USW: Administration Undermines Buy American, Hire American

|Apr 20|magazine7 min read

PITTSBURGH, April 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration's Sunday night announcement that it will delay collecting certain tariffs for 90 days:

"Manufacturing workers across the country woke up this morning to learn that the administration granted importers of certain foreign goods a three-month delay in paying the tariffs they owed on them.  

"This was a gift that major importers and global businesses had been demanding for weeks but was repeatedly disavowed by the administration, including by the president himself.

"It's no wonder that the announcement of this decision was made at 8:30 Sunday night when most Americans were huddled at home protecting themselves, their families, friends and communities, seeking to stem the continued spread of COVID-19.

"Auto workers in Michigan whose plants are either shuttered or have been repurposed to make ventilators for COVID-19 victims, glassworkers in Ohio, workers making shoes in Wisconsin, and millions of other workers in every state, are questioning why importers are being given this gift when they have been told that this administration's and this president's priority is to 'Buy American.'  

"They wonder why importers of Japanese cars can delay tariff payment for 90 days when many of those same importers also received loans which may very well be forgiven. Millions of other workers will wonder the same thing about the products they make that still must compete with foreign imports: online, on retail shelves and in showrooms.

"Many of the products included in this tariff holiday are already here, and importers knew they had a duty to pay. They claimed they needed this break to assist with cash flow.

"But millions of retail workers who have already been laid off will be hard pressed to find any benefit in this new 'liquidity' as they wait for unemployment benefits and wonder how they're going to put food on the table, make their rent or mortgage payments or afford health care.

"We appreciate the fact that this decision will not apply to the tariffs that are the result of trade enforcement measures. We fought for that.  But many other domestic producers are also facing tremendous competitive pressures from importers, especially those who have outsourced their production.

"The administration should not have tried to hide this decision by announcing it on a Sunday evening. Instead, the president should have made the announcement himself, during the light of day, so he could explain why he would do something that runs so antithetical to his claimed priority to 'Buy American, Hire American.'"

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

 Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444, [email protected]

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)