USW Calls Entire Iron and Steel Sector Important to National Security

CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384;

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today appeared at a public hearing for the Section 232 Investigation into the effects of steel imports on U.S. national security. In his testimony, President Gerard called for treating the entire iron and steel sector as important to national security.  

“From the materials utilized by our military to the materials necessary to build, maintain and repair our critical infrastructure, our national security is increasingly at risk because of the relentless economic attacks on our steel industry.

“Steel is the backbone of our country. It safeguards military might and our ability to respond to potential attacks. We need to revitalize the sector to meet growing needs and to ensure that we have the ability to supply our nation’s needs, should it be required. This means having not only productive capacity in our mills at a moment’s notice, but also the skilled workforce necessary to man the operations.

“The steel sector is not monolithic. There is a continuum of products from the basic materials through iron and on to steel. The Administration’s investigation should evaluate the challenges facing the entire industry. Basic materials, iron and steel products, silicon metal, manganese and chromium used in making alloys, are all important to our national security.

“Our domestic industry is under attack from unfair, illegal, predatory and protectionist policies.   China, employing a network of non-market economic policies, is the main offender. While China continues to attack our entire manufacturing sector, it has been targeting steel longer than any other product.

“This Section 232 investigation has the potential not only to protect America’s national security by imposing market restraints on imports from those countries causing the problem, but also to create the impetus for serious negotiations. A negotiated solution is the best approach, but not the only one.

“Any relief measures should focus on where the problem lies. It is not to our north, but to our east, west and south. In fact, we have a trade surplus in steel with Canada. From a national security perspective, Canada is one of the few countries that is always there for us. Our security relationship with Canada is truly unique. We share an uncontested border. We have an intelligence sharing agreement. We have the North American Aerospace Defense Command – NORAD – that has existed for more than sixty years that was the initial line of defense for North America during the Cold War. Canada is an ally, a friend and a trusted partner.

“For these reasons, Canada is the only country that should be exempted from any potential action in the steel sector.

“Canada must, however, ensure that it enforces trade laws so that steel producers do not use their market as a way-station to enter the U.S. market, circumventing and evading our laws and interests. I am confident that the leaders of Canada will embrace these efforts with the goal of sustaining and advancing our individual and joint national security interests.”

A copy of Gerard’s full prepared testimony can be found here.  In addition, a paper, submitted for the hearing record, “China’s Broken Promises” that examines its promises to cut its steel capacity and production can be found here.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. 

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222