American workers at Banner Metals in Columbus, Ohio are applauding President Trump’s fair trade agenda, saying that when it comes to trade, the “U.S. has been taken advantage of for too long.”
In interviews with the New York Times, American steel workers at Banner Metals — which distributes metals — said they support Trump’s fair trade agenda wherein the populist president has placed a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a ten percent tariff on imported aluminum.
Bronson Jones, who co-owns Banner Metals, told the Times‘ Nelson Schwartz that he sees the tariffs and Trump’s moves to hold China accountable on trade as a benefit to the American economy in the long term.
“I’m not looking at what’s best for Banner right now. I’m looking at what’s best for the national economy,” Jones said. “The U.S. has been taken advantage of for too long.”
U.S. free trade with Mexico, alone, has cost Ohio tens of thousands of American jobs. About 34,900 American workers have been displaced in the state because of free trade with Mexico.
Another worker at Banner Metals, Casey Jackson, said that even if the tariffs on imported metals slightly reduced his paycheck, he would still support the tariffs because they will protect American jobs.
“If it comes out of my paycheck, so be it. You got to look at the big picture,” Jackson said. “That tiny bit of sacrifice we make will create jobs.”
Two other steel workers at Banner Metals, James Ford and Todd Grizzle, who spoke to the Times said Trump’s fair trade agenda was a welcome shift from the past decades of endless free trade that has come at the expense of American jobs and industry.
Ford told the Times he liked that Trump “doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” saying, “People get offended very easily by somebody being direct.”
Two years ago, in Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Casting — the largest steel foundry in North America — closed its doors, laying off 800 American workers. The close was because the steel factory was unable to compete against foreign steel producers who readily dumped their products for cheaper prices in the U.S. market.
Grizzle reminded the Times of those mass layoffs, saying, “There was a flood of people looking for work.”
“I like the idea of the U.S. having allies. But if this can bring more jobs back to America, that’s a good thing,” Grizzle said.
The Ohio steel workers’ praise for Trump’s fair trade agenda has been echoed by workers across the country, despite the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican establishment campaigning against the steel and aluminum tariffs.
Most recently, American workers at the South Carolina Port Authority cheered Trump’s fair trade initiative, noting their admiration for his tough action on trade.
American Workers Praise Trump’s Battle for Fair Trade: ‘He’s Keeping Promises, Instead of Lip Service’https://t.co/OnN4Rh4F0e
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) July 20, 2018
“I don’t see where we have been affected by the trade war like they’ve been talking about,” Glenn Jamison, a 62-year-old South Carolina Port Authority worker told the Times. “We don’t see any instability. We’re hearing about it, but we don’t see it yet.”
“American workers have been sold down the river with Nafta and other agreements,” another worker, Michael Spellman said.
“He’s doing what he said he would. He’s keeping promises, instead of lip service like every other politician,” Spellman continued.
Since 2001, free trade with China has cost millions of Americans their jobs. For example, in a report by the Economic Policy Institute, between 2001 and 2015, about 3.4 million U.S. jobs were lost due to the country’s trade deficit with China.
Of the 3.4 million U.S. jobs lost in that time period, about 2.6 million were lost in the crippled manufacturing industry, making up about three-fourths of the loss of jobs from the U.S.-Chinese trade deficit.