Meeting with Minister Goodale

On Friday October 5th parts of your Union Executive met with Minister Ralph Goodale . In attendance for the Union was myself {Mike Day}, Ryan Mckenzie and  USW Staff Rep Patrick Veinot.

 

There was lots of discussion on what we can recycle, orders that we have down to the U.S. Questions on the Cheniere Line that we did that started the duties. He was also curious about the plants in the states, if they can do what we can. He brought up the LNG project that has been approved and hopes they use our products even though it is his understanding that some of it has to be brought in and can’t be produced here.

 

We brought up the obvious regarding the tariffs and the government leaving out steel and aluminum in the negotiations. How We had discussions with him over 15 months ago when this started coming to light{ section 232} and steel was what brought this to the for front and how could we be left  behind. We’ve seen Wilbur Ross talk about how a new agreement would then naturally have the tariffs go away. This is as important to him as it is to us and he told us they are actively working on it. Freeland and Lighthizer are meeting this week and continuing discussions. I told him we don’t see how a “quota system” is beneficial to anyone this side of border and isn’t good in general.

 

We brought up how dumping has increased here in Canada and their response was that in the next couple weeks we should here some news on the “Safeguards”. Below was just released from the Federal Government last night.

News Release

Backgrounder – Relief for Canadian Businesses from Countermeasures on Certain U.S. Imports

Backgrounder – Support for Canadian Steel Producers Through Provisional Safeguards on Certain Steel Imports

His office is to keep in touch with us to continue these discussions and would like to know what our membership would like to see. The initial response was Duties and Tariffs gone and Unions to have the ability to file trade/dumping cases .

 

NAFTA Deal a Sell-Out for Canadian Steel, Aluminum Workers

TORONTO, 1 October 2018 – Tens of thousands of Canadian families have been left in the lurch from concessions made by the Liberal government to get a deal with the Unites States on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

 

“Time and time again during the NAFTA renegotiations, the Liberal government assured Canadians that it was defending our steel and aluminum sectors and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Canadian families,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) Canadian Director.

 

“Given the Liberal government’s rhetoric throughout the process, it was inconceivable that it would agree to any deal that harms Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors,” Neumann said.

 

“Instead, the Canadian government struck a deal with the U.S. that fails to remove the senseless and damaging tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium imposed by the Trump administration in June,” he said.

 

“Canadians expected that an agreement on NAFTA would result in the U.S. lifting the bogus national-security tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium. Instead, it appears Canadian steel and aluminum workers are among those being sacrificed in the concessions made by the Liberal government in this deal,” he said.

 

“Rather than give-and-take negotiations that would generate new provisions to improve Canada’s trading position with the U.S., the Liberal government engaged strictly in concession bargaining,” Neumann said.

 

“The Liberals made concession after concession, until the Trump administration got the deal it wanted. In the process, Canadian government sold out Canadian steel and aluminum workers. So much for the ‘win-win-win’ deal promised by this government,” he said.

 

“Canada’s government must draw a line on this issue. The U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum must be lifted immediately.”

 

Shift and Seniority Committee

Your Union is looking for anyone interested in joining their respective department Shift, Seniority and Overtime committee’s. Anyone interested is asked to email m.day@usw5890.com. Currently the Steel Division is Brad Gibbons and Bill Edwards and we would like to fill with members from other areas. The Tubular Division is Dwayne Mitchell, Mike Smith and Ryan Mckenzie and even though we would like to fill from members from the 2 inch or 24 inch specifically, everyone interested will be looked at.

An insult to Canada U.S. tariffs will damage Pennsylvania’s economy, and America’s and Canada’s, too

 

As consul general of Canada to Pennsylvania, I have traveled across the commonwealth and my team and I have engaged with business executives, politicians and labor leaders from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and all points in between.

Everywhere I go, my message is the same: Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner and most steadfast ally. Canadian soldiers have served alongside Americans in difficult places around the world. We have fought and died together.

That is why the decision by the U.S. administration to impose tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, citing national security concerns, is so perplexing and hurtful to Canadians. The idea that Canada could be considered a national security threat by selling goods to the United States is, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it, quite frankly, insulting.

The facts are clear: The United States has a $2 billion surplus in steel trade with Canada. Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, representing half of all U.S. steel exports. Canada is working directly with the United States to prevent unfairly priced foreign steel and aluminum from flooding the North American market. U.S. tariffs on Canadian metal products will be harmful to industry and workers on both sides of the border, disrupting supply chains that have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive around the world.

