The United Steelworkers union is "disappointed" in the preliminary determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce in its investigation of imported off-the-road tires. The union says it will continue to press for protection from those imports on behalf of the 2,500 workers it represents who manufacture OTR tires in the U.S.

“The USW was disappointed in the preliminary results announced Friday by the USDOC," says Leo Gerard, international president of the USW. The union and Titan Tire Corp. filed the petition seeking tariffs on the OTR tires. "Petitioners have raised a number of important issues in advance of the preliminary comments. Until disclosure materials are provided to USW trade counsel, we won’t know if those issues were addressed in the preliminary or not.”

Gerard says typically there are important factual and legal issues at this stage of the case. “Our members have suffered harm from OTR imports. The USW will be looking to the Commerce Department to address all issues raised by petitioners in their final (ruling) to ensure that any dumping is in fact addressed and offset.”

Stan Johnson, USW international secretary-treasurer and chair of the union's tire sector testified in the trade case hearings. Johnson says, “The USW with Titan have been persistent and diligent during the last decade to address unfair trade practices that are harming the industry and its workers producing off-the-road tires.

“Conditions of fair trade are critical to many industrial sectors in America. The USW will continue to fight to see that our government addresses all instances of injurious dumping and subsidization that harm our members.”

The USW represents 2,500 workers producing OTR tires in the U.S.: Titan plants in Freeport, Ill., Des Moines, Iowa, and Bryan, Ohio; and Bridgestone-Firestone Corp. of North America (BFNA) facilities in Bloomington, Ill. and Des Moines.

The USW says its members produce more than 58% of the domestic capacity in OTR production.

In testimony, the USW said the workforce engaged in producing OTR tires at Titan’s three facilities shrank by more than 40% from 2012 to 2014. The union said production at Bridgestone's Bloomington and Des Moines OTR plants "has dropped dramatically," and "the reason for these declines in production, hours, employment and investment is the rising volume of low-priced imports.”

For more information on the USW, visit www.usw.org.

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