LIVEBLOG -- #SOSJObs Rally in Granite City: Support Grows for Action to End Unfair Trade in Steel That Threatens U.S. Jobs.
Community activists, state and federal elected officials, and manufacturing business leaders were among those joining steelworkers today in Granite City, IL for a rally sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) to demand action against dumped imports that threaten the U.S. steelmaking industry.
A crowd cheered members of the Granite City Warriors High School band as they offered a number of rousing selections before kicking off the event with the Star Spangled Banner. On stage as the anthem was played, the Lincoln Challenge Academy Color Guard flag bearers stood at attention bearing flags before the large crowd gathered at 20th Street and Delmar Avenue.
Lacy Cook of Granite City High School followed the anthem with a beautiful rendition of “God Bless America.
Steelworkers, many of them clad in well-worn baseball caps, gathered with their families at the rally to bring greater attention to the growing crisis in unfairly traded steel that could threaten their jobs. A little boy in an orange parka sat perched atop one of the men’s shoulders, in awe of the band and the noisy spirited gathering.
AAM President Scott Paul, flanked onstage by a phalanx of Steelworkers wearing their orange protective work gear, kicked off the rally by leading the gathering by chanting, “Steel,” to which the crowd roared back, “Workers.” When Paul shouted,” “Got to do something,” the crowd roared, “Stop that dumpin’.”
Paul said the rally was to send a message to the U.S. Commerce Department “that we want to keep our jobs here in Granite City.”
Throughout the crowd rally participants carried placards saying “Steel’s Our Strength,” “Save Our Steel Jobs,” and #SOS Jobs.” The rally was the second in a series that began last week in Lorain, Ohio and will continue in the coming weeks in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Texas.
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.
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