Nowhere in the United States will this be felt more acutely than in Pennsylvania. The economies of Canada and the commonwealth are too intertwined for this decision not to significantly affect families and communities across the state, as it will across America.

The decision to levy tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum does nothing to address the very real problem of foreign steel and aluminum overcapacity and dumping. Instead, it will hit American consumers with higher costs and spark retaliation, which will drive up prices and harm both our economies.

In my travels across this great state, I have met with many companies that rely on Canada as both a provider and a consumer of steel and aluminum. Our trade is integrated, fair and balanced.

The relationship between Canada and the United States is deep, multifaceted and, yes, complicated. But one thing is clear: For the past 150 years, it has been powered by a spirit of partnership unparalleled around the world. Targeting Canada for tariffs runs completely counter to the dynamic that has underpinned the economic prosperity and success of the U.S.-Canadian relationship for the last century.

Our disagreement is not with the American people; it is with this particular government policy.

I remain optimistic that, with the support our partners in Pennsylvania and across the United States, common sense will prevail.

PHYLLIS YAFFE, consul general of Canada to Pennsylvania

Vacation Pay

Please not that the cutoff for the May 4 pay is April 28, 2018 and does not include any May hours.

This year payroll will process the outstanding prior year vacation payout on May 4.

Vacation payout requests can then be processed for the May 18, 2018. Please note these requests need to be submitted by May 11, 2018 in order to process. So for those who take your vacation pay out for the start of May, that will not be processed until the May 18th pay and that is based on how the pay periods fall.

Possible Tariff Exemption

President Trump is planning to offer Canada and Mexico a temporary exemption from new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, reversing his original insistence that the measures apply to U.S. allies as well as nations like China, administration officials said Wednesday.

One version of the plan, which was still being finalized ahead of an expected announcement on Thursday, would give Canada and Mexico a 30-day exemption from the tariffs, the officials said. The exemptions could be extended based on progress in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The move comes as the White House signaled a new flexibility after a six-day drama that has roiled relations with the country’s closest allies, triggered the resignation of National Economic Council chief Gary Cohn and spooked investors. Republicans in Congress have been urging the president to narrow his proposed global tariffs to avoid boomeranging on U.S. businesses and consumers.

Peter K. Navarro, the director of the White House’s Trade and Manufacturing Policy office, said Wednesday night on Fox Business that the president would meet Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with steel union workers and “sign the proclamations.

And within about 15 to 30 days, the tariffs go into effect. The proclamation will have a clause that does not impose these tariffs immediately on Canada and Mexico.” Other officials said the timing of the announcement and details of the plan remained fluid and subject to change.

In advance of the meeting, Trump tweeted that it was important to “protect” the U.S. steel and aluminum industries, while also offering concessions to “real friends.” 

But Trump also revisited the idea of using tariffs as leverage in trade bargaining and other talks — without specifically mentioning NAFTA. Trump wrote that flexibility is extended only to countries that “treat us fairly in both trade and the military.”

The White House shift came after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a last-minute appeal for flexibility, saying that overly broad tariffs would damage key security ties with U.S. allies.

On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers accelerated their efforts to pull the president back from a potentially costly trade war that he has insisted would be “easy to win.”

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a letter signed by 107 House Republicans that urges the president “to tailor” the tariffs to address market distortions caused by Chinese surplus production depressing global metals prices.

“We urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers,” the letter read. “Because tariffs are taxes that make U.S. businesses less competitive and U.S. consumers poorer, any tariffs that are imposed should be designed to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers.”

The party’s extraordinary internal split was underscored when the Republican Study Committee, representing more than half of House Republicans, released a statement defending free trade and labeling tariffs a “tax on American consumers and businesses.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus and one of Trump’s most trusted allies in Congress, has spoken with the president multiple times over the past week in opposition to the tariffs, said three people briefed on his efforts who were not authorized to speak publicly.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. ‘Chaos’ doesn’t really do it justice,” said Claude Barfield, a resident scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

Government lawyers have struggled in recent days to reconcile Trump’s public comments with the legal provisions they have been told to enforce. For example, Trump is trying to use the tariff threats to force Canada and Mexico to offer unrelated concessions in NAFTA. By publicly acknowledging this, he has potentially spoiled the legal standing of the tariffs, a senior administration official said, making it harder for them to design the prohibitions.

