PITTSBURGH – A newly formed coalition, melding traditional Western Pennsylvania industries with high technology and commerce, was unveiled Thursday afternoon.
Pittsburgh Works Together, a grouping of labor, business and civic leaders, was on display during a rally it organized inside Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Several hundred people attended, many of them skilled laborers wearing T-shirts of their respective unions.
Unity is the byword, as reflected in the paper signs that were prevalent at the rally, promoting “Jobs for All.” The coalition’s goals include getting employees in various professions to work together and to advocate for a wide spectrum of job creation. Pittsburgh Works Together also strives to combat interest groups opposed to industries such as steel, natural gas and construction.
“We picked Heinz History Center for a specific reason,” said Jeff Nobers, executive director of the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, which serves local construction unions and contractor associations. “History is not just about the past, but the future. Pittsburgh is known for having a culture of hard work and innovation, and we want to build a good future for the nation.”
The coalition was forged out of meetings among the guild, the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council, local companies and civic leaders.
“Pittsburgh Works is about one thing: fighting for the soul of this region,” said Nick DeIuliis, director and chief executive officer of Southpointe-based CNX Resources Corp., an oil and gas operator. “We are on the right side of this fight. This room is full of doers. Without us, everything stops.”
Scott Buckiso, chief manufacturing officer for Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, said that Pennsylvania “is one of the leading manufacturing states in the country and we want it to remain that way. We need to manufacture more things in the U.S. and, preferably, the Pittsburgh area.”
Tom Melcher, an ironworker for 42 years and co-chair of the coalition, was one of six speakers during the fast-paced, 40-minute program. His words resonated with the large, orderly crowd.
“You are the best workers in the world and will continue to be. Let’s get to work.”