September 16, 2014

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Steelworkers rally in Lorain to oppose ‘dumping’

Workers at U.S. Steel Lorain Tubular on Monday chant at a rally for tariffs in response to alleged “dumping” of steel imports by foreign companies. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Workers at U.S. Steel Lorain Tubular on Monday chant at a rally for tariffs in response to alleged “dumping” of steel imports by foreign companies. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — The fight to ensure fair competition for American-made steel products represents a historic moment for U.S. steelworkers, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, said of the “anti-dumping” decision expected to be rendered in July by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

US Rep. Marcy Kaptur

US Rep. Marcy Kaptur

Kaptur, speaking Monday in Lorain to more than 200 steelworkers and supporters, said the battle to protect American-made steel goods represents “the biggest economic fight our generation faces.”

Red, white and blue signs with slogans that included messages such as “SOS: Save Our Steel” and “Steel’s Our Strength” were held up by steelworkers, most of who were garbed in orange coveralls.

Some additionally wore safety helmets as they gathered in a wide semi-circle around the elevated stand just outside the gate of the U.S. Steel Lorain Tubular Operations plant on East 28th Street.

“We need to enforce trade laws (for the plant’s nearly 700 workers),” said John Wilkinson, Lorain Tubular Operations plant manager. “Lorain can compete and win against anyone in the world if the playing field is fair.”

“Dumping” describes the practice of foreign countries financially subsidizing their own steel industries, which enables those companies to export goods at artificially low prices into American markets.

As a result, American steelmakers such as U.S. Steel cannot compete economically.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a rally for tariffs.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a rally for tariffs.

Kaptur, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and others are calling on the Department of Commerce to impose tariffs on South Korean-made steel to enable American-made steel products to be sold at a more competitive level.

South Korean steel accounts for 20 percent of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) consumed in the U.S. Foreign imports of OCTG from South Korea and other countries have doubled since 2008.

OCTG steel products are chiefly used in domestic oil exploration, particularly for shale deposits.

U.S. Steel in Lorain and Vallourec Star in Youngstown are among the U.S.’s top producers of OCTG.

“Enough is enough,” Dan Voorhees, president of Local 1104 of the U.S. Steelworkers Union, shouted to a boisterous, cheering audience. “We need to stand up, fight back and save our jobs.”

U.S. Steel laid off 108 workers at Lorain Tubular Operations in February.

Brown described how the steel industry has long been a key factor in the growth of America’s middle class, noting the loss of more than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010.

Kaptur spoke of several fair-trade agreements signed into law over the years — which she and Brown opposed — that were advertised as means of major job creation that never materialized.

The years-long negative impacts of fair-trade agreements have led to a $20 billion trade deficit with South Korea, Kaptur said.

Ralph Mercado

Ralph Mercado

Ralph Mercado, a Lorain Tubular worker who is employed at the No. 6 Quench and Temper finishing line, urged his fellow steelworkers to keep fighting against unfair trade. “We’ve got to keep people working,” said Mercado, who also operates a local barbershop. “We have to feed our families.”

State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, discussed how the city’s steel mills have provided jobs to generations of families, including those of many from other countries.

“Many immigrants would never have heard of Lorain if not for U.S. Steel,” Ramos said.

The Lorain plant is ready for battle following a recent $100 million investment. “Steel is our history, our blood and our future,” Ramos told the crowd.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.


  • Bad Chad

    Thanks to everyone that showed up to support these steelworkers. Nice to see a good crowd. US Steel the best in the land.

  • golfingirl

    Why is it always about buying American when it comes to steel and cars, but other American industries are ignored?

    For example, Sherrod Brown used to take groups of older Americans to Canada, via bus, to buy prescription drugs outside the U.S.

    Not only did he not try to protect the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, he set up “tours” to go across the border to buy from another country.

    Such a hypocrite.

    “Steel is our history, our blood and our future,” Ramos told the crowd. Good luck with a future built on steel. That ship has sailed!

  • golfingirl

    Hmmmm…..wonder where Sherrod’s suit was made? How about all that orange clothing and hard hats?

    Oh wait, it isn’t about steel or cars, so it doesn’t matter, does it?

    The clothing industry in the U.S. is nearly non-existent today, due to imports and cheap Asian labor.

  • Mark B

    Maybe if the steel workers worked all of the time they are clocked in , they may be more competitive. I know many that complain if they don’t get to sleep at least 4 hours of their shift away. Unions are killing this country protecting the greedy and lazy .

  • golfingirl

    Two words…..Keystone Pipeline…..build it and there will be plenty of demand for U.S. made OCTG.

    And how has Sherrod voted on Keystone? How about fracking?

    What about all the regulation he has put on American corporations? This cost results in higher cost products and less jobs.

    Again, such a hypocrite.

    Can’t satisfy both the environmentalists and the steel industry. Like trying to be a slave to two masters. It has never worked and never will.

  • SniperFire

    ‘Dumping” describes the practice of foreign countries financially subsidizing their own steel industries’

    Like the USA does with food? Or Obama does with Stimulus? Laughable, really.

