Jobs Are Coming Back to Steel Towns

Scott Paul

Scott Paul Director, AAM

For years now, America’s steel and aluminum workers have faced an onslaught of foreign imports that caused tens of thousands of layoffs. Factories across America closed – 10 steel furnaces were even shut down. Blue collar communities were devastated.

But because of people like you, places like Granite City, Ill., now have hope. And there will be more steel jobs on the way.

After a nearly year-long investigation, President Trump took action on Thursday to curb steel and aluminum imports. America’s steel and aluminum workers and companies will stabilize after years of unfair competition, regain market share and even hire more workers.

Already, more than 500 people are headed back to work in Granite City, as U.S. Steel announced it will restart a blast furnace there. On top of that, this action will go a long way toward securing our national defense, as it will allow American companies to continue to provide the steel and aluminum needed to equip the military and build critical infrastructure.

None of this could have happened without you. More than 150,000 people just like you raised your voice and called on the president to keep his promise to defend American workers.

So often, people in places like Granite City are forgotten – but your willingness to act ensured that, at least today, America remembers them, and will stand up for them.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder