U.S. Steel Is Investing $1 Billion to Transform Mon Valley Works Near Pittsburgh

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

U.S. Steel was the world’s first billion dollar corporation — and now the company is investing more than $1 billion to transform its hometown steelmaking complex into what CEO Dave Burritt says will be “the most innovative steel mill in the United States of America.”

Located just outside Pittsburgh, Mon Valley Works is an integrated operation of several different facilities, and U.S. Steel is aiming to increase its efficiency while also significantly reducing its emissions. The upgrades will allow Mon Valley Works to churn out the type of high-strength, lightweight-yet-flexible steel sought after by the auto, appliance and construction industries.

A new cogeneration facility will be built at the Clairton Plant in Clairton, Pa., which will allow the company to convert a portion of coke oven gas into electricity to power operations throughout the entire Mon Valley Works. At the Edgar Thomson Plant in nearby Braddock, the company will build a new sustainable endless casting and rolling facility, the first of its kind in the United States and one of only a handful in the world.

The 3,000 current employees at Mon Valley Works will have the chance to receive training to operate the upgraded facility, and U.S. Steel plans to “partner with educators in our community” to train the next generation of steelworkers for advanced manufacturing jobs. Meanwhile, the company expects to see a big decrease in its carbon footprint because of the improvements, including a 60 percent drop in particulate matter, a 50 percent decrease of sulfur dioxide and an 80 percent drop of nitrogen oxides.

U.S. Steel is among several domestic producers who are investing in U.S. operations following the implementation of “Section 232” tariffs on steel imports in 2018.

The company restarted two blast furnaces at its Granite City Works facility outside St. Louis, Mo., creating 800 jobs; is restarting operations in Lone Star, Texas, supporting 140 jobs; and is resuming construction of an electric arc furnace in Fairfield, Ala., creating 600 construction jobs and 150 new jobs once things are up and running. It also will spend $750 million in Indiana at its Gary Works facility.

But Burritt described the Mon Valley Works investment as “a truly transformational investment” for U.S. Steel.

“This is great for our customers and also positions the community here for a very bright future for generations to come,” Burritt told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This is where steel started, and this is where steel continues.”

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Reposted from AAM

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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