Blog

Terry Mitchell is a retired United Steelworker and Disability Rights Advocate. 
He specializes in reducing attitudinal and systemic barriers while increasing access and opportunities for workers who have been permanently disabled in workplace accidents. His master’s thesis looks at the duty to accommodate through a human rights lens and aims to improve Canada’s workplace accommodation culture and business environment.

This summer at United Steelworkers Local 6166 I learned a variety of things from how to properly use a photocopier, to how much unions benefit the workers they represent. Walking into the union hall for the first time this summer, I wasn't sure what was in store for me other than utilizing and enhancing simple skills such as photocopying, organizing, cleaning, so mundane everyday tasks. But coming out of the hall for the last time this summer I left with a clearer and greater appreciation for the hard work union workers do for the men and women they represent. The people I met this summer such as Gord Medwid the Vice President of Local 6166 was one of the big influencers in the stories I heard this summer. Personally, he showed me understanding of past battles unions have fought such as the infamous Westray accident that left many families torn apart; he also taught the other students as well as myself the importance of these battles and what they did for the working person with the well-deserved passion he included in each story. The rest of the union workers also taught the other students and the importance of many things in regards to unions, such as knowing our four rights for our safety, something because of how many times we were asked to recite them, will never be forgotten no matter how many times we try.