The Emergency Response Team
for the United Steel Workers was the first of its kind. It is comprised of many people with the sole purpose to support local unions and their members after catastrophic accidents and fatalities.
The responses that we have received from the members, volunteers, and directors has been overwhelming.
Here is what they have to say about the ERT program:
How the Coordinators (ERT Volunteers) Feel
As a union leader one of the most rewarding decisions I have made is volunteering to serve as an Emergency Response Team Coordinator. When the call comes to serve a fellow Steelworker and their family during one of life’s most difficult moments, the coordinator is the face of the United Steelworkers Union, offering compassion, assistance and care. Members and their families often seem surprised to see someone who has put everything on hold and traveled sometimes hundreds of miles to provide support and to act as a brother or sister advocate. Being there for victims, family members, witnesses and co-workers in need is one of the most important obligations of the union and one of which I am proud to be a part.
— Randy V.
District ERT Coordinator
Receiving an ERT call is something no one wants to get, but being an ERT coordinator has truly been a blessing. ERT has given me the opportunity to help our members and their families at some of the most challenging times of their lives.
Thinking back to my first ERT call I remember being so nervous about what to do or say, but I quickly realized that listening or just being present is all people need sometimes. To hold a hand or take a small child for a walk are acts that speak to the human spirit. Giving of yourself is the greatest gift of all.
ERT is about being a bridge between the company and the victim and assisting our members and their families in all ways we can, but being a coordinator has always caused me to reach into my soul, count my blessings and realize how important it is to give back. ERT is the most challenging and yet rewarding program I have ever been involved in.
— Carla T.
District ERT Coordinator
What Leadership Thinks
When I was first introduced to the United Steelworkers Emergency Response Team, I must admit I was apprehensive. As a USW District Director, I am responsible for all areas that affect the staff and the local unions. My attitude changed when we, unfortunately, had some fatalities in our district. The ERT coordinator that arrived to assist the family and the local union was excellent. I received some thank you letters later on from the local union and the surviving spouse.
Sadly, people get critically injured and killed in the workplace. However, I know that the people involved will be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness by the emergency response team.
— Bob L.
USW District Director
I am a USW local president and did not understand the role of the ERT within our union. Honestly, I believed we could and should take care of our own local members. That opinion changed quickly when a catastrophic injury happened to one of my members.
When bad things happen to people we care about, it is easy to let our emotions cloud our judgment, in fact, sometimes we don’t even know how to react, often overwhelmed. The ERT provided a trained coordinator who knew just what to do. They asked the right questions, provided the right resources, and helped the victim and their family through a very difficult time.
The ERT program is essential to our union and the ERT coordinators are angels in disguise, sent to guide us through life’s most difficult paths.