Flood of foreign-made tubes spurs outrage and trade complaint
May 19, 2014 11:36 PM
Steelworker Walt Oliver waves his protest sign at the rally at U.S. Steel's research and development offices in Munhall Monday morning.
By Len Boselovic / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
More than 500 steelworkers, union members, politicians and steel industry executives attended a rally Monday protesting unfair steel imports, chanting: “Got to do something. Stop that dumping.”
The rally, held at U.S. Steel’s research and technology center in Munhall, was part of a series of similar events organized by U.S. Steel, the United Steelworkers union, and the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a Washington, D.C., interest group supported by labor and industry.
Holding signs that read “Save our steel jobs” and “Steel’s our strength,” the worker-dominated crowd cheered a procession of elected officials and corporate and union leaders outraged over a flood of imports of steel tubes from South Korea and other countries.
The imports are the target of a trade complaint filed in July by U.S. Steel and other domestic producers. Industry officials were taken aback when the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is hearing the case, issued a preliminary ruling that South Korea was not at fault.
“We are going to keep this up until Commerce gets it right,” Tom Conway, United Steelworkers union vice president, told the crowd.
Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel president and CEO, called South Korea the most egregious offender. Other speakers noted that South Korea does not even use the energy tubing in its own country.
“Their plan is to dump it all in this country and take away American jobs,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills.
A recent report estimated that nearly 600,000 U.S. jobs in steel and related industries are threatened by a surge in unfair imports that are either sold here at below market prices or subsidized by foreign governments. About 35,000 of those jobs are in Pennsylvania, according to the Economic Policy Institute and the law firm of Stewart and Stewart, the co-authors of the report.
Imports account for about a quarter of the steel sold in the United States.
“It’s time we send a message to the rest of the world that we aren’t going to be the patsies anymore,” state Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport, told the crowd.
The federal indictment of five Chinese officials on cyberespionage charges Monday was mentioned by several speakers include emcee Scott Paul, executive director of the manufacturing alliance.
“It may be fair to say, given these revelations, that the Chinese knew about this rally before we did,” he joked.
Rallies were previously held at U.S. Steel mills in Lorain, Ohio, and Granite City, Ill. Others are scheduled for the company’s mills in Texas; Fairfield, Ala.; and its Minnesota iron ore operations.
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