Sierra Club Stands with USW Workers, Opposes Harmful Trade Deals

Contact: Margaret Levin, margaret.levin@sierraclub.org

The North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club stands with the workers of the United Steelworkers affected by the announced idling of US Steel taconite mines on the Iron Range. We call for a whole new approach to so-called global “free trade” deals that are facilitating imports of illegally-subsidized foreign steel products, and at the same time weakening environmental protections, including efforts to limit carbon pollution.

When the Sierra Club joined with the United Steelworkers to form the BlueGreen Alliance in 2006, one of our founding principles was to join together against these “free trade” deals that were bad for both workers and the environment by rewarding countries that provided cheap imports of steel with low-paid labor, business subsides and minimal environmental standards.

Representatives of the environmental community marched alongside labor union members to protest the World Trade Organization and these unfair deals in 1999, and we today again stand shoulder to shoulder in opposition to these actions which have caused a flooding of the steel market with subsidized cheap foreign steel, resulting in a glut that dramatically lowers prices in the world market. We now oppose Fast Track Trade Authority, which will only lead to more bad trade deals and exacerbate crises like the America steel industry is facing today. We need to fix these broken trade agreements and not enter into new ones that will further harm American workers and our planet.

We know that our organizations will not always agree on every issue, but when it comes to standing up for American workers and against trade deals that harm workers, the environment and our nation’s competitiveness, we stand firmly united in opposing trade deals and efforts by other countries to harm America’s steel industry.

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