Illegal imports may be costing steelworkers jobs in Pittsburgh. U.S. Steel announced it is laying off 260 employees at tubular products plants in McKeesport and Belleville, Texas. United Steel Workers Union President Leo Gerard says unfair trade by foreign competitors is having a detrimental impact. Tom Conway, International vice president of US Steel Workers, commented about what he believes the government should be doing about the problem.
South Korea is producing a massive amount of steel pipe, however the piping is only manufactured to export to the United States. The South Koreans are making their way into the US market by selling the piping for less of the cost than what it would take to produce the steel here. The form of government Conway believes the Department of Commerce has failed to act in favor of the steelworkers. He also believes the companies buying the product are to blame just as well.
Conway says in addition to the economic issue of importing these pipes, there is a safety issue as well. He says most companies believe where they get the product does not matter. However, only pipe in the United States is certified to be safe enough to handle gas and oil products, not the case for much of the piping that is coming from overseas.