Earlier in the week, Trump suggested that he would exclude Canada and Mexico from the new levies only if they made concessions in negotiations aimed at reaching a new NAFTA deal. Officials from both countries rejected the demand, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling the new tariffs “absolutely unacceptable.”

Major business groups that are normally allied with the Republican Party joined the anti-tariffs chorus.

“These new tariffs would directly harm American manufacturers, provoke widespread retaliation from our trading partners, and leave virtually untouched the true problem of Chinese steel and aluminum overcapacity,” said Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Alienating our strongest global allies amid high-stakes trade negotiations is not the path to long-term American leadership.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association warned that the import taxes would disrupt global supply chains and raise costs for consumers, while the Beer Institute chimed in with predictions of 20,000 job cuts by its members.

The American Institute of Architects said the import levies would “drastically increase” the cost of building materials, threatening the viability of the president’s infrastructure proposal.

Republican lawmakers also want the president to establish a “robust exclusion process” when he announces the tariffs so that businesses can apply for waivers to import products that cannot be obtained from domestic sources.

The president may sign the official tariff order as soon as Thursday, but details of additional exclusions may not be ready for 30 days, according to one former U.S. trade official.

When the U.S. last imposed tariffs on imported steel in 2002, George W. Bush’s administration had a waiver process in place six months before the tariffs took effect.

“In the short term, it’s going to be chaotic,” said William Reinsch, a former Commerce Department official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The situation left lobbyists and economists alike unsure of the road ahead. By themselves, the tariffs are likely to have little impact on a $20 trillion economy that is already at full employment.

But with the European Union, Canada and China vowing retaliation, there is a danger that a costly global conflict could erupt, said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, who expects the economy to expand by 2.9 percent this year.

“My fairly positive forecast for the economy assumes it does not turn into a major confidence-sapping trade war, with equities plunging etc.,” O’Sullivan said via email. “I think the equity market will be an important signaling device here.”

For now, the stock market — after plunging by 586 points when the tariffs were announced — appears sanguine. The Dow Jones industrial average fell by less than 1 percent on Wednesday and remains higher than on March 1, when Trump first disclosed his tariff plan.

The president signaled in a pair of tweets that his attention may soon shift to China. “The U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years!” he wrote.

The administration has been considering for weeks various measures intended to punish China for compelling foreign companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the world’s second-largest economy.

Among the options under review are tariffs on a variety of Chinese products and new restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States, according to individuals familiar with the discussions.

The most radical steps would attempt to unwind existing Chinese investments, not just limit new ones, but that would raise legal questions, they said.

The debate follows Trump’s request in August for Robert E. Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, to examine whether China’s intellectual property policies unfairly discriminated against U.S. companies. That probe could continue until August, but a decision is expected by the end of this month, according to a former U.S. trade negotiator.

In striking at China, the administration can expect more uniform backing from corporate leaders, who have grown frustrated with the country’s less welcoming stance under President Xi Jinping.

Earlier in the day, the president also tweeted inaccurately about the overall trade balance between the United States and China.

“China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States. Our relationship with China has been a very good one, and we look forward to seeing what ideas they come back with. We must act soon!” the president wrote.

In fact, China last year had a $375 billion trade surplus with the United States. Reducing it by $1 billion would have no appreciable economic consequences.

The overall U.S. trade deficit rose to $56.6 billion in January, the highest monthly figure in more than nine years, the Commerce Department said.

Steel industry leaders are split over whether to exclude Canada. The United Steelworkers union, which has numerous members in Canada, is urging the administration to exclude Canada, arguing that America’s northern neighbor trades fairly.

“There’s no rational reason to have Canada sanctioned, because Canada never broke the rules,” said Leo Gerard, international president of the USW. “We want to encourage the administration to go after the cheaters.”

But steel executives are more leery of an exemption for Canada, the largest source of imported steel. The country’s mills could become an even larger source as companies in the United States scramble to find new suppliers if the tariff goes into effect only on Asia and Europe.

Trump should do a “fixed tariff across the board,” said Dan DiMicco, chairman emeritus of Nucor, one of the largest U.S. steel producers. “If I had my way, we’d be doing a 50 percent tariff on the really bad actors and 20 percent on the rest.”

