Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother
Image by Bananastock.

Confronted with a dire situation, a world power last week took strong action to secure its domestic jobs and manufacturing.

That was China. Not the United States.

China diminished the value of its currency.  This gave its exporting industries a boost while simultaneously blocking imports. The move protected the Asian giant’s manufacturers and its workers’ jobs.

Currency manipulation violates free market principles, but for China, doing it makes sense. The nation’s economy is cooling. Its stock market just crashed, and its economic powerhouse – exports – declined a substantial 8.3 percent in July ­– down to $195 billion from $213 billion the previous July. This potent action by a major economic competitor raises the question of when the United States government is going to stop pretending currency manipulation doesn’t exist. When will the United States take the necessary action to protect its industry, including manufacturing essential to national defense, as well as the good, family-supporting jobs of millions of manufacturing workers?

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Steelworkers Stage Mass Rallies Nationwide

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Steelworkers and their allies staged mass rallies nationwide for new and fair contracts with the nation’s top two producers, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, as talks with the firms come down to the wire: Contract expiration at midnight Sept. 1.

The largest rallies were in Virginia, Minn. -- in the heart of U.S. ore production, Minnesota’s Iron Range -- and Gary, Ind., home of U.S. Steel’s largest plant. More than 2,000 workers and their allies marched in each city.

Other rallies were in the Pittsburgh area, Coatesville, Steelton and Fairless Hills, Pa., East Chicago, Ind., Ecorse, Mich., Fairfield, Ala., Granite City, Ill., Lorain and Warren, Ohio, and Weirton, W. Va. The talks cover more than 30,000 workers, combined, at both firms.

The rallies also show that the surrounding communities support the Steelworkers, and that those areas’ residents realize how important the steel jobs are to the middle class and to those cities’ and towns’ economic health, the union said.

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Gop Inserts Silica Standard Delay Into Labor Dept. Money Bill

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

By voice vote, the Republican-run Senate Appropriations Committee last month inserted a 1-year delay in the federal efforts to cut workers’ exposure to silica dust. The move is in the money bill for the Labor Department for the year starting Oct. 1.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., inserted the delay into the mammoth funding bill. He also gives the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) $800,000 in that fiscal year for another study of silica’s impact when workers breathe it. Silica causes lung disease. 

But this study, Hoeven orders, must also cover “ability of regulated industries to comply with occupational exposure limits” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes. And NIOSH must include the costs of purchasing respirators for workers as well as the costs of engineering – water for dust control and ventilation -- to cut overall silica exposure.

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Celebrate Election Day Off Work

Celebrate Election Day Off Work

Union Matters

Solidarity to Save our Steel Jobs

By Jerry Santos
USW Local 1010, Arcelor Mittal

Let me start by saying I love my job, and I’m highly grateful for being able to have the opportunity to work in the steel making industry.  How I would love to see another 30 plus years of steel making here in the Great Lake region!  However, I don’t see it at all.  There is a real dilemma hanging over the heads of us hard-working individuals young and old. 

We are the middle class, and we drive the economy in our local communities.  What will happen to our local businesses if the steel mills were to vacate from the Great Lakes region?

Several factors are hurting the production and profits of steel making today.  The first and most important is steel dumping by foreign counties. Another is the failure of politicians act to protect American steel. And a third is greed by corporations.   

Just like any other corporate train with no brakes or no physical conductor that could be held accountable for their actions, these corporations march forward for one goal with no regard to what is in their way. The goal is profits.  Profits today have replaced ethical morals.

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