A Steely No

The locals defy their leaders

No industry has suffered more in the current slump than steelmaking. Once the backbone of the nation's industrial might, steel firms have seen sales plunge to the lowest levels in 24 years while unemployment has leaped to an alarming 37% of the work force.

Though steel has been plagued over the years by everything from strong foreign competition to outmoded mills and plants, the industry's biggest headache remains exorbitant wages, which now average $23.40 per hr., including benefits. That makes unionized steelworkers the most highly paid blue-collar laborers...

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