The United Steelworkers union is upset after a Newsweek magazine report that Donald Trump used Chinese steel and aluminum in recent construction projects, and has launched a campaign to encourage its members to vote against the Republican presidential candidate.

The report by investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald found that Trump used Chinese-made steel for the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas that was purchased through a holding company registered in the British Virgin Islands and that he bought Chinese aluminum for the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

The Trump campaign did not respond to either Newsweek or the Times of Northwest Indiana requests for comment.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard said Trump was “hypocritical” and “fundamentally dishonest” on trade issues at a time when 19,000 steelworkers have gotten layoff notices because of cheap imports.

“Trump desperately tries to appeal to Midwestern working class voters with promises to stand up for American workers and bring manufacturing jobs back to Ohio and Pennsylvania,” Gerard said. “But he sold out those very workers, their families and communities to save a few dollars on cheap building materials from Shanghai and Guang-Dong.”

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The USW endorsed Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton back in June, well before the time she was selected as the Democrats’ candidate at their national convention.

The union, which has been campaigning against Chinese imports for years, is now telling members about the foreign steel Trump bought.

“How can he make America great if he refuses to make anything in America?” Gerard said.

On the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly promised to revive the steel industry, such as by imposing tariffs of up to 45 percent on anything from China, though the U.S. does already have tariffs of more than 500 percent against some Chinese steel producers in place. He has repeatedly pledged to “beat China.”

“The USW, though not surprised by Trump’s actions, is furious over his efforts to undercut key American manufacturing jobs in the construction of his buildings he so often brags about,” Gerard said.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.