USW President Gerard: We’re Not Gonna Be Rolled Over

Interview with USW President Leo W. Gerard on WIN Radio

“We’re living in an era of absolute total corporate greed. How do you justify a CEO making nine or ten million dollars a year? How do you face yourself in the morning in the mirror when you want workers and their families to cough up that kind of money that almost pushes them out of the middle class?”

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says for the 30,000 steelworkers his union represents in the U.S. steel industry, these are hard times brought on by cheap “dumped” imports.

[Leo Gerard]: “This is probably one of the most difficult periods of time in the last 12-15 years in the steel industry. The flood of subsidized and dumped steel from different countries, but primarily China, South Korea and India, has really depressed the steel market. We understand the difficulty right now in the steel industry. It’s a difficulty that certainly was not brought on by the union. It’s not brought on by our members makin’ too much money or our members having too good of benefits.  It’s a difficulty that’s been brought on in some cases by just unbelievable amounts of cheating that’s going on in the global steel industry.”

Gerard says that at the bargaining table the USW is prepared to help work through the challenges in the industry right now, but the industry won’t be depressed forever.

[Leo Gerard]: “We’re prepared to bargain and to do it on a basis that if the company does well, we’ll get improvements. We’re not looking to change the world right now. But we’re also not gonna let them throw our retirees overboard or make health care costs unaffordable. We’re not gonna be rolled over. We‘re not gonna be walked on. We’re not gonna end up that our members can’t have a decent middle class standard of living. And we’re gonna stand and fight until we have a fair contract that our members will be proud to ratify.”