The steel industry is back on its feet and manufacturing jobs are returning to the Pittsburgh area, with steelworkers back at work after months of unemployment and the government saying there are about 2,200 new jobs in the steel industry.
The steel industry has recovered to its pre-recession level, with jobs added in manufacturing and other sectors increasing by about 50,000 jobs.
But the Pittsburgh steelworkers have yet to get back to the levels they saw in 2008 and 2009, when unemployment rose to about 11.8 percent.
As a result, many of them are feeling the pinch of higher unemployment.
Workers at Pittsburgh Steel, the nation’s largest steelmaker, have been out of work for six months and they are waiting for the steelworkers union to strike to secure their benefits.
Steelworkers were on a two-week strike last month in protest of the lockout imposed by the National Labor Relations Board, which has made it more difficult for them to organize and bargain for better wages and benefits.
Steelworkers are trying to get a second contract for their $4.5 billion plant and other facilities in Pennsylvania, but the National Steelworkers Council, which represents steelworkers, has blocked that from happening.
President Donald Trump has called on President-elect Joe Biden to negotiate a new contract for the industry, saying in a statement on Monday that the “U.S., steelworkers and the steel community need to work together to make sure that no other workers or communities are left behind.”
The president-elect’s administration has said it would not negotiate with the steel workers union.
The National Labor Board, a branch of the federal government that investigates workplace disputes, is expected to make a ruling in the coming days on whether to approve the union’s demand for an increase in wages.
The Steelworkers are not the only steelworkers to be in a picket line.
Over 200,000 workers in Pennsylvania are still on strike and the National Union of Railroads and Truckers is also seeking to negotiate for a second deal.
The National Association of Manufacturers, which supports the steel sector, is also fighting to block the union from making a second demand for a raise in wages and better benefits.
Trump, however, has promised that he will renegotiate trade deals that benefit the steel and steelworkers industries, and he has promised to restore American manufacturing jobs to their pre-industrial days.
In a speech on Tuesday, Trump promised to revive American manufacturing and to “bring back” steel jobs that have been lost to outsourcing.
He has also said he will reverse the trade deals of the Obama administration, which he called the worst trade deals in history.
But the steel companies are not ready to abandon the steel jobs.
In the days since the steel strike started, steelworkers in Pennsylvania have been staging pickets outside the steel plant, with some workers staging sit-ins outside the plant and others at other sites, according to the Steelworkers Union.
“We will not allow the steel mills and the companies that are destroying our communities to take our jobs and destroy our livelihoods,” Steelworkers President Tim Klay said.