The Great Lakes Say “Save Our Steel Jobs!”

June 30, 2014

Via E-Mail: ronald.lorentzen@trade.gov
The Honorable Penny Pritzker
Secretary of Commerce,
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th Street and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230

The Great Lakes Say “Save Our Steel Jobs!”

Dear Secretary Pritzker:

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force is the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. As you can see from our list of members, we represent virtually every aspect of Great Lakes shipping.

No other industry is more important to the health of Great Lakes shipping than Steel. It takes 1.5 tons of iron ore to make a ton steel, and 50 percent of our nation’s steelmaking capacity is located in the Great Lakes basin BECAUSE Great Lakes freighters are the most cost-effective way to move that iron ore from mines in Minnesota and Michigan to steel mills in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Fairly traded steel imports are also a mainstay of shipping on our Fourth Sea Coast, and the ILA teams that unload those cargos and then fill oceangoing vessels with exports are the best in the country.

But trade in steel must always be fair, and unfortunately, American jobs are at risk because South Korea and other nations are dumping Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) into our market. This comes when American steel companies and their employees are using every skill and talent to rebound from the recession of 2008-2009.

The plunge in steel production during those years took a real toll on Great Lakes shipping. Iron ore shipments plummeted to levels not seen since the Great Depression, and a $20 million modernization of an idled ore boat had to be called off.

On May 15, 57 Senators wrote you and asked that the Department of Commerce investigate the dumping of OCTG and take appropriate measures. It is significant to note virtually every Great Lakes Senator signed that letter.

We want to lend our voice to the calls for full enforcement of our fair trade laws. The discovery and production of shale gas in the United States should be creating jobs for Americans. Please conduct the most thorough investigation and protect American workers from unfair trade.

Very respectfully,

James H.I. Weakley, President
John D Baker, 1st Vice President-Positions & Resolutions
Thomas Curelli, 2nd Vice President-Membership
Paul Doell, 3rd Vice President-Government Relations