The Effects of the Steel Tariffs Flow Upstream

Luke Frazier

Luke Frazier Policy Intern, AAM

Lost in months of debate surrounding the effect of steel tariffs on downstream production are the positive developments happening upstream.

Here are a few examples:

In Toledo, Ohio, Cleveland Cliffs is investing $700 million into a hot-briquetted iron (HBI) plant. That’s certainly good for Northwest Ohio; during its construction 1,200 jobs will be created, and 130 jobs will exist at the plant permanently once its completed.

“This reinvestment will help modernize the steel industry of this country, we will become a major supplier of the most modern product that will move into mills across this region,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to the Toledo CBS affiliate.

"You can’t spend money if you don’t make it.”WENDI THOMPSON

That news out of Ohio is being felt a few Great Lakes away. Northshore Mining, based in Silver Bay, Minnesota, is also getting new investment. This Iron Range production facility will be the mine supplying the taconite pellets needed to make HBI at the Toledo plant. It received a $50 million investment in 2018 and will receive another $25 million this year.

And, despite a recently bumpy road, Mesabi Metallics is looking to revive two stalled Iron Range projects – a mine facility and a pig iron plant – that could ultimately lead to a total of $3.7 billion invested in investment and a lot of permanent jobs.

These are domestic investments and jobs created thanks to the cover that tariffs have provided. And economic activity reverberating in the local economies of northern Minnesota is another result. As mining activity picks up again, businesses have experienced increasing profits and towns have attracted new economic investment.

“Things are way better than I anticipated. And I think it’s that the miners are back to work, said Hibbing business owner Wendi Thompson to the Star Tribune. "You can’t spend money if you don’t make it.”

***

Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Uber Drivers Deserve Legal Rights and Protections

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

In an advisory memo released May 14, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office stated that Uber drivers are not employees for the purposes of federal labor laws.

Their stance holds that workers for companies like Uber are not included in federal protections for workplace organizing activities, which means the labor board is effectively denying Uber drivers the benefits of forming or joining unions.

Simply stating that Uber drivers are just gig workers does not suddenly undo the unjust working conditions that all workers potentially face, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions and  job insecurity. These challenges are ever-present, only now Uber drivers are facing them without the protection or resources they deserve. 

The labor board’s May statement even seems to contradict an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that couriers for Postmates, a job very similar to Uber drivers’, are legal employees.

However, the Department of Labor has now stated that such gig workers are simply independent contractors, meaning that they are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay.

While being unable to unionize limits these workers’ ability to fight for improved pay and working conditions, independent contractors can still make strides forward by organizing, explained executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai.

“We can’t depend solely on the law or the courts to stop worker exploitation. We can only rely on the steadfast militancy of workers who are rising up everywhere,” Desai said in a statement. 

More ...

A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder