Statement on U.S. tariffs to aluminum and steel and threats to good jobs and Canada’s economy


Statement on U.S. tariffs to aluminum and steel and threats to good jobs and Canada’s economy

I write today in support of the thousands of Unifor members working in the steel and aluminum sectors, including 1,000 at Rio Tinto in British Columbia and 3,000 aluminum workers in Quebec, our 40,000 auto sector members and all the workers across Canada who depend on these good union jobs and industries for their livelihood.

The American government has announced that it will impose steep tariffs on the import of steel and aluminum into the U.S. but has yet to indicate if Canada will receive an exemption or be hit by these punishing duties.

Make no mistake, if America imposes duties on steel and aluminum and Canada doesn’t walk away from NAFTA immediately then we will no longer be negotiating, we’ll be capitulating to Trump.

The proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum will have a devastating effect on jobs in several key industries, local regions across Canada and it will also directly impact the cost of items from cars to canned food. Ontario is a major supplier of steel and automobiles and Quebec a key supplier of aluminum, with Canada as the largest exporter of both to the States.

Unifor is calling on the federal government to take immediate action to ensure that Canada is not subject to these punitive tariffs.

Our union remains committed to fight against the implementation of these tariffs or any other unjust measures designed to pit worker against worker.

Today I am with Quebec Director Renaud Gagné in Mexico City where Round 7 of NAFTA talks are currently underway. Together we will bring the message that if Canada fails to obtain an exemption from punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum exports to U.S. then the Canadian government has no choice but to withdraw from NAFTA renegotiations.

You can read Unifor’s full media release on the tariff threat here. Please see the attached letter sent to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL–CIO.

For more information visit

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias – National President