Steelworkers are paid twice the national average for industrial workers and they should scale back demands to help save their jobs, a spokesman for industry suppliers says.
Purdue University Prof. William Dunkelberg, spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business, says fast-growing paychecks for steel, auto, and other industry workers also hurt smaller firms that supply these industries.
AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland, however, says lower wages would reduce the workers' buying power and hurt the economy by ''further shriveling the market for goods.''
Average wages and benefits in the steel industry were more than $24 an hour following contract increases in August. Steel wages without benefits are 63 percent above the average for industrial workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.