Bush exempted Canada and Mexico from his steel tariffs in 2002. At the time, Bush’s advisers felt it wouldn’t be fair to put the tariff on such close allies and free trading partners. However, economists say there were still negative impacts on the economy, even with the carve-out for Canada and a handful of other nations and products.

“I don’t think it’s a game changer to get Canada excluded from tariffs,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, who has advised GOP candidates for president. “We did that under Bush. It was still the case that domestic harm to steel-consuming industries outweighed the gains to steel producers.”

david.lynch@washpost.com

heather.long@washpost.com

damian.paletta@washpost.com

Erica Werner, Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey and Brian Murphy contributed to this report.

Speculation in Washington about possible ‘adjustments’ to steel tariffs

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is coming under political pressure at home to exclude Canada from global tariffs on steel and aluminum, and while stating its preference for a hard line it’s leaving the door open just the tiniest crack to the possibility of adjustments.

Lawmakers, businesses, and hosts on the Sunday political talk-shows all challenged the logic of slapping a national-security tariff on a peaceful next-door neighbour, pushing the administration to justify its move.

The administration says a final announcement is coming next week. On Sunday, it signalled that President Donald Trump is leaning toward a no-exceptions-for-anyone attitude  but then added some potential asterisks.

In the midst of an internal tug-of-war within the White House the administration was represented on the talk shows by two of its most prominent trade hawks, Trump advisor Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Both appeared to suggest the decision is close to final.

While no countries will be excluded, Navarro said some industries could get exemptions. This is of keen interest to Canada’s auto sector, which is a leading supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S.: “There’ll be an exemption procedure for particular cases where we need to have exemptions so business can move forward,” Navarro said on CNN.

Ross held out the slim prospect of some changes: “We shall see,” he told NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“(Trump) has made a decision at this point,” he said of the 25 per cent tariff for steel and 10 per cent tariff for aluminum. “If he for some reason should change his mind, then it’ll change. I have no reason to believe he’s going to change his mind.”

The administration is being deluged with demands from its own political allies to relax its policy. The same two top Republican lawmakers who shepherded Trump’s tax-cut achievement through Congress, Kevin Brady and Orrin Hatch, have pleaded for revisions.

A senator of a border state said he’s already hearing from businesses at home. Angus King, an Independent senator from Maine, compared Trump’s plan to the devastating U.S. tariffs of the 1930s. He said companies in his state fear price increases for steel.

King said any trade actions should be targeted to discourage Chinese dumping  not hit the entire world.

“You want to do these kinds of things with a scalpel  not a chainsaw,” King told NBC.

To apply the tariffs, the U.S. is invoking a rarely used clause in a 1962 trade law that allows the president to declare tariffs if required by national security. The White House argues that the wording is broad, and that national security also could include employment and economic stability of the domestic steel industry.

“I don’t think we need to block Canadian steel in the name of national security. They’re annoying. You know, they’re too nice. But we don’t fear a war with Canada,” King said.

Every host of the big weekly U.S. talk shows raised the Canada angle.

Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked how the White House can possibly justify using a national security excuse for imposing tariffs on a close NATO partner, and legal member of the U.S. military-industrial complex.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Navarro to imagine how Canada might see this: “From the perspective of Canada … Canada would say, ‘National security exemption? We fight with you in every war. Our soldiers are right next to your soldiers in every conflict. What possible scenario could you envision where we wouldn’t supply you with steel and aluminum?’”

But the general response from Trump officials was that everyone should prepare for tariffs. When Navarro was asked on Fox whether Trump would exclude anyone, he responded in the negative.

“That’s not his decision,” Navarro replied.

“As soon as he starts exempting countries he has to raise tariffs on everybody else. As soon as he exempts one country his phone starts ringing from the heads of state of other countries.”

He added more details in an interview with CNN: “Canada’s 40 per cent of the (American aluminum) market. If you exempt Canada, then you have to put big, big tariffs on everybody else. So this is a measured, targeted approach.”

He was repeatedly pressed on the Canada issue in these interviews. Navarro did leave out the possibility of certain industries being exempted.

The issue has sparked a ferocious debate within the White House. Last week, it appeared Trump had frozen out the free-traders in his office and made this announcement with the support of hawks like Navarro.

