CONTACT: Wayne Ranick at (412) 562-2444, email@example.com
This statement was released today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address:
(Pittsburgh)—Last night, President Obama outlined a bold and comprehensive plan to strengthen the middle class and grow the economy. We laud his commitment to make America a magnet for manufacturing and good-paying, family-supporting jobs and his objective of equipping every American with the skills needed for those jobs. He also understands that our country must ensure that hard work leads to a decent living and that the deficit be cut in a balanced way to grow our economy without strapping future generations with unbearable debt.
Hard-working Americans have suffered for far too long because so-called leaders in Washington have not addressed the needs of the struggling. We applaud the President for articulating a vision that will bring a rebirth of the American middle class and for presenting a comprehensive plan to revitalize our manufacturing sector.
President Obama’s plan for a network of 15 high-tech innovation hubs will help to ensure that the United States is prepared to lead the next industrial revolution. His ideas to revitalize our crumbling infrastructure not only will bring our education, energy, transportation and communications systems into the 21st century, but also will grow the middle class with tens of thousands of solid, family-supporting jobs, the kinds of jobs that Americans need and deserve.
Also, the President’s proposal to increase the minimum wage is long overdue. Too many Americans for too long have been working long hours at multiple jobs and still struggling just to survive. We cannot call ourselves the greatest country on earth and allow that to continue.
We also noted the President’s commitment to expand trade, which we support if it’s fair trade, containing strong protections for American jobs and intellectual property. No trade deal should result in lower labor, health, safety and environmental standards.
Finally, while proposing a comprehensive agenda to reignite economic prosperity by creating an economy and democracy that works for all, the President must renew support for collective bargaining, which gives workers the power they need to secure family-supporting wages and benefits.
The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private sector union in North America, representing workers in a wide range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, plus office, technical and service workers in health care, security, hotels and municipal governments and agencies.
# # #