April Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta

Our Mission Will Not Change

I recently attended the USW Installation of the International Executive Board and listened to President Conway speak about our union’s plan for Organizing. Many of our traditional businesses have changed significantly and, in most cases, have seen a reduction in membership. So, I took a look at a few of the industries and what I discovered was a surprise.

In 1980 the US steel industry was one of the most efficient globally and used 10-man hours to produce a ton (mhpt) of steel. In 2010 that number was 1.2 mhpt. In some of the most modern mills, the manpower to produce a ton of steel is well below 1 mhpt.

In 2021 US car dealerships sold approximately 15 million vehicles. In the past, when dealerships used colorful brochures to sell a car, it was estimated that seven brochures were handed out to prospective buyers for each sale of a vehicle. That 105 million brochures represents a lot of top-quality paper that, in most cases, is no longer used. Likewise, many of us in SOAR remember when our paychecks were distributed to us each week in an envelope. Now millions of workers receive their pay by direct deposit.

As we all know, gas and oil have been in the headlines lately, so I looked at the statistics regarding refineries in the US and found that in the last 20 years, there have been 24 refineries that have been permanently shut down. As for new refineries, there has not been a new refinery built in the US in almost 30 years.

As the membership in the USW changes, the membership of SOAR will also change. However, as these changes do occur, our mission will remain the same: To improve the standard and quality of living for our active and retired members, and the labor community.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222