American press reports have also described the president feeling angry and isolated in recent days. His administration has been hit with resignations, infighting and conflict-of-interest allegations involving the president’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

A South Carolina Republican called it folly.

Sen. Lindsey Graham mentioned the Volkswagen and BMW plants in his state and expressed fear of how a trade war might affect jobs there. He said there’s reason to pursue China for intellectual-property theft and product dumping, but this is hitting all the wrong targets.

He addressed Trump directly in his interview on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

“You’re letting China off the hook,” Graham said.

“You’re punishing the American consumer and our allies. You’re making a huge mistake here. Go after China  not the rest of the world.”

 

 

Statement by Canada on steel and aluminum

From Global Affairs Canada

March 1, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“As a key NORAD and NATO ally, and as the number one customer of American steel, Canada would view any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum as absolutely unacceptable.

“Any restrictions would harm workers, the industry and manufacturers on both sides of the border. The steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports critical North American manufacturing supply chains. The Canadian government will continue to make this point directly with the American administration at all levels.

“Canada is a safe and secure supplier of steel and aluminum for U.S. defence and security.  Canada is recognized in U.S. law as a part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base related to national defence.

“The United States has a $2-billion surplus in steel trade with Canada. Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50% of U.S. exports.

“It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.  We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.  Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”

 

Tim Hortons

Ontario coffee drinkers are rightfully dismayed that the owners of some Tim Hortons franchises have chosen to cut back on their workers’ benefits, paid breaks and even tips in response to the minimum wage increase to $14 an hour.

Ontario workers are right to be concerned that there is nothing illegal about the behaviour of Tim Hortons franchisees in reducing benefits and paid breaks. That’s because Tim Hortons employees do not have the benefit of an enforceable collective agreement — they largely work at the mercy of their employer.

If Tim’s workers did have a union, these cutbacks would, of course, be in violation of their union contract and the union would ensure Tim’s was prevented from making such miserly and unilateral cuts.

The reason Tim’s employees and so many other workers don’t have the benefit of a union contract is that Ontario’s labour laws make it virtually impossible for workers in franchise operations to join unions.

The recent package of labour law changes passed by the Wynne Liberals did some good things for Ontario workers — most notably it included a long overdue increase to the minimum wage. But it is unfortunate that the government did virtually nothing to provide service sector workers, like the thousands of Tim’s employees, with real access to unionization and collective bargaining.

Our current system of labour relations was designed in the 1930s and ’40s when workplaces were very different — and it is profoundly ill-suited to accommodate collective bargaining at thousands of retail franchises across the province. It is very difficult to generate any real bargaining power by trying to unionize one Tim’s store at a time — let alone trying to negotiate at one, or even five, Tim’s stores among the hundreds spread across Ontario.

As a result, the overwhelming majority of retail franchise workers in Ontario are not unionized. And it is not for a lack of trying, both by unions and workers. Many unions have organized Tim Hortons, McDonald’s and Starbucks franchises, for example. But those efforts have ultimately failed to create any real union density in the sector because labour laws remain stacked against Ontario’s most vulnerable workers.

The Ontario government promised its labour law reforms would address the challenges created by growing precarious employment in small workplaces. In reality, it has left vulnerable workers exposed to precisely the unfair treatment we are seeing today.

The government took no action even though its own task force — the Changing Workplaces Review — received numerous submissions from unions and other organizations calling for legislation to allow broader sectoral bargaining in Ontario, similar to laws found in some sectors in Quebec and across much of Europe.

The government’s own task force also concluded that the current system of bargaining with a single franchisee is “unlikely to be viable.” The task force recommended a small change that would have allowed bargaining with multiple franchisees of the same franchisor. Sadly, the government rejected even this modest proposal.

Finally, the Wynne government also rejected a proposal from the entire labour movement that workers in all sectors should have the opportunity to join a union without employer interference, by simply signing a union membership card. The government’s rejection of this proposal virtually assures Tim’s workers who want to join a union that they can expect to be subjected to a legal campaign of anti-union coercion and harassment by their employer.

Premier Wynne claims to have modernized labour laws to protect Ontario workers and grow the middle class. But simply increasing the minimum wage will not stem growing inequality.

History demonstrates that unionization and collective bargaining are the most important factors in reducing inequality and growing the middle class. On that score, the Ontario government has given retail workers less than half a cup of coffee.

Marty Warren is the Ontario Director of the United Steelworkers