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.

...

More in category