Hustle Up, President Trump

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

On Tuesday dozens of steelworkers were on Capitol Hill, urging members of Congress to lean on the Trump administration to complete the Section 232 investigations into steel imports.  

Today, they sat down with Commerce Department officials, spoke by phone with Secretary Wilbur Ross and made the same request: Finish what you started.

“We told them 'you said you were going to do something, now you have to act,'” said Tom Conway with the United Steelworkers.

They’ve got a point. When President Trump announced these investigations in April, he was bound by the letter of the law to conclude them in 270 days – approximately nine months. The president assured everyone they wouldn’t need that long, and was transparent about what the outcome would be. “Steel folks are gonna be very happy,” he said in June.

But the steel folks aren’t happy, President Trump. And with good reason: By announcing a big ruling on steel imports was coming and then putting off its outcome – Trump announced in July the ruling would be delayed – the White House has created a window for imports to jump in before it closes. And jump in they have; imports are up more than 21 percent in the first eight months of this year.   

The consequences of this overcapacity problem are long-documented. Only a small amount of steel is produced for defense purposes, it’s true – but it takes a lot of capital and R&D to produce the specialty metals required for military armaments.

If America wants to build its own F-35 jets, tanks, aircraft and troop carriers, it needs a healthy domestic steel industry that help produce them.

But if that industry is run out of business because the state-owned competition in China can’t (or won’t) stop flooding the steel market, America won’t have one.

What's more, that will be felt in local economies wrapped up in the industry’s success, in communities in Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana.

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Reposted from AAM

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Photo by Gage Skidmore

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work