Trump is Already Months Late on His Promise to Steelworkers. Now He’s Facing a Final Deadline.

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

It’s the final countdown.

For months, we’ve been lamenting the Trump administration’s lack of progress on its national security investigations into steel and aluminum imports. After all, both President Trump and administration officials had pledged to unveil the findings of the “Section 232” investigations by July 1.

Neither have been released. But because Trump had pledged to do something by a specific date, foreign importers rushed product into the market to get ahead of any presidential action. That made the overall crisis worse; steel imports alone were up nearly 18 percent in 2017.

Now The Donald and his crew are coming up against a deadline they cannot ignore. By law, the Commerce Department has 270 days to present the findings of the Section 232 investigations to the president – meaning the deadline is Jan. 15 for the steel imports investigation; the aluminum report is due a week later.

From there, Trump will have 90 days to decide whether to do anything to address whatever is in the reports, which could include restricting imports through tariffs or other means.

It remains very unclear what Trump intends to do. While there is talk that 2018 will be the year that the president gets tough on trade, it remains all talk – and as the 232 delays show, we’ve heard plenty of talk from this president before.

But what is clear is that it is essential for the United States to maintain a strong industrial base, especially when it comes to vital commodities like steel and aluminum.

Both industries provide middle class jobs across the country – 140,000 people are directly employed by the steel industry, 161,000 by the aluminum industry  – and the two industries together indirectly support nearly 2 million jobs.

Both are also essential to our national security and critical infrastructure. We need steel to build everything from aircraft carriers and tanks to bridges and the electric grid; aluminum is needed for fighter jets like the F-15 (and there’s only one smelter left that can make the high purity aluminum needed to build it).

Time is running out. Trump has pushed these investigations to the limit, and it is time for him to take strong, decisive action to safeguard American workers and our national security.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

What's Wrong with GM?

Corporations’ stranglehold on our economy was put on further display last week, when General Motors announced it was laying off up to 14,000 workers across North America.

On a special episode of “State of the Unions,” co-host Tim Schlittner talked with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell, a lifelong UAW member, about what the layoffs say about the state of the economy as a whole:

Tim Schlittner: “Reading the CEO’s statement, Mary Barra, where she says this is about making GM agile, resilient and profitable, then thinking about all the stock buybacks, thinking about some of the incentives they got in the tax law that just passed. Mary Barra made about $22 million last year—that’s 295 times more than the GM median employee—my feeling is like this is crap. That’s just a crap excuse for hoarding more at the top, at the expense of the workers that make GM go. Am I wrong to say that?”

Brad Markell: “I think there are a couple issues there from my point of view. Mary Barra makes a lot of money and executive pay is out of control in this country. Part of what’s the problem with executive pay is how is it incentivized? It’s not that Mary Barra making $22 million is going to kill the company. It’s what does she do to get there, right? What does she do to make those cuts and—and those things that Wall Street wants to see because so much of it’s stock options—so instead of playing to the real economy, you’re playing to Wall Street. That’s a problem.”

Tim Schlittner: “And the stock went up that day. So Wall Street saw this decision to close these plants and basically took that as a positive sign, which shows to me an economy that is completely out of whack.”

Take a listen to the full episode here.

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