From Illinois Business Journal news services
EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and several others from southwestern Illinois will travel to Washington, D.C., this month to stress the importance of the steel industry.
The County Board on Wednesday night unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Dunstan calling on the U.S. Congress to take action regarding the illegal dumping of foreign steel on the U.S. market.
Addressing the board, Dunstan said the idling of U.S. Steel’s Granite City Steel Works can be attributed to unfair trade practices, inferior imported steel and the fluctuating oil prices.
“The more than 2,000 men and women at Granite City Steel produce the highest quality steel in the world, but are being laid off as a result of factors beyond their control,” Dunstan said.
“Granite City Steel is absolutely a vital part of the Metro East economy. The idling of the mill will certainly negatively impact the local economy, but it could be absolutely devastating for the mill’s hard-working, skilled workers,” Dunstan said. “It’s time for Congress and our federal government to level the playing field and take action on behalf of the workers at Granite City Steel and throughout the country.”
Following the board’s passage of the resolution supporting the nation’s steel industry, Dunstan announced that on January 26, he will be leading a delegation comprised of Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnaur, Madison County Community & Economic Development administrator Frank Miles, and Steelworkers union officials to Washington, D.C.
“We are going to Washington and sit down face-to-face with the decision makers to get some action on unfair, illegal trade practices that directly affect the lives of thousands of American families, including hundreds of families in Madison County, ” Dunstan stated emphatically.
Dunstan told board members that meetings have already been set up with Illinois’ Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk, as well as U.S. Congressmen John Shimkus, Rodney Davis and Mike Bost.
“We will be presenting those officials with the resolution passed by the County Board, as well similar resolutions passed by municipalities throughout Madison County and the Metro-East supporting our nation’s steel industry,” the chairman said.
The Madison County delegation is also scheduled with key representatives of the U.S. Department of Commerce, including the assistant secretary for Legislative and Government Affairs, the assistant secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, and the deputy chief counsel for Trade Enforcement and Compliance.
Dunstan said the delegation is also set to meet with officials of the U.S. Steel Corp. to discuss the plant idling and steps that could be taken to improve the plant’s operations and efficiencies.
“One very important meeting we will have in the capitol is with U.S. Congressman Pete Visclosky (1st Congressional District, Ind.). Congressman Visclosky’s district includes Gary, home to several steel mills, including U.S. Steel’s Gary Steel works. He is a staunch advocate of stringent enforcement of trade laws, particularly those laws that affect the steel industry,” Dunstan said.
“We will be asking Congressman Visclosky what can be done at the local level to support his and other officials’ efforts to support the American steel industry,” Dunstan said. And we will ask Sen. Durbin, Sen. Kirk and the members of our congressional delegation for their leadership and support, not only for the steel industry, but for the men and women employed at the Granite City Steel works.”