United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss possible infrastructure plans and how the Biden administration is working to achieve this key campaign promise. He also talked about a monthslong strike at a Pennsylvania steel company.
Allegheny Technologies strike
Workers at nine Allegheny Technologies steel plants have been on strike for 12 weeks. Conway said the union used to have a good relationship with the company, but after personnel changes and other events, the relationship broke down.
During previous negotiations, the company tried to pass healthcare costs onto the workforce. Earlier this year, Allegheny locked out the Steel Workers, but were eventually charged with labor law violations, Conway said.
The company is again trying to pass healthcare costs to the workers. With the company doing well financially, Conway is surprised they are trying this tactic again. However, he said the union members will win this strike.
Working on infrastructure
Conway expressed frustration with the inability of Congress to come up with a meaningful infrastructure bill. The Biden administration went big and asked for a comprehensive bill. However, Republicans fought against this plan and instead want to offer a bare bones version.
Pipes are eroding, bridges are collapsing and roads are deteriorating, Conway said it is time to get something done.
Conway remains confident this administration will achieve their goal of a comprehensive infrastructure bill. He applauded them for giving the labor community a seat at the table and said it is nice to have an administration who connects with the working class.
In a recent visit to Pittsburgh, Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met with members of the organized labor community. Instead of meeting with only union leaders, meeting groups consisted of union organizers and the Vice President and Labor Secretary. Conway said it was great to see them working with those who work to organize more of the workforce.