Steelworkers tell US lawmakers that coordinated North American approach needed to create and preserve jobs



    TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers Canadian Director Ken Neumann
said he is in full agreement with the testimony today by International
Steelworker President Leo W Gerard about the need to get Canadian and US
lawmakers to strengthen manufacturing and jobs in both countries. "North
American workers would benefit from expanded "Buy Canadian" and "Buy American"
procurement policies in the both our countries," Neumann said.
    "Leo Gerard, in his many years of work in Canada and now as International
President has always called for fair trade that benefits workers in Canada and
the United States," said Canadian Director Ken Neumann.
    In his statement to the United States House Steel Caucus in Washington,
Steelworkers International President Leo W Gerard stated: "Because we are an
International union, and because Canadian and US manufacturing is so
integrated, we encourage you and other members of the Steel Caucus to approach
your counterparts in Canada to discuss a coordinated approach for the North
American industry to strengthen its ability to create and preserve these good
jobs in both countries."
    "I represent workers in the steel industry in the U.S. and in Canada and
would not be here today if I thought this was simply a protectionist measure
that would harm our members.
    We understand that some are claiming this is a protectionist measure and
could ignite a trade war; but this is just plain wrong and simply more of the
worn-out rhetoric and thinking that has driven us off the cliff. We (the US)
are the largest importer in the world - we soaked up $819 billion in imported
goods in 2007 -- and are in deficit with every major trading partner in the
world. No one is advocating that we close our borders to trade."
    Ken Neumann added: "The US has had laws requiring the use of
domestically-produced goods for government contracts since the 1933 Buy
American Act. These laws are consistent with international trade obligations."
    "In fact, Canada carved out even broader exemptions than the US from WTO
agreements for government procurement. Unfortunately, the Canadian government
has chosen not to use these exemptions to institute a Buy Canadian policy.
    We believe that the last federal budget should have included Buy Canadian
requirements. Such provisions - like Buy America - would not violate
international trade agreements," said Neumann.





For further information:

For further information: Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada:
(416) 487-1571 or (416) 558-2510; or Peter D. Birt, USW Communications: (416)
544-5966


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