U.S. Steelmakers: No Loopholes for “Melted and Poured” Imports

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Back in December, President-elect Donald Trump told a crowd during his victory tour that his administration will follow two simple rules:

 

He said it again during his inaugural address in January.  

And he said it again this week, into a microphone, at another rally in Kentucky. Man! The president likes to say “Buy American, hire American.”

That’s good! It’s something we can coalesce around. Buy American policies tend to get bipartisan support. Now that he's been in office for a few months, is the president gonna back it up?

The American steel industry expects he will, but plans to do its part to make him. They’ve written to him, asking him to keep Buy America rules tight and well-written, so they can’t be exploited.

That’s important because in the coming months, President Trump is expected to unveil a proposal for massive infrastructure spending – precisely the kind of spending to which that “Buy American, hire American” rhetoric should apply. And foreign firms are working very hard to get carve-outs.

The New York Daily News today looks at one example, Russian steelmaker NLMK, which makes its steel in Russia before shipping it to its plants it owns in America where it’s reheated and reshaped. NLMK wants the existing “melted and poured” standard – requiring all of that work to be done by American workers – loosened so it can bid for taxpayer-funded projects:

Such steel is cheaper than fully-U.S. made products — but the majority of the jobs go to workers doing the melting overseas, critics point out. Also, wages are lower and health and environmental regulations are often more lax in foreign countries — or in some cases non-existent. Many foreign governments also subsidize production to outbid U.S. competition, American steel makers contend.

The fight NLMK is waging (it has paid $200,000 to a Washington, DC lobbying firm to loosen the “melted and poured” standard) is happening on the state level, right now, with slightly different actors. New York is considering a Buy America rule for its own procurement, and opponents -- typically importers -- are protesting the rules.

But Buy America backers make a pretty tough point to refute: It makes little sense to send tax dollars to foreign companies, when those dollars could support domestic job growth.

Here’s what AAM President Scott Paul told the Daily News:

"Saying their Russian steel is American-made is like importing a foreign car, putting windshield wipers on it here, and then telling everyone that it's American-made. It's ludicrous.”

President Trump has a great line in “Buy American, hire American.” He should make sure, then, that a Russian-made steel doesn’t get any special treatment on his watch.

Read the whole NLMK loophole story right here.

***

This was reposted from AAM.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work