(Pittsburgh, Pa.) – The United Steelworkers (USW) International Executive Board today voted unanimously to support President Barack Obama for re-election in November.
“This is the right time to do the right thing for a man who has proved he is right for the job,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The President has turned around an economy he inherited that was nose-diving towards a depression by focusing on jobs, manufacturing and enforcing U.S. trade laws.
“All of his accomplishments come despite obstructionist right-wingers in Congress beholden to the one percent at the expense of everybody else.”
Beyond fulfilling his commitments to manufacturing and job creation, President Obama succeeded in regulating Wall Street and passing health care reform, Gerard pointed out, noting: “Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies no longer can deny care to those with pre-existing conditions, no longer can drop people when they get sick, and no longer can place lifetime limits on care.”
The USW plans to support the President’s re-election efforts on the ground by mobilizing its members. “We plan to talk directly to our membership about the President’s policies that benefit working American families,” said USW International Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson. “USW activists will also work hard in the fight against right-wing voter suppression campaigns as well as continue to advocate that all workers have a voice in their workplace and the right to bargain collectively,” added Johnson.
President Obama’s achievements in his first term have benefitted USW members who work in a wide range of industries including, steel, aluminum, glass and paper making; auto parts and wind turbine manufacturing; copper mining, tire building, and oil refining. As a result, the leaders of USW local unions across the country have expressed strong support for the President’s re-election.
For example, Rod Nelson, president of USW Local 207L at Cooper Tire in Findlay, Ohio, said he was eager to help the re-election efforts because he strongly believed President Obama’s enforcement of laws against unfair trade has been key in getting many Americans back to work. “The President halted the illegal flood of tire imports from China that was decimating American jobs and American production,” said Nelson. “Our members work hard and play by the rules and with the President leading the way, we have a government willing to stand up to unfair trade practices by foreign countries.”
Similarly, Kevin Jaskie, president of Local 1343 at the Caterpillar plant in South Milwaukee, Wis., said he particularly appreciated the President’s efforts to create an economy built to last. “President Obama is listening to American workers and has defined a vision for an economy that creates jobs and prosperity for the majority, not the 1 percent who have looted the economy,” Brown said. “Strengthening American manufacturing by working to maintain good jobs and creating sustainable, clean-energy jobs for the future is something we all can endorse.”
Rick Galiano, president of USW Local 9305 in Beaver Falls, Pa., agreed with Brown and Nelson that the President’s policies from the stimulus to the auto industry rescue have preserved and created good-paying American jobs. Galiano said of particular note was the Obama administration’s pursuit of a case all the way to the World Trade Organization to end China’s illegal export restrictions on nine raw materials widely used in the steel, aluminum and chemical industries. “To protect its domestic producers while handicapping American manufacturers, the government of China unfairly limited export of these key materials. The Obama administration aggressively pursued a case to stop that. And Obama won.” Galiano said.
Gerard noted that Steelworkers, feeling a debt of gratitude to the President for his policies supporting workers and American manufacturing, will return the favor by helping him secure another four years in office. “He worked for us,” Gerard said, “now we will work to re-elect him.”
The USW represents 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada who work mostly in manufacturing, but also in the public sector and in health care and pharmaceuticals. For more, go to: www.usw.org