    Just C-T providing Kaptur and Brown with a photo-op.

  • Bad Chad

    Pull out your clothing. Where is it made? This BS started in the 60′s and keeps spiraling out of control. Democrats and Republican leaders have to put a stop to these trade agreements. We cant buy 50,000 cars from a foreign country and in return sell them 500. We cant buy 500,000 tons of steel and sell them a 1,000. Take your time you will need it. Look at the labels. Buy American. Time for the population to stand up and say enough already. Leave the products on the shelves from foreign countries if you can.

    • golfingirl

      Are all of your possessions made in the U.S.A.?

      If you can’t find a product which is not, say a computer, do you do without it?

      I do try to buy American, but foreign competition has increase American quality. Cars are a perfect example.

      To compete, the American automobile companies needed to build a better product. They have responded.

      Why did the UAW sell their interest earlier this year in Chrysler, to Fiat, making it a 100% owned foreign car company?

      Is a Jeep now a foreign automobile? My son wants a new Jeep, but if we help him purchase one, are we being anti-American?

      Where is the line drawn?……Just asking.

    • SniperFire

      ‘Buy American. Time for the population to stand up and say enough already. ‘

      Steelworkers love them some Walmart. They just want the other guy to stop buying the great deals.

    • Joe Smith

      “Look at the labels. Buy American. Time for the population to stand up and say enough already”

      Yep stand up and say you are not going to overpay for Union perks and you had enough of over regulation forcing jobs overseas.

    • Pablo Jones

      I made a bet with a co-worker once. He said everything sold at walmart was made in china. I said that wasn’t true. So I went and did my shopping.
      1. Socks and underware (I think they were Hanes) made in the USA
      2. Food grown or produced in the USA
      3. Toilet paper made in the USA by P&G
      4. Tooth Paste and deodorant made in the USA
      5. Entertainment center made in Ohio
      6. DVDs made in Mexico

      I didn’t look at anything until I got home, just picked the normal stuff like I normally do.

    • Pablo Jones

      Honda in 2013 exported more USA made vehicles than it imported. The rest of the “foreign” auto plants have also been increasing their exports.

  • Bad Chad

    I agree with free trade. We need a level playing field. When we import from foreign countries we need to export the same. Our government is not following through will these agreements. It needs to stop. Our clothing industry has suffered to the point where 2% of clothing is made here. Both Democratic and Republican leaders need to step up.

    • SniperFire

      ‘I agree with free trade. We need a level playing field.. ‘

      That is just an empty thing people say. Nobody believes it, especially Liberals. Walmart is full of American workers loading up their carts with slave labor goods and stuffing it into their Kias.

    • Mark B

      Don’t forget the unions , they have forced more companies over seas than any trade agreement

      • Joe Smith

        Along with over regulation

    • Pablo Jones

      How can a government that knows nothing about businesses sign trade agreements? They don’t know what businesses want, need, or can afford, but they think they can put the restrictions and policies in place?

    • Pablo Jones

      But the majority of the cotton used in those textile plants, many in central America comes from the USA. By improving the economies in those countries it brings overall stability to the region and improves the economies of all countries involved.

  • Bad Chad

    Some people just dont get it. Too bad sniper.

    • SniperFire

      You haven’t a chance in this argument. Take a few economics classes and come back.

    • golfingirl

      We live in a Global Economy.

      People will buy the highest quality product at the best price. That will not change moving forward.

      Put high taxes on imports, prices go up. A typical steelworker, making $50k per year, will be at the front of the line for finding value for their dollar; not because they want to, but because they have to. $50k does not go far these days, given the high price of gas, food, cars etc.

      Family economics, and budgets, will always trump a desire to buy American. That is just the way it is.

      I bet if you “toured” the homes of these steelworkers, you would find no more “made in America” items, than you would find in any other home.

      Office Depot just announce they are closing 400 stores, many in Ohio.

      Where is Sherrod on this one? I bet he doesn’t take the time to get out to any of these stores for another photo op. There must not be union shops.

  • Bad Chad

    I just read your comments on other postings. I may be the only one to say it….But you are a MORON!

  • Bad Chad

    Raise your hand if you want to talk with me.

    • golfingirl

      Okay, I will raise my hand.

      If I buy a Jeep, am I exhibiting anti-American behavior. I mean, they are 100% owned by an Italian company these days, since the UAW sold out.

      So, all those tax dollars that went to bail them out and keep them afloat, only to be owned by a foreign company.

      The Italians thank you….stupid American taxpayers!

    • Pablo Jones

      What exactly is the unfairness that you want to get rid of? You say the foreign companies are subsidizing the foreign steel plants. But isn’t our country doing the same? Grants, low interest loans, tax abatement, tax forgiveness, tax credits, special tax deductions, etc.

      Here is a novel idea. If all these other countries are selling steal below cost, how about the US drop all import limits and tariffs and then the US steal plants can buy up all the foreign steel below cost and then sell it at the going rate. Eventually those foreign plants will go bust.

