WEIRTON — As their anti-dumping case before the U.S. International Trade Commission proceeds toward a decision in early 2024, management, union officials and employees of Cleveland-Cliffs received a show of support from two members of the U.S. Senate Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined Cleveland-Cliffs Chairman, President and CEO Lourenco Goncalves and USW Local 2911 President Mark Glyptis, touring a portion of the Weirton tin-making facilities and meeting with some of the local employees.
Manchin said the issues being debated now can be traced back to the generosity of the United States decades ago, as the country offered its support to other nations as they attempted to grow. That generosity, though, came at the detriment of the U.S., he said.
“We failed because we thought we were doing the right thing 30 to 40 years ago but it didn’t work out,” Manchin said. “Trying to help the rest of the world not only helped the rest of the world, they took over the jobs that we needed.”
Manchin said metals manufacturing, including the tin produced in Weirton, and steel, are still necessary for the well-being of the nation, providing security, reliable supply chains and a strong economy.
“Superpower status is going to be maintained by the work that we do, and basically not being dependent on unreliable foreign supply chains,” Manchin said to the workers gathered. “That’s what you do.”
The company and USW filed in January antidumping and countervailing duty petitions against eight countries related to what they say are unfairly traded tin and chromium coated sheet steel products.
The petition is seeking duties on imports of tin mill products from Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
“It’s all about thinking about workers and American jobs,” Brown said.
He said American workers can continue to count on him and Manchin as among those in Congress fighting to protect fair trade and worker safety.
“That’s my job. That’s my mission,” he said.
Goncalves offered his thanks to Manchin and Brown for their support. The two are among a delegation from Congress representing West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana showing support for the petition through a letter to the ITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce in February.
At the time, Cleveland-Cliffs Weirton employed approximately 950 people. The company announced 300 layoffs, which were completed in late June and early July, with officials noting it was the result of continuing imports of foreign-produced materials.
Glyptis, though, said he is remaining hopeful for their trade case, noting the investments made into the local mill by Cleveland-Cliffs and the support by Manchin, Brown and others, adding he feels there is opportunity for the mill’s future.
“For the first time in a long time, we have a real opportunity to not only succeed, but grow,” Glyptis said.