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1,300 Steel Workers Go on Strike for a Better Contract

Over 1,000 steel workers are on strike across five states. This is part of a recent uptick in labor struggle across the United States.

Ezra Brain

April 5, 2021
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Two steel workers on strike stand with their fists in the air and a sign that says "Fair Contract Now," the background is a sign for ATI.
Image: United Steelworkers

Steel workers in several states are currently on strike against Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) to demand a fair contract. The strike, which is estimated to involve around 1,300 steelworkers, began last week in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York.

Left Voice is hosting a panel with a Bessemer Amazon worker and Robin D.G. Kelly, author of Hammer and Hoe to discuss the results of the unionization vote. Sign up here.  RSVP to the Facebook event here. 

This strike takes place amidst a resurgence of labor disputes nationally, from the highly publicized struggle to unionize the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama and the coal miners’ strike that broke out just a few miles from Bessemmer, to Teamsters in California, USW workers in Kansas, and UAW workers in Texas who are also on strike. Workers are increasingly standing up and refusing to accept the status quo. The Black Lives Matter movement and the worker struggle around the Covid-19 pandemic have clearly influenced this resurgence of worker struggle. 

The neoliberal era was marked by a significant decrease in labor organizing and struggle. Presidents from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump used their tenure to fight the rights and abilities of workers to unionize. The bureaucratic leaderships of unions, worried of risking their positions of privilege in bed with the politicians, largely refused to fight back these attacks, leaving workers stranded. However, in recent years — beginning with the teacher strike wave a few years ago — workers are refusing to take it any more. This steel strike is but one example of that.

You might be interested in: What Are Unions, and Why Do They Matter?

It is vital that workers across the United States and world support the strike against ATI — if the strike succeeds, it will only give more firepower to workers to fight back the bosses. Workers are increasingly realizing that we make the economy run and, if we decide to stop working, the bosses’ profits stop with us. We do the work and they make the profits, and this is how it has worked since the beginning of capitalism. Their system doesn’t work for us, but labor struggles, like the steel strike, help us challenge this system. 

If you or someone you know is participating in this strike, we’d love to talk to you! Please reach out to us either at [email protected] or through our social media.

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Ezra Brain

Ezra is a NYC based theatre artist and teacher.

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