being affected by political leaders and how to deal with these issues.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic has made things tricky for the Rapid Response program. Nevertheless, leaders are getting creative and learning how to connect with members via phone call and web conferencing, such as Zoom.

Importance of healthcare to USW members

Although the group is non-partisan, Russo said healthcare and health and safety are the issues at the top for the USW members she has spoken to. She said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covered so many bases that the union could shift bargaining efforts elsewhere and secure more for their members.

She fears if the ACA is repealed it will have great damages to collective bargaining and unions will have to give up certain benefits to get the same level of health coverage they currently enjoy.


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