The Democrats' job killing agenda
A tugboat pushing nine loaded coal barges chugged up the Ohio River, toward the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.That is now the change Democrats are hoping for. It is another reason why the economy is sputtering under the Obama administration's guidance. Their actions do not match their rhetoric on jobs.
It eventually passed the McConway & Torley steel foundry along the Allegheny, likely headed for one of the few coal-fired power plants left in America.
Hold on to that imagery: It is part of the left-behind community of Americans whose struggles with the we-know-what's-best-for-you elite will be central to the fight over our direction in the next presidential election.
Workers in the coal industry and at McConway & Torley are in the cross hairs of the progressive left. The left rails against McDonald's for not paying a salary that sustains a family of four, as it simultaneously tries to snuff out the manufacturing base that provides well-paid middle-class jobs.
McConway & Torley has been in Pittsburgh for nearly 150 years. It is one of the few places in the city where laborers can earn enough to stay out of poverty, own a home and provide security for their families' futures.
All of that is what both Democrats and Republicans are preaching in the run-up to the 2016 election; each candidate promises to rebuild the manufacturing base that evaporated from the industrial Northeast and Midwest and shifted overseas, where labor is cheaper.
Since the Civil War era, McConway & Torley has made couplers that link railroad cars, a once-deadly task performed manually by brakemen; what it produces here accounts for 60 percent of the North American market.
It's the kind of stuff Americans once were great at making. It's the kind of stuff that Democrats once championed, as proof they're for “the working guy.”
McConway & Torley employs 420 workers, 311 hourly and 109 salaried; of the salaried jobs, 43 are considered highly technical positions.
In addition, the foundry maintains a 60-percent employment rate for minorities.
That's like manna from heaven to the left — except when it isn't.
You see, on the same night that the city hosted a conference with Nordic countries about “social sustainability” (talking to each other), “urban fabric” (city living) and “carbon footprint transference” (walking), the health department held a public hearing in the once working-class, now upwardly-mobile neighborhood where the foundry sits.
That hearing was about a plan to reduce the foundry's steel production by 77 percent. And that would take away the one thing everyone says they want to create through manufacturing — middle-class jobs.