How to Save Steel: How to Make the Most of Your Time on the Edge
Steel mills, which provide jobs, are in decline.
The United Steelworkers union says the industry has seen the number of steelworkers decline by more than one-third since 1980, a number that has only accelerated since 2000.
The American Federation of Government Employees estimates that about 40 percent of steel production in the United States has been shut down since 2010, when a federal court ruled that federal regulations had caused the industry to go out of business.
“It’s a matter of life and death for the steel industry,” says Bill Wiegand, a retired steelworker and professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
“I don’t think you can survive it.
It’s a big risk.”
The decline of steel in the U.S. and elsewhere is the result of a number of factors.
Many steelworkers have lost their jobs in the industrial revolution.
Others have been laid off in the process.
Others are retiring from the industry altogether.
And in the past decade, the UAW has seen a massive shift in manufacturing, especially from the United Kingdom to China.
The new workers were often immigrants, many of whom had to train in the UK before being brought to the U of A to work.
“The U.K. is very skilled in what it’s doing, in the robotics, the computer technology, the IT skills,” says David Schulze, a steelworker in Virginia.
“That’s why they are so competitive in the global marketplace.”
A number of other factors have contributed to the decline of the steel-making industry.
In 2012, the federal government announced plans to phase out all of its coal-fired power plants by 2025.
The U.N. report cited rising carbon emissions and a lack of access to clean water and energy sources as key factors.
As a result, coal mining is likely to be a bigger contributor to climate change in the future, Wiegands concerns notwithstanding.
“If the UMWA goes out of existence, we’ll be looking at coal mines being shut down and all sorts of things going on.
So the whole coal industry is going to be gone.”
Meanwhile, China is ramping up its manufacturing, and it is also building new factories to support its workforce.
The People’s Republic has an estimated 300 million steelworkers, but it is not a small workforce.
In 2016, the country had 1.2 million jobs, and its total output is estimated at more than 300 billion pounds.
That’s roughly as much as the world’s population of China, and more than the U:S.
economy, the OECD estimates.
In fact, the Chinese economy accounts for a quarter of the world economy, and the Chinese government recently announced plans for a $600 billion industrial park in the eastern port city of Tianjin.
China’s reliance on cheap labor and the lack of government regulation have made it difficult for companies to compete globally.
Wieganders job at the U is the first opportunity for him to get out of his current predicament.
He has been laid-off twice in the last five years.
In 2015, he was laid off at the same steel mill that had laid him off the previous year.
Wielands biggest fear is that the UAG will have to go back to the drawing board.
“This could happen to anybody, so I’m not saying we’re going to lose,” he says.
“But I think there’s a lot of people that are worried about it.
We have a lot more work to do.
And if we don’t do anything about it, I think this will happen to any steel mill.”
He hopes to make a small fortune from his new job.
“Right now, I have no idea what the future holds,” he said.