USW Leader Seeks Trade Relief on Chinese Rail Component Imports

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450,

A United Steelworkers (USW) union leader from Granite City, Ill., testified today before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), urging the panel to impose duties that would provide U.S. manufacturers with relief from unfairly traded Chinese imports of freight rail coupler systems and components, a practice that threatens good jobs at his factory.

“In a couple of years we went from almost a thousand members to barely 300,” USW Local 1063 President Antonio Wellmaker told the commissioners. “Unfair competition from Chinese imports have meant that we lost 725 jobs and for those of us that have held on, we do so making less money.”

Thursday’s hearing was part of the final phase of an ITC investigation launched last fall following a petition filed by the Coalition of Freight Coupler Producers. The petition alleges that Chinese-subsidized manufacturers are importing freight rail coupler systems and components and dumping them, or selling them in the United States at less than fair value.

Wellmaker, who works for Amsted Rail in Granite City, said that antidumping and countervailing duties would help to stem the tide of illegal imports and give him and his co-workers at Amsted a more level playing field on which to compete.

“Because our compensation is tied to production quantities, we’re making less money,” Wellmaker testified. “We did not see significant job loss at the plant facility until around three years ago when I understood that Chinese imports started flooding into the United States.”

Wellmaker said the possibility of duties on imports as a result of the trade case has led Amsted to hire new workers in anticipation of an increase in business.

“We support this investigation because we know what trade relief for our hard-working members and their families could mean,” he said. “I am confident that we will be able to continue adding workers, increase production and add shifts and workdays if dumped and subsidized freight rail imports are dealt with.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
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USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
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