    • golfingirl

      Raising my hand again. Jumping out of my seat waving my arms.

      Over here, in the back of the room.

      My question is simple, is a Jeep a foreign car and should I purchase one for my son?

  • Sis Delish

    Can we ask the USW for a Donation to Elyria’s Firework Fundraising Campaign? 700 Workers Paying $5.00 each to wear… oops, they can’t dress down.

  • union official

    US Steel has invested $300 Million Dollars or more in the Lorain Works in the last decade. That’s a considerable capital investment in what is now a mini-mill without any steelmaking capacity of its own.

    Naturally, everyone involved would like to see USS take over what remains of the neighboring steel mills steelmaking capacity. That might provide an incentive for getting the necessary trade legislation passed to protect the pipe & tube industry from manipulated foreign competition.

    Listening carefully to all of the politicians yesterday, Democrats and Republicans, no one sees the current trade situation as the fault of the Democrats, the Republicans, or the Obama administration, nor are they blaming US Steel. Then who is at fault? According to the speakers yesterday no one is at fault.

    As far as the Keystone pipe line, or any other pipe lines to be built, will they be built with American pipe & tube? That’s the real question. Or will they be built with Chinese, Korean or NAFTA pipe & tube?

    A little aside to Marcy, Ramos and others. People are tired of paying taxes to support the ungrateful who have entered this country both legally & illegally. If these immigrants knew they were going to be exploited why did they come here to be with us mean racist White people?

    • golfingirl

      As for the Keystone Pipeline, and will it “be built with Chinese, Korean or NAFTA pipe & tube?”

      The way it looks now, it will never be built.

      The Administration has sat on making a decision for 5 years now, with a recent announced delay of another 6 months.

      As it sits right now, nobody will be building pipes for that project.

      What about fracking? Same people who oppose the pipeline oppose fracking.

      But then they have the nerve to show up, in front of the union membership, and complain about foreign steel.

      They are as much the real enemy, as the foreign steel importers. Based on their position, there will be no work on these projects moving forward, if they have their way.

  • USA

    Not sure if all the sheeple are funny or I feel bad. They continue to support politicians only by a “D” or a”R” in front of their name. They support brown who is against everything USS makes.Has any union person read browns energy plan?he is against everything they make their,against keystone pipe line,natural gas and fracking drilling and off shore drilling.You guys make pipe for all of that and you support someone who is against it because they have a D in front of their name.
    Some of the comment are dead on about union people including 1 of the speakers who is a typical union person, kisses bosses buts,works his own schedule and brags to people at his business how he only worries about himself. lazy people getting rewarded instead of hard workers getting a head

  • Mark B

    They complain , but yet they buy a Arc Furnace from China.

    Republic Steel tests new $85 million arc furnace – Chronicle-Telegram
    Nov 25, 2013 … The Republic electric arc furnace in Lorain, shown here under … hoped to have the 150-ton, 50-foot high furnace delivered from China

    • golfingirl

      I hope it was at least made from American steel.

      Who cares where the other components were made, or who assembled it….it is always only about the steel.

      I think the union workers should refuse to work with that Arc Furnace, to show their support of other American workers. An act of solidarity.

      Nah…..it is only about the steel in Lorain.

  • Bad Azz

    Go buy your punk as s little boy a jeep. I worked to buy my own car. My parents were well off but the taught me morals. Go by the little punk his jeep so that he can get to his flute lessons. Bet hes proud of his mommy. Can just imagine him talking with his man friends” hey guys my mom is golfingirl that comments on the CT sight. Isnt she so cool. My mommys buying me a jeep so when can sneak out and drink some zimas.

    • golfingirl

      A little jealous are you?

      My “punk” son had a full-ride, football scholarship and he received a car upon graduation, since I paid no college cost.

      I bet my “punk” son can kick your skinny little Bad Azz. If fact, I probably could….laughing.

      You say your parents taught you “morals.” They should have spent some time teaching you English grammar and writing skills.

      • Michael Thomas

        You look like you can swing my club in your hole.

        • golfingirl

          Dream on little boy………

  • a proud steel mill spouse

    The people laid off are Lorain county citizens whom have families and pay way more than their fair share off taxes. It’s horrible when anyone is laid off union are not.

  • GUEST

    Dont listen to her bad a. Shes always on here complaining about everything. Shes so full of it. Her punk son wants a jeep. Full ride yeah right. Mommys buying the little girl a jeep so he can ride along with his buddies. Probably get tired of it and trade it in for a manly VW Rabbit. Punk probably got a full ride as a waterboy at Penn State where he belongs with jerry sandusky.

    • golfingirl

      Why do spell like a child?

      Your grammar is horrible and your punctuation is atrocious.

      If you want to be taken seriously, learn to communicate in proper English.

  • SniperFire

    Not ONE weepy Union type will even attempt to counter the argument that shows how USA dumps all over the place in non-steel markets? LOL What part of ‘you have nothing’ do you not get?

  • Onyourass

    Mark B. You sound like a true hater!!!!