USW Promotes Buy American Initiative to Save New York Jobs; Provide Massive Economic Stimulus

Jun 05, 2014, 12:01 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that they have launched a campaign to urge state lawmakers to co-sponsor and pass Buy American legislation to require all NY State Procurement, such as the Port Authority of NY (PANY) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), to abide by Buy American rules in infrastructure projects.

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The USW claims that the authorities have been skirting these regulations and in doing so, costing Americans good-paying and community sustaining jobs. The S-7206 and A-9521 legislation makes it clear that regardless of how any state agency derives revenues, it must abide by the same Buy American standards as spelled out in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The PANY and the MTA claim it has the right to award bids to foreign companies because projects will be paid through "toll" collections from the users of the bridge, not tax dollars. 

In the past year, the PANY and the MTA approved a $235 million bid to two state- owned Chinese steel facilities.  The first company will provide 15,000 metric tons of specialty steel which it has never produced before, and the second will fabricate orthotropic deck sections for the first time to rebuild the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. In addition, the authorities also gave the Chinese firms the technology it paid Lehigh University in Pennsylvania to create.

By comparison, the use of federal highway dollars, which mandates the Buy American provision in the $3.1 billion rebuilding of Tappan Zee Bridge, has resulted in the use of U.S.- made products such as steel deck plates, concrete, steel rebar and steel support ropes. These actions are putting Americans to work and stimulating local economies and businesses.

While the actions by the authorities in awarding contracts to state-owned Chinese companies may be legal, it totally ignores the loss of New York jobs and the overwhelming support, across all political parties, of the American people to have their infrastructure dollars to be spent on U.S. products and workers.

The USW is encouraging its members and the community to take immediate action as time is running short in this legislative session. It asks state legislators to support working families in New York by co-sponsoring and passing S-7206 and A-952.

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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.

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CONTACT: Frank Hotchkiss
(716) 565-1720

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)