USW: Chinese Transit Poses National Security Risk

The United Steelworkers (USW) stands behind the well-researched and documented work of independent investigators as well as its partner organizations regarding the state-influenced and state-supported transit companies from China. 

The USW is the largest manufacturing union in North America and represents workers throughout the supply chain of every major manufactured product in the country. Whether it is an iron ore miner in Minnesota, a steelworker in Indiana, or a worker engaged in the manufacture of vehicle components, the ability to supply the products that go into our transportation infrastructure in an environmentally sound way is vital for the livelihoods of millions of Americans.

For decades, our union has raised alarms about unfair and predatory trade practices by China and many of its companies. Our union has seen both indirect and direct attacks from a foreign government intent on using mercantilist anti-competitive practices to gain an unfair advantage. More than three million U.S. jobs were lost or displaced because of our massive bilateral trade deficit with China alone. Our union has been cyber attacked by this foreign government intent on economic wins at any cost.

As has been highlighted by several well-researched policy reports, including the most recent by Radarlock, an independent research organization, China’s rolling stock companies are closely tied to a communist government that has set policy goals that treat the clean energy vehicle industry – its incubation, development, and global domination – as a top national priority. The close link between the military and private sector in the People’s Republic of China supports a country tipping the scales against U.S. workers and adversely impacting our country’s security.

That is why our union and our labor management partnership, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), has been supportive of the bipartisan Senate language in the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) modeled after the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act (TIVSA). This important provision prevents federal transit dollars from being used to award a contract or subcontract for the procurement of passenger rail cars or transit buses to Chinese state-owned, controlled or subsidized enterprises.

Unfortunately, some organizations fail to see the national security threat posed by the dismantling of our country’s transportation infrastructure manufacturing base and have decided to take a cynical and short-term view that the only way to win is to surrender economic dominance to a foreign country that actively opposes democratic unions. This is deeply disappointing and is not a position to which our union subscribes.

It is also unnerving that the Chinese sphere of influence has now reached the point that it is affecting U.S. unions and that Chinese attempts to weaken the solidarity of our labor movement appear to be bearing fruit.

However, our union cannot support U.S. tax dollars being directed to companies such as BYD or CRRC that heavily import Chinese content and skirt the intent of Buy America laws with minimal product transformation, displacing American work while putting our national security at risk.

It’s simple: Our members’ mills and manufacturing plants and the millions of unionized building trade man hours spent maintaining those facilities should not be put at risk to import Chinese state-supported and subsidized rail and bus kits for final assembly. Anyone who does not understand this cannot truthfully say they support U.S. manufacturing or national security.

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 public sector, health care, and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

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