LIVEBLOG: Pittsburgh #SOSJobs Rally Builds Demand for Action on Unfair Trade
A crowd began gathering this morning at U.S. Steel's Research Center near downtown Pittsburgh for the third in a series of #SOS Jobs rallies being hosted by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) to demand action on dumped steel that is threatening U.S. jobs and manufacturers.
Many of those attending were clad in blue T-shirts emblazoned on the back with “Keep It Made in America,” as buses off-loaded workers from near and far. A public address system blared tunes that energized the crowd. Many in attendance were U.S. Steel workers who arrived wearing their bright orange safety gear and hard hats.
Audience members held signs saying “#SOS Jobs,” “Save Our Steel Jobs” and “Steel’s Our Strength.” AAM president Scott Paul kicked off the rally with a rousing “Good morning,” and urged the crowd to raise their signs high.
A U.S. Steel department manager led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Reverend Lee Walds of the Macedonian Baptist Church followed with an invocation. “If there is anything that has undergirded our nation over the past 150 years, it is U.S.-made steel.”
“U.S. Steel has had an integral part of making this nation what it is today. Y’all ought to give yourselves a hand,” he urged, to thunderous applause. He then invited God into what we seek today, offering thanks for the “men and women who have been able to share their talents and gifts so that we might be able to be one nation, under God, indivisible. But we stand in the midst of crisis,” he said, and implored, “Save our jobs.”
State Senator Jim Brewster (D-45th) took the stage to welcome the crowd, and led them in to rousing cheers of “America!” He introduced numerous local officials from the greater Pittsburgh area, while urging the crowd to “send the rest of the world the message that we’re not the patsies any more. I’m tired of China and Korea,” he said, and their violations of trade agreements.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, steelmakers around the globe, backed by aggressive support from their governments, have targeted the large and open U.S. market to offload excess supply. The resulting surge of unfairly dumped and subsidized imports poses a serious threat to domestic steel producers and the half million jobs they support, says a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart.
Global excess steel capacity is now more than twice the volume of excess capacity that followed the 1998 Asian financial crisis. This glut of supply produced largely by state-backed steelmakers has made its way onto America’s import ledgers. The report findings show that the American steel industry risks long-lasting damage unless the U.S. government fully enforces its established trade remedy rules.
Perhaps nowhere is the need for strong trade enforcement more apparent than in the market for oil country tubular goods (OCTG), the pipe and steel infrastructure used for energy exploration. OCTG imports from nine countries, chief among them South Korea, more than doubled between 2010 and 2012.
AAM’s Paul led the crowd in chants of “Steel,” to which the crowd responded,” Workers. “We’ve gotta do somethin’,” he shouted, to which the crowd responded, “Stop the dumpin’.” He urged the crowd to text “Steel” to 91990” to raise awareness of the dumping underway.
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