As President, I Will Stand With United Steelworkers and Oppose Nippon Deal
On December 18, 2023, Nippon Steel announced that they had reached an agreement with US Steel management to acquire the 122-year-old steel maker and iconic symbol of American industrial strength for $55 a share or $14.9B. The United Steelworkers of America, who are affected most by this deal, were denied a seat at the table during negotiations with Nippon and are adamantly opposed to the sale. RFK Jr.’s Policies + PoliticsRead More
On December 18, 2023, Nippon Steel announced that they had reached an agreement with US Steel management to acquire the 122-year-old steel maker and iconic symbol of American industrial strength for $55 a share or $14.9B.
The United Steelworkers of America, who are affected most by this deal, were denied a seat at the table during negotiations with Nippon and are adamantly opposed to the sale.
Because Nippon is a foreign company and the steel industry has importance for national security, the deal requires approval of the CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) chaired by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
The sale has been met with bipartisan opposition, which includes Republican Senators JD Vance, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley and Democrat Senators Sherrod Brown, John Fetterman, and Joe Manchin. Due to pressure exerted by the Steelworkers the White House has said “the deal merits serious scrutiny.”
It is my view that this sale requires much more than “serious scrutiny.” It requires vigorous and unambiguous opposition for a number of reasons:
First, the board and management of US Steel essentially auctioned off the company to the highest bidder for the sole purpose of aggrandizing shareholders equity at the expense of the Steelworkers.
Second, the deal was struck behind closed doors without the participation of the United Steelworkers of America. This is a direct violation of the US Steel-USW Basic Labor Agreement which allows the union itself to bid for the company or assign their right to bid to another bidder.
Finally, the Steelworkers union has expressed grave concern over the sale of a storied Industrial asset vital to national security. This should concern all Americans as well.
In an age of globalization, there are certain industries that must remain domestic if a country is to have an industrial base at all. Steel is one of those. Just as a country would not (or should not) allow foreigners to own all its farmland, neither should it allow them to own a vast portion of its steel industry.
In September 1960, my Uncle, President John F. Kennedy, addressed the United Steelworkers of America Convention in Atlantic City. His remarks quoting a former President were profound:
“All that serves labor serves the nation and all that harms labor is treason to America. No line can be drawn between the two”
President Kennedy wasn’t quoting FDR or Harry Truman; those were the words of Abraham Lincoln.
A Kennedy administration will stand with the Steelworkers Union in opposing this transaction. We will put the interests of labor and the country first for as President Lincoln said “no line can be drawn between the two.”
Originally published by Newsweek.