The Steelworkers Humanity Fund is an international development agency created by the United Steelworkers at the Union’s Canadian Policy Conference in 1985. It began as a unique union-based response to the Ethiopian famine crisis of 1984.
The basic mechanism generating funds is through a collectively bargained one penny for every hour worked by bargaining unit members, or about 40 cents per week per member. Pendleton Translations Limited cannot be organized, since it mostly hires freelance translators and interpreters, but to show support for our clients and friends at the United Steelworkers, Pendleton Translations Limited donates 100 dollars per month to assist in Humanity Fund projects.
- We help union educators in South Africa develop programs to help workers cope with the challenges and uncertainty brought about by export development zones
- We’re helping local groups rebuild and retrain in the wake of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua
- We’re working with a community-based women’s organization in Bolivia to raise skill-levels and find alternate employment opportunities
- We’re supporting nutrition programs in northern Ethiopi
- We’re helping small farm and campesino organizations in Chiapas, Mexico, and in Guatemala to get organized, set up micro-credit systems, and strengthen their communities
- We’re supporting human rights work in Sudan; workers’ health and safety work in Peru; union-strengthening work in Mexico and Chile; and we’re opening dialogues for peace among local groups in the wake of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea
This year the Humanity Fund provided funds to assist the victims of the hurricanes that hit Jamaica, Granada and Haiti. We are also the channel for local union members to respond to these crises.
In addition to the long-term project partnerships we have built with local organizations and unions in the Third World, the Humanity Fund provides about fifteen percent of its annual project funding to Canadian anti-poverty and development initiatives. We provide around $85,000 annually to Canadian food banks alone.
The work of the Fund also involves education and linkage of our members with the projects they support.