Unions: everyone’s got an opinion, but we all can agree on the concept. Simply this: individuals, weak in themselves, join together to stand up to the strong. Examples range from the original 13 colonies to your neighborhood watch. But, usually, we think of unions when it comes to workers and owners. And, without argument, some good has come of it: safety, reasonable working hours, fairness, a living wage to name a few. And, although there may be some negative sentiment associated with unions, let’s, for now, remember the beginnings.
Well, one may ask why the letter. The reason is that a new contract is due between the Steelworkers and U.S. Steel and, this time, there’s a different feel to it. Admittedly, the steel market is down and even cost of living increases seem doubtful. But there’s something more in play here. It’s a blood-in-the-water kind of thing. A kick them when they’re down kind of feeling. And, although I imagine the company strategists sense the time is ripe to really do damage to the union; I dearly wish the cooperative spirit that manifests itself the rest of the year, could somehow show its face at the negotiating table. Although those who have nothing to lose may relish the thought of humbling workers, they need to remember that it’s our families who they are threatening. At the end of the day, we both want U.S. Steel to be profitable; but our families are worth fighting for.
Robert P. Edwards