US Steel and National Association of Manufacturers pushing manufacturing legislation

Pittsburgh Business Times [emphasis mine … Michael]

The president of a national manufacturer’s organization teamed with the president of the U.S. Steel Corp. Friday to renew pressure on the U.S. Congress to pass a collection of bills they said will solidify the future of manufacturing in the United States.

“It’s an environment today with a lot of uncertainty and we need to clean up these things,” said John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. In the past week, Mr. Engler has been touring manufacturing centers around the country in support of a five point legislative plan that the NAM says will give the U.S. economy a $1 trillion boost.

On Friday, Mr. Engler and U.S. Steel president John Surma led a tour of the U.S. Steel Corp.’s Irvin Works in West Mifflin, where steel slabs from the company’s Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock are lengthened and compressed into rolled coils weighing 40 tons or more. The mill employs more than 1,000 people and has a 2.9 million ton capacity, according to company spokesman John Armstrong.

Mr. Engler said passage of bills to streamline asbestos litigation, air pollution and telecommunications law, and measures to increase highway spending and domestic fuel exploration are in reach.

“I think it will be done in the next 30 to 60 days,” Mr. Engler said.

But equally pressing, according to Mr. Surma and Mr. Engler, is the shortage of qualified workers to take the place of an increasingly aging industrial workforce. “We’ve got to attract people that are better then we are today,” Mr. Surma said. “We have to do a better job at marketing ourselves,” Mr. Surma said.

Mr. Engler said the $400 billion being spent on primary and secondary education nationally needs to be adjusted to focus more on technical training. He said an investment of $6 billion, or about 1.5 percent of the total, could make a big difference.

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