USW President Demands Federal Government get Involved in Steel Crisis

By USW, Special for  USDR

 Prior to a hearing called by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to solicit comments on the global steel industry and its impact on the U.S. steel industry and steel market, United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the text of his testimony, prepared for delivery at the  hearing:

“Today, more than 13,500 steelworkers across the country are holding layoff notices that they have received from their employers. Statistics and an academic discussion of free trade do not mask the pain that has been inflicted on hard-working American families by unfair trade practices and policies that essentially ignore the impact of trade on real  people.

“Manufacturing and steel are the backbone of America’s national and economic security. For national security, it’s more than just the steel that goes into our ships, tanks, armored personnel vehicles and weapons. It’s the critical infrastructure that supports our troops: the steel rails that guide our trains; the girders that support our bridges, docks, warehouses and buildings; the grain oriented electrical steel that is vital to electrical transformers and steel towers that support electrical transmission  lines.

“Economically, our steel sector is among the world’s most advanced and efficient, producing steel with fewer man-hours per ton than any other country. Since early in the last decade, the industry has invested billions of dollars in new plants, equipment and technology to ensure that it continues to be a world-class competitor. It is the cleanest international producer of steel with processes, equipment and the commitment to abide to the highest of environmental  standards.

“The current steel crisis is primarily caused by unfair foreign trade that includes dramatic expansions of global overcapacity. The largest source is China, which currently has more than 400 million metric tons of  overcapacity.

“We need an immediate action plan to address this crisis that includes: broad-based import restraints; comprehensive, enforceable measures to reduce global overcapacity; a definitive statement declaring that China does not qualify as a market economy under U.S. law along with engagement with the European Union to ensure that they do not grant China market economy status later this year; stimulation of domestic demand; aggressive enforcement and expansion of domestic procurement policies; and, retention of domestic procurement policies in international trade  negotiations.

“Ongoing multilateral and bilateral discussions with China on overcapacity have failed to yield any worthwhile results. In fact, on the deadline for submission of requests to testify at the USTR hearing, Baosteel, a Chinese state-owned entity, announced that it was going to increase output by 20  percent.”

For the briefing paper attached to President Gerard’s testimony that identifies China’s promises and its failure to abide by them, click  here.

For President Gerard’s full testimony, click  here.

Testimony from Steelworkers across  America:

For testimony of Sam Pantello, EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, Pueblo, Colorado, click here.
For testimony of Dan Pierce, U.S. Steel, Keewatin, Minnesota, click here.
For testimony of Tim Davis, Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, McMinnville, Oregon, click here.
For testimony of David Clark, U.S. Steel –Tubular Operations, Fairfield, Alabama, click here.
For testimony of Daniel Simmons, U.S. Steel Granite City, Illinois, click here.
For testimony of James Sanderson, ArcelorMittal, Georgetown, South Carolina, click here.

SOURCE United Steelworkers  (USW)

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