PITTSBURGH, June 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today lauded the announcement by the United States and Canada of a deal to build a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit, the busiest border crossing between the two countries. The deal guarantees steel made solely in the United States and Canada will be used in the construction.
"It's gratifying that this bridge will be built using steel and other materials made right here at home, creating jobs for Canadian and American workers," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.
"Unlike the San Francisco Bay Bridge project, where faulty construction, delays and cost-overruns proved the foolishness of hiring a Chinese firm to build steel decking and a 52-story support tower and shipping them 6,500 miles to China, we can be proud of how this bridge will be built."
"Today's deal is a great victory for workers in both the United States and Canada," said Ken Neumann, USW Canadian National Director. "Our hard work has paid off."
Neumann lobbied Canadian Minister of Transport Denis Lebel, stressing the importance of sourcing steel for the project in the United States and Canada, while Gerard had similar conversations with the Obama Administration and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The deal for the $4-billion project includes sourcing rules for construction materials for the bridge itself and the approaches and customs plaza on the United States side of the bridge. Details on any sourcing rules for the Canadian customs plaza and approaches have not been clarified.
"Now that there's a deal to build the bridge, we call on Prime Minister Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to clearly say the Canadian-side infrastructure will be built with Canadian jobs and materials," said Neumann.
Canada is agreeing to put up $550 million for Michigan's costs for the road approaching the crossing. In exchange, Canada will collect Michigan's bridge tolls until the funds are recouped.
The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in Canada and the United States in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments, to the public sector, service and health care industries.
Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)