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Posted June 6, 2012

Union Statement

Buy North American to Build Border Bridge, Say Steelworkers

TORONTO - "A strong Buy North American policy can support manufacturing in both Canada and the United States," says Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director. "The new Windsor-Detroit bridge is the most important border build we've got. It's time for the government in Ottawa to stand up for Canadian workers and North American steel."

"Canada must support using North American construction materials, especially steel, to build the new bridge. We've agreed to pay the whole shot, so we should insist on Buy North American," says Neumann.

Detroit newspapers quote aides to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as saying the Canadian government, which is bankrolling Michigan's share of the $1.4-billion project, wants to use the lowest-cost materials, including steel imported from China. The issue is described as one of the last barriers to agreement before bridge construction begins.

"Ottawa and Washington ought to know better than to build a bridge with cheap steel from China. Look what happened with the new Bay Bridge in San Francisco where inspectors failed up to 65 per cent of the welds. You get what you pay for. North American materials can build jobs as well as bridges," said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President.

"The Harper Conservatives are putting ideology ahead of the interests of Canadian businesses and Canadian workers," Neumann says. "This bridge project would boost the economy in both countries, if done right."

The private company that owns the existing Ambassador Bridge opposes the new bridge and has spent millions of dollars on TV advertising, lobbying and campaign donations, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"It's time to stand up for jobs and communities. Ottawa can and must do that with this bridge build," said Neumann.

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