WASHINGTON, April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 700 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union from across the United States spent today on Capitol Hill, talking to their senators and congressional representatives about issues affecting workers.
The union members spoke to nearly every member of the U.S. House and Senate, urging the lawmakers to reject the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and instead enact new trade policies that would ensure a level playing field for American workers. The workers delivered to the Capitol some of the more than 260,000 postcard petitions collected by USW members calling on Congress to oppose the TPP.
In particular, the members asked for support for a measure introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), which would require congressional approval before China could be recognized as a "market economy" for trading purposes. Such a designation would further weaken the nation's trade policies toward China.
The USW members also urged support for the "Protecting America's Workers Act," which would expand and strengthen the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), as well as for the "Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act," which would increase protections for working people who take collective action to make positive changes in their workplaces.
The USW members' visits came two weeks after USW President Leo W. Gerard and other USW leaders testified at hearings before the U.S. Trade Representative and the Congressional Steel Caucus on the importance of leaders in Washington taking immediate, decisive action to address a deepening crisis in the steel industry, which has led to more than 13,000 layoffs nationwide.
"The current crisis is primarily caused by unfair foreign trade that includes dramatic expansions of global overcapacity. The biggest culprit is China, which currently has more than 400 million metric tons of overcapacity," Gerard said. "The time for talking has passed. The time for action is now."
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.