Steelworkers Pushing for Answers in Washington

September 19, 2017 09:30 PM

It's been five months since President Trump signed an executive order on April 20th, expediting the Commerce Department's work on a Section 232 investigation.

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That investigation will determine if illegally dumped steel is jeopardizing our national security.

Results were expected in June or July. But it's now September, and steelworkers from Minnesota are out in Washington, D.C., pushing Congress and demanding action.

"It seems like it just stalled," Cliff Tobey said. He's the president of Local 2660 out of KeeTac. That U.S. Steel owned facility was idle for 19 months, and just resumed production in February. But only because the company was able to secure a contract with another party.

"We don't know if those are going to last forever. So we really are hoping for some relief from this 232 investigation," Tobey added.

Tobey said that the vice president of 2660, along with the vice president of 1938 out of Minntac, are also with him in D.C. They and a group of about 60 from the industry are meeting with different members of Congress, to encourage them to put pressure on the Trump administration.

The industry claims that the problem of steel dumping actually increased since the 232 investigation was announced. Tobey explained, "All of these countries picked up and started dumping as much as they could before the 232 got done. We've actually seen a 21 percent increase in amount of imports during the first half of this year. And that's scary."

Technically, according to law, the Commerce Department has 270 days to finish their investigation. Once it's done, the president can make decisions about tariffs or other penalties.

Tobey also referenced the North Korea situation as a reason to keep our domestic industry strong. "I would hate for us to rely on China and Russia for our steel, not only for our tanks and ships, but for other uses as well."

Tariffs are in place now, but Tobey said there is a problem with enforcement.

He and the others will be out in D.C. through Wednesday.


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