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(PITTSBURGH) - - The United Steelworkers (USW) today expressed great disappointment at Gamesa’s announcement to temporarily lay off 165 workers at its nacelle and rotor blade plants in Fairless Hills and Ebensburg, Pa. The announcement comes as U.S.-based wind manufacturers are facing the expiration of a critical tax credit, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), on December 31.
“The PTC is vital to creating a strong U.S. renewables market with clean energy manufacturing jobs,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. “Without it, there is little incentive for existing U.S. wind manufacturers to keep doing business here. Nor is there any incentive for other wind manufacturers to invest in the domestic wind sector.”
The PTC helped to establish the wind market in the United States 20 years ago. However, history has shown that when it has been allowed to expire, as it did in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the U.S. wind market stalls and jobs are lost. With no orders for U.S. wind manufacturers for 2013, this industry and its workers are facing yet another bust cycle.
“Long-term extension of the PTC is absolutely necessary to allow the U.S. wind sector the time it needs to grow, so it can compete with other clean energy sectors and other nations,” said Tom Conway, USW International Vice President.
The USW says it is also necessary for Congress to renew the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C), which expired in December. This credit helps the building of a strong U.S. clean energy manufacturing industry since it provides incentives for domestic manufacturers to make component parts that can be used in clean energy applications such as wind and solar.
“Without policies like the PTC and 48C, the United States will continue to fall behind countries like China and Germany, who are investing significantly into these sectors and have comprehensive policies to ensure their growth,” said Conway.
“The USW is committed to getting our members at Gamesa back to work,” said Gerard. “Extending the PTC and renewing the 48C tax credit are necessary to do this and we will continue to urge Congress to act.”
The USW represents a total of 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments to the public sector, service and health care industries.
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