PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTRF) — It’s a towering fortress of steel, sitting right in the middle of the Steel City.
The United Steelworkers headquarters represents the industry that Pittsburgh—and more specifically its workers—helped to build for the world.
The man heading up the bargaining for its 1.2 million global members is its international president David McCall…Although he prefers to say that they manage him.
In his more than half a century with the union, McCall has been a millwright, a local chapter vice president, and eventually negotiator with 500 employers across Ohio.
In short—he knows of where he speaks.
“We learned from our members, sit on the shop floor, listen to what they deal with every day.”David McCall, International President, United Steelworkers
McCall says his appointment as the USW’s ninth president is bittersweet, following the death of his friend Tom Conway.
He presides over an organization whose numbers continue to grow…in the face of declining union membership around the world.
“We always think about the long term. A lot of employers agree that that’s important. We have communications, we have ideas, we exchange ideas, positive relationships. Other employers, they’re not so smart.”David McCall, International President, United Steelworkers
It’s no secret that the 21st century hasn’t been kind to manufacturing jobs…with environmental advocates taking aim at the carbon-intensive steelmaking process.
But it’s a tide he sees the steel industry riding out.
With legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Law helping it along, he says a green economy has a place for USW members.
“With the advent of carbon capture, DRI, HBI, hydrogen use, I think all those things will slowly but surely give us opportunities in the steel industry.”David McCall, International President, United Steelworkers
He has praise for the United Auto Workers, who declared victory in their recent labor battle…but says it won’t affect steelworker negotiations.
McCall says those are dependent on what members need…and making sure they know the stakes.
“When I’m sitting at the table and whoever I’m sitting across from, they don’t just need to know that they’re talking to Dave McCall. They need to know that they’re talking to Dave McCall and the 1 million members that we represent.”David McCall, International President, United Steelworkers
The labor movement may have over 100 years under its belt…but he says the workers who make it up haven’t changed their demands.
A secure job, the means to support a family, and the ability to retire.
And with a focus on those fundamentals, steel and the American Dream can still forge ahead.
“As long as we understand that technology is here to stay and we embrace it, I think we’re I think we’re in good shape. I don’t want to say so bright we got to wear shades, but it’s looking pretty good.”David McCall, International President, United Steelworkers