New York, NY – While many maintain that the ultimate consequences of new tariffs slapped on imported steel and aluminum will cost the U.S. economy greatly, the United Steelworkers union [USW] says that it expects some 6,300 primary metals production workers will either be hired or recalled as a result of the changes — more than double the number International President Leo Gerard projected back in March.
The USW is basing the nearly 6,300 figure on announcements steel and aluminum companies have made over the last several months, to either add capacity or restart plants.
But are the anticipated jobs due to the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs?
Last month, JSW Steel USA President and CEO John Hritz told CNBC that his company is investing $1 billion in Ohio and Texas, and hiring over 1,000 workers.
“We are completely in lockstep with the president, Hritz said.
At the same time, U.S. Steel Corp. announced its intention to restart the second of two shuttered blast furnaces at its Granite City mill in Illinois. In 2015, U.S. Steel Corp. attributed the initial shutdown on fluctuating oil prices, reduced rig counts and depressed steel prices. At the time, most of the steel produced at the Granite City mill was being shipped to Texas where it was turned into pipe for the oil and gas industry.
USW Local 1899 representative Tom Ryan, last month, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a slumping oil industry was “probably what put us down in 2015.”
“I’m sure the tariffs are helping, I’m sure the oil is helping,” Ryan added.
Despite anticipated gains in primary metals production industry, many insist that Trump’s across-the-board steel and aluminum tariffs will plunge the U.S. into a disastrous trade war with the rest of the world.
Thirty-eight-percent of those participating in the University of Michigan’s Consumer Confidence Survey for July jeered Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, fearing economic retaliation will hurt the U.S.’ overall domestic economy. That’s almost a 25-percent increase since May.
Republicans in Congress are getting more than a little wary, as well.
This week, in a non-binding measure, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted 88-11 to curtail presidential authority to use national security as justification for taxing foreign goods.
USW head Leo Gerard had largely advocated for steel and import tariffs to counteract the dumping of cheap Chinese steel into the U.S. market. But Trump has since gone on to place 25-percent steel tariffs and 10-percent aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and European Union, too.
“Our history shows there is no stronger ally and partner on national security than Canada,” USW Legislative Director Holly Hart said in a statement. “[Trump] ignores that Canada’s steel and aluminum exports to the United States are fairly traded and that Canada has shown its willingness to strengthen its laws as well as its cooperation with the United States to fight unfair trade.”
Hart further warned that “The regular chaos surrounding our flawed trade policies is undermining the ability to project a reasoned course and ensure we can improve domestic production and employment.”