August 17, 2022

Thousands of Texas workers just begged Trump to stop his reckless trade wars

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Donald Trump sold himself on the campaign trail with promises of jobs and as a champion of the working man, although it has been hard to see that in action since he took office.


Now one company deep in the heart of very red Texas wants to give Trump a chance to redeem himself by exempting them from the new Trump steel import tariff in order to save jobs and maybe the company itself.

Workers, their wives, and children at Borusan Mannesmann’s Baytown plant which manufactures steel pipes for the petrochemical industry with steel made by its parent company in Turkey have sent the White House and other influential members of government more than 4,500 postcards asking for an exemption to the tariffs.

The postcards which have also gone to the Governor of Texas and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz have a group photo of workers at the plant on the back.

The plant which has about 264 employees can get a $25 million investment if it gets an exemption, a company press representative told The Hill.

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The money is to expand the plant but the announcement of Trump’s tariffs has put the planned growth into jeopardy.

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The company estimates Trump’s tariffs will cost it an extra $25 million to $30 million per year.

The deal they are pitching is that if the plant is built, in two years, they will no longer have to import from Turkey, and another 170 people will be employed.

On the postcards, the workers make their heartfelt plea:

“We ask for your help to obtain a short-term exemption from Section 232,: the postcards to Trump say, “so we can unlock an investment in a $75 million steel pipe mill, increase our U.S. production of (oil country tubular goods), and add 170 new jobs in Baytown which currently suffers from a 10 percent unemployment rate.”

Along with the message, cards are customized, sometimes with colorful drawings from the children of the workers with added pleas like, “Please help our dads!”

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“There’s 12,000 requests so far for exemption and only four companies have said they’re going to invest anything back in the U.S. we’re one of those four,” Joel Johnson, CEO of the company, told CW39, a TV station in Houston.

“When I got those statistics,” added Johnson, “that puts me in a pretty optimistic outlook of this we just need to get somebody to hear our voice,” said Johnson.

No word from the White House yet on whether they will consider the Baytown request but somehow it seems doubtful unless it can be staged as a publicity bonanza for the president.

Of course, he did photo ops at the Carrier plant he said he saved when he first took office – and now all of those workers have watched their jobs go to Mexico or other states.

So the workers in Baytown probably should not count on the president showing he has a heart just because they represent exactly the kind of Americans he promised to help 

Just file this under another of the thousands of lies and broken promises Trump has made.

Now if they were billionaires, and had a team of high powered lobbyist, it might be different.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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