Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

USW slams faulty Chinese steel slated for Bay bridge work

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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.


Posted 7/31/2009




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