Ohio Machinist Stands Up for U.S. Steel Industry Workers at Trade Hearing

IAM Local 1943 President and Directing Business Representative Neil Douglas testifies at a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on overcapacity in the steel industry and the effect foreign steel dumping has on American steel industry workers.

Unfair trade practices that allow cheap foreign steel to flood U.S. markets are having a devastating effect on U.S. workers in the steel industry, IAM Local 1943 President and Directing Business Representative Neil Douglas told officials at an International Trade Commission hearing in Washington, DC.

The global excess capacity of steel threatens businesses and workers alike, and poses a national defense threat if the U.S. domestic steel market fails, Douglas said. Steel is used in nearly every form of infrastructure and military machinery.

Testifying alongside labor leaders from steel mills across the country, Douglas followed steel industry representatives speaking on the impact overcapacity is having on their market. Uncertain economic conditions due to foreign steel dumping led to 4,000 layoffs in the U.S. steel industry during 2015 alone.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) testifies at the U.S. International Trade Commission. “Our workers can’t be on the agenda, they must be the agenda,” said Ryan.

“I’ve chosen to put faces of hard working people behind those numbers,” said Douglas. “Our members are veterans and community volunteers. We have children in college, children with disabilities and sick parents that we care for. We deserve all the protection against this foreign dumping which has the potential to rip our workers and families apart, taking away their American dream and pursuit of happiness.”

Douglas testified before officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the Departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Labor and Homeland Security. IAM Local 1943 in Middletown, OH represents nearly 2,000 members at AK Steel, Pilot Chemical, Bowling Transportation and Cummins Bridgeway.

“We cannot afford to lose any more jobs in the domestic steel industry to unfair trade practices,” said Douglas. “On behalf of IAM Local Lodge 1943, the workers at AK Steel and all workers in the steel industry, I urge you to fight for the working people of my community and the United States by strictly enforcing the trade laws concerning imported steel as well as support the three trade cases filed by the domestic steel industry.”

Douglas was joined by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), whose father was a steelworker for 40 years.

“Strong trade enforcement is needed to level the playing field for our steel workers and manufacturing workforce,” said Ryan. “I ask that you continue to support the American steel workers and vigorously enforce the current trade laws and continue to help our steel industry fight against the foreign duping of cheap steel.”

“Our workers can’t be on the agenda, they must be the agenda,” added Ryan.