Labor author Mike Stout spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on Aug. 24 about the power that union members have when they collectively put their voices together.
Homestead Steel Works
He discussed one of his books that surrounds the Rank and File Caucus at the Homestead Steel Works in Pennsylvania. The story details events that occurred from 1977 through 1987.
As a high school graduate, Stout worked at the mill. He then took on a roll of sticking up for other workers and became a massive labor advocate. Stout began learning more about labor and grew support among his coworkers.
After Stout and the rest of the workers got fed up working conditions inside the mill, they decided to take matters into their own hands and began taking care of their own grievances.
With a high school diploma in hand, Stout began taking on lawyers in support of himself and his coworkers.
Behind the scenes, U.S. Steel was laying off worker after worker. The Homesteads workforce once at 7,000, shrunk to 3,000. Ultimately the property the mill sat on was sold and an outdoor shopping center and a water park were built.
Stout said he fought for those workers and the effort probably kept the mill open longer than what was expected.
The power of a union
Stout then began explaining the importance of unions and the power workers can have when they combine their collective voice.
He reminded listeners that the power is in the hands of the worker, so long as they are united. He said a union will fight for your rights, guarantee a good paycheck, ensure quality conditions and put safety front and center.