Gergely: Priority in potential sale of U.S. Steel must be preservation of region’s union jobs and workers

McKEESPORT, Dec. 20 -- State Rep. Matthew Gergely, D-Allegheny, today released the following statement in response to news of the pending sale of U.S. Steel to a foreign-owned corporation:

“The recent announcement that U.S. Steel is planning to sell itself to Nippon Steel of Japan is stirring disappointment and concern in Pennsylvania and nationally, but especially within the communities I represent and surrounding areas in Western Pennsylvania.

“Residents and stakeholders are concerned not just about the employment and economic issues posed by the sale, but also about national security and the loss of domestic control over such a critical industry. Steel production and the “arsenal of democracy” are major legacies of manufacturing in Western Pennsylvania; dependence on foreign steel production could negatively impact that legacy and make us vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and fluctuations in global markets.

“My number one priority in the face of this potential sale is making sure any new ownership of U.S. Steel protects this region’s union workers and jobs. These union jobs play a vital role in our local, state, and national economy; they ensure fair wages, safe working conditions and job security for workers and their families.

“Secondly, we need to keep U.S. steel production and jobs within the country, so we maintain national self-sufficiency and our economic stability. We need a reliable supply of steel for critical industries like infrastructure, defense and manufacturing. By protecting local union jobs and work, we preserve our national security interests and reduce dependency on foreign sources.

“Protecting union workers and jobs is also important to maintaining a healthy middle class and supporting local businesses. Unionized workers earn higher wages, receive better benefits, and have more bargaining power. This leads to greater purchasing power, increased consumer spending and overall economic growth in our region. When jobs are protected, communities thrive, and the ripple effects positively impact various sectors of our economy.

“Finally, protecting local jobs and our union workers aligns with our values of fairness, equity and workplace justice. Our union workers enjoy a collective voice and a fair say in the workplace. We must preserve these rights and protections for the workers in our communities, regardless of who owns the workplace.

“This is why any sale of U.S. Steel must prioritize local workers and their rights, as well as local suppliers, both in terms of sourcing raw materials and distribution of their product. Local workers and businesses are keys to the wellbeing and economic health of our communities and our region.

“My hope is that the foreign company purchasing U.S. Steel recognizes the strategic importance of the US steel industry and aligns its business practices with the interests of our local economy and workers. Striking a balance between global competitiveness and safeguarding domestic interests is paramount for the sustained success of the industry and the well-being of the Americans who rely on it.

“Only through a collaborative and responsible approach can a foreign acquisition of U.S. Steel be mutually beneficial for all parties involved.”