With Tom Conway’s passing, American workers have lost an extraordinary champion, and I’ve lost a great friend.
When I was running for President in 2020, Tom rode the train with me from Ohio to Pittsburgh, a city built by American steelworkers like those he spent his life fighting for. We talked on that train ride, as we did more times than I can count over the years, about what we could do together to make a real difference in the lives of steelworkers and union workers all over the country.
Tom was someone I confided in. He had my absolute trust. I knew that if I was doing a good job, he’d tell me – and if I needed to do better, he’d tell me that, too. And no one knew more about the challenges that workers face. He knew the politics. He knew the ins and outs of policy. And he never lost sight of his values – dignity, respect, fairness, equality.
As president of the United Steelworkers, Tom got up every day and fought to protect workers’ wages, pensions, and safety, and to make sure working people got a fair shot at a middle-class life. Because he grew up in a union household, he knew exactly what unions mean to workers and everyone who depends on them. And he put every ounce of his energy and intellect toward making sure American workers got the best possible deal, every time.
No one out-worked him. No one out-bargained him. And while he was deeply kind and generous, he also never backed down from a fight.
Tom heard me say a thousand times – the middle class built America, and unions built the middle class. Well, Tom Conway helped build unions all across the country. He made our nation fairer. He made our nation stronger. And I will miss him dearly.
Jill and I send our deepest condolences to the Conway family, including his longtime partner Carol, three sons, and six grandchildren, as well as all the Steelworkers whose hearts are heavy today.
May God bless you, Tommy.