USW Supports Section 232 Investigation on Imports of Autos and Auto Parts

CONTACT:  Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard made the following statement supporting the recent initiation of a Section 232 investigation into imports of autos and auto parts to determine their impact on national security and calling for a focused approach that addresses imports from countries undermining U.S. national defense.

“The USW has thousands of members making products that contribute to the auto sector. From steel and aluminum, to glass and rubber, to plastics and petrochemicals, the USW is the primary union. Unquestionably, every vehicle made in America includes products made by our members.

“The automotive sector is a critical component of our defense industrial base.

“Any student of history knows that it was the automotive sector that helped make America the ‘arsenal of democracy’ in World War II.  The automotive companies had the tools and engineering, and the workers had the skills and experience to make the weapons our men and women in uniform needed to fight for freedom around the globe.

“Today, many of the critical innovations that can contribute to our defense needs emanate from the automotive sector including basic industrial and manufacturing capabilities, new autonomous capabilities, sensor technology, advanced batteries and other technologies.  

“The auto and auto parts sector will be critical to our nation's continued defense and the weaponry of the future which will help preserve democracy and freedom.

“The predatory and protectionist policies of major auto-producing countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany and Mexico have undermined the development of our industrial capabilities.  

“A Section 232 investigation in the auto and auto parts sector should focus on imports from countries that have advanced their interests at the expense of U.S. industrial capacity, our work force and, in turn, our defense industrial base.  

“China, Japan, South Korea and Germany have targeted our market for their exports and limited access to their own markets. Mexico has pursued industrial and labor policies that attack our auto and auto parts sector by suppressing wages and workers’ rights.

“Canada stands with the U.S. as a trusted partner in securing our defense industrial base, just as they did in World War II. 

“The U.S. and Canada have a unique relationship that is synergistic in terms of industrial might and support. Canada, by any measure, should be exempted from any 232 actions on autos and auto parts, just as we have argued must be the case for steel and aluminum.

“As the investigation takes shape, the USW will work closely with the Administration and leaders in the automotive and auto parts sector to ensure that we can meet our security needs in the future.”

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.

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