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Unifor supports full retaliation against U.S. tariffs

May 31, 2018 

TORONTO – Unifor applauds the swift imposition of retaliatory measures in response to punishing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

“Make no mistake — this is a full on trade war. The U.S. has systematically come after Canada’s aerospace, softwood, paper and now steel and aluminum industries,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Unifor fully supports the action taken by the federal government to fight back on behalf of Canadian workers.”

Today U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum take effect tomorrow, June 1, 2018. The tariffs are being imposed under Section 232 of Trade Expansion Act, citing national security concerns. The U.S. had previously exempted Canada from the tariffs while renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement were taking place.  

“America didn’t get what it wanted at the NAFTA table so the Trump administration is using the absurd premise that imports from Canada constitute a security threat to America to lash out at Canada and Mexico,” said Dias. “The U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs will impact everything from beer cans to cars, with consumers and workers on both sides of the border paying the price.”

Quebec is a major supplier of aluminum while Ontario is a supplier of steel and automobiles. Unifor represents more than 40,000 workers in the auto industry and an additional 4,000 members in the aluminum sector, with 1,000 at Rio Tinto in British Columbia and the remaining 3,000 in Quebec.

“Unifor will back all necessary retaliatory measures to defend our pulp, paper, steel and aluminum industries from unwarranted tariffs and to fight for the interests of all Canadian workers,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.

To view Unifor’s position on trade visit unifor.org/peoplestrade. Information on the union’s campaign against pulp and paper tariffs is available here.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org  or 416-896-3303 (cell).