Becca Schimmel

Courtesy the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Retired coal miners and coal community activists are on Capitol Hill this week urging action on two important issues for miners: pensions and black lung benefits. Advocates say funds supporting both pensions for retired miners and the federal benefits for those sickened by black lung disease are at risk if Congress does not act. 

Pension Problem

Olmstead Lock, Dam To Open After Decades Of Work

Aug 29, 2018
Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

After nearly 30 years of work the Army Corps of Engineers will partially open a new locks-and-dam system Thursday on the Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois.Ships and barges will be able to start using the Olmsted Locks and Dam in October. 

In Ohio Valley Visits, Trump Administration Pushes Policies Supporting Mining And Metals

Aug 23, 2018
Kara Lofton/WVPB

In back-to-back events this week President Trump and his commerce secretary visited the Ohio Valley to tout administration policies aimed at propping up two of the region’s traditional but faltering industries — metals and mining.

The president used a Tuesday rally filled with West Virginia coal miners to unveil a new plan to ease pollution requirements on coal-burning power plants.

 

to: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Automotive manufacturing leaders met in Kentucky to discuss how changes in U.S. trade policy under President Trump affect the industry and its growing presence in the Ohio Valley.

Industry leaders gathered for the annual AutoVision conference and many don’t like what they see coming.

Aaron Payne/Ohio Valley ReSource

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts fired up a crowd of thousands of union workers in Columbus, Ohio, with a simple chant: “Fix it!”

The rally last week came on the eve of a Congressional field hearing on problems plaguing multiemployer pension programs like the one retired miners depend upon.

“When the people get to marching, the politicians get to listening,” Roberts roared.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley’s auto manufacturing industry is growing increasingly nervous about the Trump administration’s trade policy. First came tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, key materials for vehicle makers. Now the Commerce Department is looking into taxes on imported automobiles and automotive parts. Both are ominous signs for an industry that employs more than 1.5 million people in the region. Ohio and Kentucky are the nation’s second and third biggest auto-making states, respectively.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

The Trump administration has made good on a promise to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on some major U.S. trading partners, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Regional iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration’s delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs. President Trump has postponed until June a decision on which countries will be subject to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The decision had been due May 1.

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Kentucky is taking part in a new research program aimed at reducing the recidivism rate of the state’s prison inmates. Kentucky is one of four states participating in the project.

CNN.com

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has introduced a bill aimed at addressing the impact the opioid epidemic is having on the nation’s workforce. 

The Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry, or CAREER Act, creates a pilot program focused on the states most devastated by substance abuse. The legislation encourages local businesses and treatment groups to form partnerships. McConnell says having stable employment is about more than a paycheck and supporting a family. 

Gov. Matt Bevin says it’s too early to say what he thinks of President Donald Trump’s proposal to institute tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum even though the policy could have a big impact on Kentucky. 

The tariff could benefit Kentucky aluminum manufacturers like Braidy Industries—the company that Bevin helped attract to the state with a package of economic incentives—and Century Aluminum, which announced it would hire 300 new workers in Hancock County if the tariff went into effect. 
 

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

  President Donald Trump met with steel and aluminum industry leaders Thursday to talk about implementing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum which matters in the Ohio Valley as it is home to last US aluminum smelters and many industries depend on steel and aluminum. 

As a candidate Trump promised to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now he says he’ll sign those tariffs into law next week. After the announcement the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 500 points as investors feared a trade war and retaliation against US exports. 

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Common

A financial technology company says Kentucky is home to three of the top 25 best places in the 
U.S. to work in manufacturing.

The list created by the company “Smart Asset” ranks the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox area as the fifth-best place in the country for manufacturing jobs. Owensboro was ranked 17th, and the Louisville metro area was 19th. 

 

AmericanMachinest.com

An aluminum company planning a state-subsidized $1.3 billion dollar facility in Greenup County has released a partial list of its shareholders. Braidy Industries had been keeping those identities a secret. 

Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Finding employees can be difficult in some parts of Kentucky and employers are increasing looking to the refugee population to fill the void.

According to a report from the Catholic Charities of Louisville, the 90 day retention rate for refugee employees in Kentucky was 92 percent in fiscal year 2017. Jon Crosby is a field representative for U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Bowling Green. Crosby says manufacturers across the state have told him they want to employ more refugees. 

“They’re coming in to work, they’re ready to work they want to come back every day.”