#SteelBriefs Profile - Representative Marcy Kaptur (D) OH-9

Representative Marcy Kaptur (D) OH-9

The American steel industry employs nearly 140,000 workers, supports about a million jobs in the larger economy and is vital to nearly every aspect of modern life. #Steelbriefs highlights the opinions of steel advocates in Congress on key issues critical to the steel industry by profiling members of Congress who have worked to curtail the unfair foreign trade practices that have impacted the industry, and championed other issues critical to steel like transportation, infrastructure and energy. You can follow #SteelBriefs on the American Iron and Steel Institute Twitter (@AISISteel) and Facebook channels, as well as here on steel.org.



 


Jobs/economy

Manufacturing is the lifeblood of America, Ohio and our district’s economy. Manufacturing contributes over $2 trillion to the American economy, and almost $100 billion here in Ohio. Of that, Ohio’s steel industry contributes $7.2 billion in economic impact. Since 1998 Ohio has lost 368,500 jobs associated to manufacturing, down 6.8 percent. However, 662,100 people are still employed in manufacturing or about 1 in every 8 jobs in the state – more than 12% of the state’s working population. Only two states, California and Texas, have a higher number of manufacturing workers and only six states have a higher share of their workforce in this sector.

Ohio remains among the top three steel-producing states in the nation and locally, fabricated metals manufacturing activity ranks second in overall production. There are 242 steel manufacturing and processing establishments in Ohio, accounting for more than 22,000 Ohioans who work directly in steel production and processing and roughly 100,000 more jobs attributed to the state’s steel industry.

Manufacturing and the steel industry represents one of largest segments of Northern Ohio and the 9th Congressional district’s regional economy – employing nearly 38,000 individuals and many more associated with supply chain.

Between 1998 and 2003 a wave of unfairly traded steel imports from Asia, Russia and Brazil undercut domestic steel markets.

While Ohio steel companies produce as much steel as they did before the imports crisis of the late 1990s, they employ far fewer people. Technology and a more versatile and highly skilled workforce have made up the difference.

Ohio accounted for nearly 8% of the U.S. steel industry workforce in 2010, employing more than 111,500 workers. However, over the decade, losses in employment for Ohio's steel industry were strikingly larger than those experienced by the industry nationwide, a near 18% decline. Considering each job created in manufacturing or the steel industry produces about 3 more jobs in other sectors – continued declines have a devastating impact on our regional economy.

Over the last several years, Northern Ohio has seen dramatic boons and severe declines in our steel production. As natural gas and oil exploration surged in Ohio, companies like Republic Steel and US Steel in Lorain, Ohio clawed back from the Great Recession to produce the best pipe and tube in the world. However, recent windfalls and decline, attributed to both market conditions and unfair trade agreement, have left production at near zero and have forced both facilities to layoffs almost every employee.

Environment

Far too often, Americans are forced to choose between good jobs and environmental protection; however, this is a wholly false narrative.

Here in Ohio, “the BlueGreen Alliance unites America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations to identify ways today’s environmental challenges can create and maintain quality jobs and build a stronger, fairer economy.” The BlueGreen Alliance’s membership includes organizations like the Sierra Club and labor unions such as USW – working in partnership to provide good manufacturing (steel) jobs and advocating for clean energy and green technologies and fair trade agreements.

“The USW is uniquely committed to the values of environmental protection, workplace safety, and advancing the clean economy as a strategy for revitalizing American manufacturing and to create good, middle-class jobs.”

The American Wind Energy Association and the United Steelworkers released a “Framework Agreement” to create a “Partnership for Progress” to accelerate the development and deployment of wind energy production in the United States. With Cleveland’s recent announcement of LEEDCo’s award from the Department of Energy of $40 million to place 6 turbines in Lake Erie, the Saudi Arabia of wind, there is great potential and opportunity to retrain and rejuvenate Ohio steelworkers. The DOE award inspired significant private investment funding to advance the construction phase.

Steel has an important place in the green energy revolution, and we need to do everything we can to ensure our workers are ready for the transition.

Infrastructure

The importance of a strong and viable American steel industry to U.S. national infrastructure – transportation, energy, homeland security and economic security – cannot be overstated.

• Transportation: highways, bridges, railroads, mass transit systems, airports, seaports and navigation systems
• Health and public safety: dams and reservoirs, waste and sewage treatment facilities, the public water supply system and, increasingly, residential construction
• Energy: petroleum refineries, oil and gas pipelines, storage tanks, electricity power generating plants, electric power transmission towers and utility distribution poles
• Commercial, industrial and institutional: manufacturing plants, schools, commercial buildings, chemical processing plants, hospitals, retail stores, hotels, churches or houses of worship and government buildings, etc…

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, Ohio ranks near the bottom of all states with respect to overall infrastructure, receiving a C- grade on their latest ASCG Report Card. Most notably, it is estimated that Ohio has $9.68 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs and a staggering, estimated $11.16 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs. Much of the burden on funding for municipal water supply systems is borne by local government, upwards of 99%.

Trade

"The steel industry is important to the U.S. economy," said Robert Scott, director of trade and manufacturing research at the Economic Policy Institute, or EPI. "It directly supports more than a half-million jobs. Those jobs are in imminent danger." His recent report says nearly 34,000 workers in Ohio are at risk of losing jobs because of steel imports. The figure ranks Ohio fourth for the number of workers in danger of displacement.”

International markets are dumping steel in the US, where sales are lower than the costs to produce the American product. This dumping of product has forced many mills across the nation, including several in Ohio to shutter, this resulted in the loss of over 1,000 steelworker jobs in the 9th district in the last year alone. The foreign producers dumping the product on the US market frequently produce at below market rates because their governments subsidize the production. Because the US market is so large and open, it became a prime target for excess product.

One of the last lines of defense the American steel industry and workers have are our trade laws, which is why it is absolutely vital to negotiate agreements that ensure balance in markets and protect our domestic industries.