U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln won't support the Employee Free Choice Act with an election coming, so she trumpets sympathy for union workers at Cooper Tire against Chinese imports. See her release on the jump.
You might say Cooper Tire workers also could use some protection from the likes of Cooper Tire. The company forced employees to accept wage freezes and other givebacks. It laid off hundreds and shut plants. It strong-armed taxpayer subsidies out of Arkansas and other states to keep plants open. They could teach the Chinese a thing or two.
LINCOLN NEWS RELEASE
Washington – In testimony before the International Trade Commission Tuesday, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) said Arkansas’s workers are entitled to compete on a fair playing field in our global marketplace.
Lincoln, testifying on behalf of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company employees in Texarkana, expressed support for a United Steelworkers (USW) petition filed earlier this year seeking relief from surging imports of consumer tires from China.
“I believe in the benefits of trade and am a strong supporter of opening up new markets for American businesses and consumers,” Lincoln said. “But we must be able to rely on internationally recognized rules, including trade remedies, to counter the harmful effects of unfair trade practices and unforeseen import surges that inflict injury on our domestic industries and its workers. Our domestic businesses and producers should be able to trust the government to level the playing field when our trading partners fail to abide by the rules, and I have long argued that we need to step up enforcement of our trade laws.
“President Obama has signaled that the United States will stay engaged as a leading trading nation. He has promised to enforce trade laws more vigorously and to promote America’s interest in the welfare of workers and the protection of the environment. I believe an affirmative determination of injury in this case, and a recommendation for the import relief the USW seeks in their petition, will enable him to make good on that promise.”
According to the USW, nearly 46 million consumer tires worth more than $1.7 billion were exported from China to the U.S. last year, making it the largest source of imports on consumer tires. From 2004-2008, imports from China soared more than 200 percent in volume and nearly 300 percent in value. These imports have caused great concern for the future of the U.S. tire industry and its jobs.
Under Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974, relief may be granted if a surge of Chinese imports causes or threatens to cause market disruption to domestic producers. The International Trade Commission (ITC) conducts a hearing, proposes relief where appropriate, and a final determination is made by the President.