The Art of the Deal is More the Art of the Dupe

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

“Buy American, hire American.”  It’s become President Donald Trump’s sing-song mantra. It’s key to his “Making America Great Again.” It’s part of his waxing nostalgic about how he’s the true master of the art of the deal. It’s key to his tales of storming through the boardrooms of corporate America, causing CEOs to cower in his presence as he mandates that American jobs be preserved, and even expanded, or else there will be hell to pay from him in defense of the long-suffering American worker.

To a weakened working class, it raised hopes that there would be a voice in Washington to resurrect of our beleaguered industrial might. It evoked senses of optimism that there would be no more one-sided, mega trade deals which have decimated our industrial landscape.

But do President Trump’s words hold truth?  From the way he’s backpedaled, and basically shown his hand as being nothing more than a great manipulator, the outlook for the American worker returning to the days of solid employment, strong wages, pensions and exemplary benefits is poor.

Take a look at Buy American for infrastructure.  President Trump came storming into office saying he would tear up any deal, past, present or future, not including a provision requiring American steel, from the point of melting until the finished product is delivered.

Then he agreed to allow foreign steel in the recently approved Keystone XL pipeline.

The backpedaling begins. Now he says the requirement may (key word here; MAY) only be valid for future deals.

Does this sound like what American workers were promised? For workers, such as the thousands still laid off from U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works, this is a slap in the face.

What makes the situation even worse and reeking of typical D.C. politics as usual, Russia’s NLMK and California Steel Industries, which is owned by a Brazilian and Japanese conglomerate, have lobbied Congress hard to kill the “Buy America, Melt to Finish” provision altogether.

Squire Patton Boggs, the main lobbyist for foreign steel, has ties to Speaker Ryan, who has attempted ad nauseam to block Buy American provisions.  How come President Trump is not taking on his party or foreign steel lobbyists?

Now, pundits are saying Republicans in Congress, reeling from their failure to overturn the Affordable Care Act, plan to offer nothing but a diluted and diminished infrastructure bill.

If the American public is learning one thing about diplomacy, détente and the power of the Office of the President, it is that Trump displays none of the qualities necessary to deliver on the “Art of the Deal.”  Instead, we are left to sift through the rubble produced by a narcissistic individual surrounding himself with sniveling, sophomoric, testosterone-overdriven alpha males who equate policy and diplomacy with 140-character tweets.

And once again American manufacturing workers are left in the cold to fend for themselves.

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You can contact Richard on Twitter @stlwrkr4889.

Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

The Big Drip

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. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work