Thousands of workers rally to keep steel jobs in America
GRANITE CITY, IL (KTVI)– Thousands of Granite City steelworkers say companies that make steel overseas are not playing fair and that could cost them their jobs. They say foreign countries are subsidizing steel made in their countries and then selling it cheaper in America.
Steelworkers want folks to call congress and make sure trade rules are enforced and are fair for everyone. Hundreds of steelworkers and members of other unions showing support for them jammed a city park Friday afternoon in Granite City for a rally. Steelworker Robin Baker said, “I got four kids and a wife, two of them are in college, scares me to death.”
Close to 2,300 people make steel at a Granite City plant. The steel is used in natural gas and oil exploration, which is booming in parts of this nation. Workers insist countries like South Korea are subsidizing steel production and then dumping it at a cheaper price in America. They fear if that continues steel plants will close and workers will lose their jobs. Jason Chism, the president of United Steelworkers Local 50 said, “Just to enforce our trade laws in this county, that’s our message to our political representatives in congress.”
They claim foreign steel is of a lower quality compared to American made steel. Steelworker Louis Dowell said, “Why would the government let them bring in cheaper steel and put American made steel out of business.” Chism added, “All we’re asking (is) to be put on a level playing field.”
Steelworkers say the Department of Commerce will make a ruling on a trade case in July that could determine their fate.