CASM adds 75 associate companies, gains support of USW union to stop “unfair” solar practices

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The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) advised that it had welcomed 75 employers, which had officially registered their support for the group. Additionally, CASM announced that it has gained the support of the largest union in the US – the Union Steelworkers (USW), which boasts over 850,000 active members. CASM is made up of seven US domestic solar manufacturers that support the antidumping and countervailing duty cases that SolarWorld filed with the US government last month.

CASM decided to begin to offer its associate membership in response to employers that sought for a way to help the coalition. Barry Shear, president of Eagle Point Solar in Iowa, is one such member who shared why he had joined CASM, stating, “It is imperative that US manufacturers of solar and countless other products compete in a fair world marketplace. Solar Manufacturing is critical to the 21st century US manufacturing base.”

USW showed its CASM support with a letter to the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC). Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers, commented in his letter, “Unfortunately, China continues to operate in a manner that is utterly inconsistent with its WTO obligations, which comes at the expense of developing our nation’s clean energy sector and creating and sustaining clean energy jobs for American workers. We urge you to vigorously apply and enforce our trade laws in these solar cases so that American workers and domestic industries can have a fair chance to compete in the US market.”

CASM advised that the next step in the process is an ITC staff hearing taking place on November 8. The Commerce Department is expected to reveal on November 9 whether it will begin investigations, which will take about 12 months to complete.

“Manufacturing is the fuel that drives our economic engine,” said Gordon Brinser, US president of SolarWorld, the leader of CASM and the named petitioner in the case. “Members of the Steelworkers Union understand that the key to American economic growth is healthy competition. Their support for U.S. trade actions that keep quality, high-paying jobs in America and allow American companies to compete fairly in the global marketplace is greatly appreciated.”

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