The United Steelworkers (USW) is citing welding problems at a China-based
steel fabricator as another example of why North America-made product should
be used in infrastructure projects.
According to a statement released today, the discovery of “major, faulty”
welding problems at a steel fabricator in Shanghai--the Zenhau Port Machine
Company--has halted Chinese-made steel intended for the eastern span of the
San Francisco Bay Bridge, as reported by the industry publication,
American Metal Market.
“The welding problems were first discovered last year but executives thought
they had been corrected,” the statement said. “Now it is apparent the
problems might be more serious than originally thought.”
“Why isn’t American-made steel being used to restore this American
landmark?” asked USW International President Leo Gerard. “Whatever cost
savings previously assumed for this project have been totally negated by the
questions of quality and safety and the delays to completing the project.”
The eastern span of the bridge is being rebuilt following its collapse in
the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which caused massive damage to the Bay
area, the statement said. The earthquake caused the upper deck of the bridge
to collapse onto the lower deck.
“The domestic steel industry is running at 40-percent capacity,” USW
Vice-president Tom Conway said. “Thousands of steelworkers are not working
despite our federal government passing a $787 billion stimulus bill that
targets highways and bridges. And we’re importing faulty product to repair a
bridge span damaged by an earthquake?”
“The USW strongly advocates Buy America provision for programs funded by the
stimulus program,” the statement said. “Its main objective is for taxpayers’
money to be spent putting Americans back to work.”
“Once again, however, safety has become an issue with products from China,”
the statement noted. “In recent years everything from tires to toxic toys to
toothpaste produced in China has been subject to recalls in the U.S.”
“Quality has a price too,” Gerard said.