It was a frigid 15 degrees on the picket line along the railroad tracks in Wilmerding, Pa. More than 100 union members and activists chanted slogans of solidarity and in favor of a fair contract with Wabtec Corporation — a company that builds freight train locomotives. It turned out to be the final hours of a nine-day walkout by 1,700 workers.

The manufacturing jobs based in Erie, Pa., that they were defending have been threatened for a while. But President Trump promised this constituency a more secure future, and he made significant inroads with the white, working-class vote in a county that has both factories and lots of farmland.

Trump carried Erie County — just barely — in 2016, following easy victories there by Barack Obama in the previous two presidential elections. Erie was one of 206 counties nationwide that flipped from supporting Obama to backing Trump.


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