Out of all of the steel used in North America every year, 69% of it is recycled. And as modern steel grows stronger, builders need to use less of it in their designs. As a result, the U.S. steel industry has struggled, and 1,100 workers in Fairfield, Alabama were forced out of a job just two years ago.
However, since those two years have passed, Congress has made very little progress to safeguard the survival of the domestic steel industry.
Recently, NPR spoke to those laid off Alabama steel workers, who were angry that the company shut down the factory when the blast furnace was still making revenue. The steelworkers are additionally angry with Congress for not better protecting their jobs from competition overseas.
As a result, the steel workers of Fairfield, Alabama look toward President Donald Trump for success and the return of their jobs. Trump spoke about the fate of the steel industry during his speech in Cincinnati on Wednesday, June 7th.
According to Reuters, Trump said, “Wait until you see what I’m going to do for steel and for your steel companies. We’re going to stop the dumping, and stop all of these wonderful other countries from coming in and killing our companies and our workers. You’ll be seeing that very soon.”
So how does the Trump administration plan to revitalize the U.S. steel industry?
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has since identified three possible recommendations as a means of revitalizing the U.S. Steel industry, which Trump has promised is possible. Reuters reports that those three actions include “imposing tarrifs above the current, country-specific anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on steel products; imposing quotas limiting the volume of steel imports; and a hybrid ‘tariff-rate quota’ option that would include quotas on specific products with new tarrifs for imports above those levels.”
Ross predicts these possibilities will keep the rate of inflation regarding tariffs at a minimum. Ross further says the Trump Administration is respecting steel consumers, steel fabricators, and also auto companies as a means of protecting all those who utilize steel and depend on the U.S. Steel industry.
As for the former steelworkers in Fairfield, Alabama, until the Trump Administration proves their word, they will continue to do as blue-collar workers do. They will provide for their families as best they can, and hope.