Op-Ed: The Steelworkers on the Election

The United Steelworkers’ executive board, led by union President Leo Gerard, issued the following open letter to union members:

“An open letter from the United Steelworkers Leadership:

“On Tuesday, voters across the country took advantage of the hard-fought right to cast their ballots. The election is over and Donald Trump will be our next president.

“The USW endorsed Hillary Clinton. We believe she exhibited the qualities and experience most needed for our next president. She outlined a detailed set of policy initiatives on jobs, trade, infrastructure, education, health care, race relations and immigration that would not only move our nation forward, but expand opportunity for all.

“We fully recognize that the members of our union were divided this election season. While our nation’s economy has begun to grow after the devastating economic collapse during the Bush years, it has failed to grow quickly enough.

“And, as the members of this union know better than anyone, the growth has failed to stimulate the manufacturing sector because of our nation’s failed trade policies which grows out of both our political parties. Donald Trump used our own words to speak to these problems, and to the real suffering, fears and anxieties that so many feel.

“Today I (Gerard) am sending a congratulatory letter to President-elect Trump indicating that we will work with him to advance the interests of our nation and our members. On trade law overhaul, infrastructure rebuilding, and job creation we expect to work with his transition team and his administration to reclaim American jobs, revitalize manufacturing and rebuild our communities and nation.

“The letter also indicates that ‘we will disagree where we must.’ We expect that we will not be able to support many of his campaign promises. On issues such as worker rights, collective bargaining, health care, harsh immigration tactics, race relations, respect and equity for women, criminal justice reform, safe workplaces and a healthy environment as well as the Supreme Court, we will fight.

“We need to build bridges both literally and with each other, not walls. We need to unite our nation and our union, not create deeper divides. America and the USW are better than that.

“In the coming days, we intend to work to achieve our common goals and promote the well-being and livelihoods of our members and all Americans. Those who work hard and play by the rules are due all of the greatness that this nation can offer.

“Sincerely,

“The USW Executive Board.”