Local steel workers try to halt illegal imports: 'We're not asking for any hand outs'

News-DemocratMay 12, 2014 


A local steel workers union is trying to halt illegal steel imported from South Korea because it jeopardizes their jobs.

The United Steelworkers Local 1899 in Granite City, which represents most of the 2,500 employees at U.S. Steel's plant in Granite City, has called a rally Friday afternoon to protest the recent flood of cheaper South Korean steel imported into this country that are sold below market value.

Local 1899 President Dan Simmons said these importers are not following trade laws and creating an advantage that domestics manufacturers cannot compete with.

"We want the duties to be enforced through the tax laws on books," Simmons said. "We do not want to reinvent anything or pass anything, just enforce the trade laws on the books. That's all we're asking for. We're not asking for any hand outs."

Dave Dowling, United Steelworkers Sub District 2 director in Granite City, said South Korean steel mills are manufacturing pipe used in the oil and gas industry for exploration and distribution, but have no need for them domestically, so it is all exported.

"We are asking that the existing laws be enforced," Dowling said. "We have evidence that indicates South Korea is bringing this product in this country and ignoring those laws, which is essentially cheating under the existing trade laws."

Simmons said South Korean imports have already affected U.S. Steel's plant in Lorain, Ohio, where demand has fallen and some steel workers have been laid off. He also said the cheaper South Korean steel imports have not affected the Granite City plant, yet, because the metro-east mill does not manufacture these pipes, but produces the steel used to make them.

The rally will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Granite City Civic Park, located at 20th Street and Delmar Avenue in Granite City.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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