Within the shadows of US Steel Granite City Works plant is a former Army facility where steel pipe is being held and distributed for a 2,148-mile pipeline to transport Canadian tar sands crude oil from Calgary to southwestern Illinois. This is a $5.2 billion joint venture between ConocoPhillips and Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada.
From outside the wire fence where the stored pipe is being held, many of the 2,800 laid off Granite City steelworkers shake their heads as they view the clearly marked steel pipe, “Made in India.”
While a spokesman for the Keystone Pipeline said the global steel industry is very competitive and that some of the steel is being made in the U.S. and Canada, it’s a hard pill to swallow for the blue-collar workers and local shop and storeowners who are wondering when and if the mill will start up again.
"It’s a slap in the face to the hardworking men and women out of work from our local steel mills and finishing companies," said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.
Russ Saltsgaver, president of USW local 1899, tied the economic situation between the workers and community together when he said, “It’s all connected … if we go down, they all go down.”
Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat, underscores his contention that trade laws are failing American workers.
The hardships of being laid off will become even more strenuous as many of these workers who have been off since before Christmas could soon exhaust their unemployment benefits.
The story proves why the USW's "Buy American" resolution effort is so important. So far, members have gotten the resolution introduced in more than 600 muncipalities and states. Click here to download our resolution toolkit and join the fight.