Buy American Steel and Iron for Our Roads and Bridges

June 16, 2017

President's Message

Buy American Steel and Iron for Our Roads and Bridges

Various Buy American proposals have been introduced over the last few months that would cover several state procurement projects. The goal of these proposals is to return manufacturing in the United States. The loss of manufacturing jobs had decimated the economies of local communities across the country.

Nowhere has been hit harder than upstate New York and contrary to what some pundits say, we can do something about it. Buy American polices have proven to lure companies to invest in New York and other areas.

The NYS AFL-CIO supports inclusion of as many products as possible, but it is imperative that Buy American be affordable, that it not complicate the procurement process and that compliance with the policy is workable. That is why we urge the legislature to pass a bill that will require structural steel and iron used in the construction of state roads and bridges be made in America.

This is a narrow application, it is workable, it is affordable and it makes sense. This will create jobs, ensure quality products and will help New York’s economy first, and our nation as a whole. The proposal builds on existing policies that New York adheres to on federally funded projects and it will be a model for other states to follow.

Passage of this legislation is in no way retaliatory to any other nation or manufacturers that operate outside of the US. It is simply a measure that allows US manufactures to compete on a level playing field with other nations that have substandard or no labor and environmental safeguards. Moreover, the proposal creates a good faith effort to make sure that Canadian companies will be given special consideration to compete alongside U.S. companies, if U.S. companies are also allowed to compete in Canada on equal footing for those same projects.

The public support for this proposal, and many others that go even further, is through the roof. It is time to act.

— Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action

Labor Lobbyists Meeting

Monday, June 19, 2017, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY

Issue of the week

Support American Manufacturing Jobs
S6639A Robach/A8427A Morelle, et al

This bill enacts the New York State Buy American Act, to create a preference for American manufactured steel and iron in public works projects. This will stimulate manufacturing, create jobs and ensure that state taxpayer dollars are used first and foremost for the benefit of New York State’s economy and the national economy as well.

Recent revelations that steel made in China was used on reconstruction for both LaGuardia, Bayonne Bridge and Verrazano Narrows projects resulted in a public outcry for updated and more responsible procurement and contracting methods. Taxpayers are rightly concerned that taxpayer dollars are too often used to purchase steel, iron and other components from foreign competitors that have unfair advantage over New York and American made products.

Many of these foreign companies are government subsidized and/or do not adhere to any labor or environmental standards required of American and New York manufacturers. This tilted playing field puts American business and workers at an extreme competitive disadvantage and over the years has contributed to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York and across the nation. Worse, this contributes to the abuse of workers in other nations and contributes to global environmental problems.

The need to create a fair and level playing field has never been more evident and this bill will be a significant first step in doing that. More important, this will be an important tool to help New York manufacturers create jobs.

Therefore, this Federation urges passage and enactment of this legislation.

For further information contact Mike Neidl at 518-436-8516 or by email [email protected]