US Steel Workers Headed For A Strike While Industry Is Booming

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by RootBeerMan, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. RootBeerMan macrumors 65816

    RootBeerMan

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    #1
    The steel companies got what they wanted from Trump's tariff's, but the actual people who make the steel got crapped on. The steel workers, large numbers of whom voted for Trump, stuck with the companies during the lean years and agreed to austerity measures to keep their jobs and industry afloat. Now that the companies are seeing record profits they want their cut of the pie. And everyone's wondering which side Trump will come down on.

     
  2. R.Perez macrumors 6502

    R.Perez

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    #2
    I posted this in the economy thread but it was well worth its own thread.
     
  3. DearthnVader macrumors 6502a

    DearthnVader

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    #3
    Trump did well in the Rust Belt, and to be honest he couldn't have won without a great deal of support from the people there. He'd do well to remember it, and brake party ranks to side with the unions on this, if he thinks he's going to win again.

    Without support in the rust belt, he's dead in the water in 2020, he'll get his ass handed to him.
     
  4. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #4
    LOL he'll be bending GOP leadership heads after January... dealing with Dems in Congress and supporting unions? :D And telling the National Labor Relations Board to start siding with workers again instead of management? :eek: Probably not!

    Well first we have to see whether Dems have got it together to capitalize on the discontent over tariffs, or go off on tangents. 47 more days to midterms...
     
  5. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #5
    This is a complicated issue.

    The US steel industry was on something of a rebound before Trump took office. And the Obama administration had placed tariffs on Chinese steel for legitimate (under WTO rules) charges of dumping. So to suggest that US Steel or ArcelorMittal are doing just because of Trump's tariffs is not accurate.

    Secondly, steelworkers in the US get paid pretty well. True - they haven't had much in the way of pay increases recently. But they still make a much better than average wage. Countering that - the new contract proposed by the companies asks the steelworkers to accept health plans with much higher deductibles. And pay raises (3.5%, 2%, 1%) that will barely keep pace with inflation. And the executives of the steel companies continue to take multi-million dollar paychecks.

    US Steel net income in 2017 of $387 million. Which sounds like a lot. And it will probably make even more this year. But it has 28,000 employees. Do the math, and you'll see that paying each of them an extra $10 or $15,000 - and they are barely breaking even.

    Steelmaking is an intensely capital-intensive business. It requires the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars over several years, during which market conditions can fluctuate greatly.

    What is the solution? What is the right thing to do? I'm not sure. But long-term, artificial tariffs probably aren't the secret to profitability or good-paying secure jobs.
     
  6. DearthnVader macrumors 6502a

    DearthnVader

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    #6
    You're right, really the tariffs are only good for short term leverage to get China to the point they openly trade the Yuan.

    It the pegging, undervaluing, and other manipulation that makes exports cheap and imports expensive in China.

    China has a very well off middle class that is larger than our entire population, and we need fair access to those markets.
     
  7. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

    GermanSuplex

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    #7
    If they were fast-food workers working for minimum wage and wanting to strike or demand a higher wage while their company or industry was seeing record profits, a lot of people would be telling them find different careers and asking those who support the workers "do you want to pay $15 for a Big Mac?"

    I agree and support their (Steel Workers or anyone else's) right to strike and wish the companies would simply do what is right by their workers, but at the same time, its hard to have empathy when its not reciprocated (its the same as people who will go on a tirade about people on food stamps or unemployment before revealing that they are currently on both as well). As Americans, we like to go shopping, eat out, go to the movies, etc. - lots of jobs and industries that we think are disposable would greatly change the face of this country and the luxuries we enjoy if the industry relied on teenagers working one year before heading off to schooling or a "better" career. So I'd like to see people in any industry who work full-time for a living treated the same as anyone else. I don't think someone who mops floors or works fast-food should be paid the same as a steel worker or someone else in a trade, though I'd like to see the principles looked upon as the same.

    All of that aside, the intensifying amount of unregulated capitalism, the skewed and loop-hole ridden tax codes and amount of corruption, greed and influence of money in politics means companies making record profits while their workers face stagnant wages is not going away anytime soon.
     
  8. DearthnVader macrumors 6502a

    DearthnVader

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    #8
    I think the Federal minimum wage needs to be doubled, and I don't really care who that puts out of business.

    If your business model relies on paying people less than a living wage, it's just not sound, and you need to close your doors.

    I really don't care what that does to prices.
     
  9. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #9
    But those are two somewhat different issues.

    The US steel industry went into a sharp decline long before China started getting rich. And even if we cut off 100% of Chinese steel imports, the steel would come in from somewhere.

    The steel industry is a) very capital intensive. b) requires long-term investment in an industry subject to market volatility, and c) has increasingly replaced human workers with technology and machinery.

    Trump can punish China all he wants. But crippling steel tariffs simply drive up the price of steel used in everything from construction and automobiles to dishwashers and bridges. US steelmakers will pocket the profits, which come out of the pockets of consumers.

    And let's not kid ourselves that it's the wicked Chinese steelmakers that are paying Trump's tariffs. It's US consumers.
     
  10. R.Perez macrumors 6502

    R.Perez

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    #10
    Every once in a while you surprise me and I like you.

    Welcome comrade
     
  11. DearthnVader macrumors 6502a

    DearthnVader

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    #11
    It's not a compete non sequitur, the exchange rate dollars to Yuan makes the price of imported Chinese steel artificially low.
     
  12. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #12
    No. And Chinese artificial valuation of its currency has been a long-standing point of contention with the US (and other GTO members.)

    But in the course of this discussion, China only accounts for 3% of the steel imported into the United States. The largest such exporters to the US being Canada and Brazil, followed by South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and Russia.

    Whatever tariffs are placed on Chinese steel just aren't going to affect the wages offered to US Steel workers much at all.
     
  13. RootBeerMan thread starter macrumors 65816

    RootBeerMan

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    #13
    Looks like they may have come to an agreement. No details on it, yet.

    https://www.wtae.com/article/watch-python-falls-from-ceiling-of-bank-during-staff-meeting/23819170

     

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12 September 20, 2018