The United Steel Workers (USW), the largest labor union in North America, has attacked the Republican presidential nominee candidate Mitt Romney for trying to rob millions of American workers of their jobs and play into the hands of Chinese politicians.
The USW, whose members include workers at tire, rubber and other auto-related factories, mentioned only Mitt Romney in its statement and said if Romney had his way, millions of Americans would be out of their manufacturing jobs by now.
Romney had, in 2008, opposed an $81 billion government plan to save US automakers such as General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy. The plan, opposed by Romney on the grounds that it was against capitalistic ideals of letting the market decide who will survive and perish, is credited with having saved 1.3 million jobs.
Romney already has a reputation as a trigger-happy corporate chief who would chose the route of lay-offs and slim-downs to force companies off the edge of bankruptcy. Romney, in his years at investment firm Bain Capital, engineered many slim downs that saw many hundreds, if not thousands, lose their jobs.
USW, which has a traditional Democratic bias, chose to name Romney in a statement on Sunday even as Republican voters in Maine were selecting their nominee for the next presidential contest against Barack Obama.
“The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, would jeopardize our successes and reverse course on enforcing the rules. Romney opposed the use of trade laws to support our nation’s tire producers, who employ thousands of workers and make great products,” the Union said in a statement.
It is currently in the midst of an effort to get the US government to get the Chinese government, which actively supports and helps local companies, to scale back what it calls “unfair and illegal trade practices,” especially in the auto-parts sector.
The US has lost millions of factory jobs to China and other lower cost countries as companies found it cheaper to make stuff there and ship them to the US, instead of paying the higher wages in America.
Organizations in several countries, including the US, have held that the Chinese government support for private industries in the country amount to violation of its commitments under World Trade Organization rules. Governments are mostly banned from offering subsidies or other material and cash discounts and support to private industry under international trade laws — to ensure fair-play.
It is alleged that the Chinese ‘dump’ products at rates that are cheaper than their actual cost of production, with a view to destroy the manufacturing base of the target country, and then raise prices once the objective is achieved.
“Mitt Romney also publicly opposed the stabilization plan for the auto industry that has returned them to profitability and resulted in workers returning to the factories. Romney said the companies should go bankrupt.
“Romney’s refusal to support America’s auto sector would leave the more than 1.6 million workers directly and indirectly employed in the auto parts sector fighting China’s predatory trade practices on their own. Romney’s record on trade issues would further embolden Chinese leaders and put at risk more jobs here at home,” it said.