United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard released the following statement on
Thursday on President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
encouraged by President Obama’s focus on jobs and agree that getting people
back to work should be our nation’s top priority. With unemployment in
double digits, there is no time to waste. But not just any job will do. We
need quality jobs that give our families a real shot at a better life, that
support communities, and that serve as the solid foundation for a healthy
“We need a
long-term strategy to create jobs that create real wealth. We’ve seen the
devastation of an economy that relies too heavily on artificial wealth
created on Wall Street, an economy that has suffered because of the
decades-long decimation of our manufacturing base. It’s urgent that we keep
Main Street in mind as we move forward. Our members are losing patience with
talk. They desperately want action now.
clean, efficient, and modern domestic manufacturing must be a key part of
our nation’s recovery, just as it has been a priority for China, Germany,
India, France, and other countries. Manufacturing jobs pay 10 to 50 percent
more than service sector jobs and every manufacturing job supports five more
jobs. Creating 2.5 million new manufacturing jobs in the United States would
mean at least $100 billion for our economy over the next decade.
did not back down from big ideas and neither should our nation or our
elected leaders. Now’s not the time for short-term, piecemeal solutions. We
need a sustained strategy for green jobs that are also good jobs right here
at home; infrastructure projects that will take us into the next century and
encourage long-term investments in our manufacturing base; and health
insurance reform that truly lowers costs to help us create jobs, provides
quality coverage for all Americans, and does not tax anybody’s benefits.
“We urge the
president and Congress to not let bad trade deals undermine the creation of
good jobs. We’ve heard the vow before that trade deals would be good for us.
Unfortunately, we’ve felt the pain of those broken promises first-had. When
these agreements are not enforced, it not only costs us millions of good
jobs, it’s counterproductive to our commitment to a cleaner environment and
human rights worldwide. And it’s deadly for trade unionists in places like
Columbia and South Korea.
job-creating action that is bold, swift, and sustained. The United
Steelworkers are ready to roll up our sleeves and help President Obama get
our economy back on track by getting Americans back to work. Let’s get