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Pittsburgh U.S. Steel worker attends joint session of Congress: "My presence being here sends volumes"

U.S. Steel worker attends joint session of Congress
U.S. Steel worker attends joint session of Congress 02:30

WASHINGTON (KDKA) - A Penn Hills man who works for U.S. Steel got the chance to see and hear Japan's prime minister speak to Congress during a joint session Thursday. It came amid bipartisan concerns about the proposed takeover of U.S. Steel by Japan's largest steelmaker.

Rob Jones is an operating technician 1 for U.S. Steel on the Mon Valley. However, on Thursday he was in Washington D.C. as a guest of Representative Chris Deluzio.

"My presence being here sends volumes," Jones said. "For them to even bring a member rank and file down is an amazing process."

He got invited two weeks ago by Deluzio to hear Japan's prime minister address a joint session of Congress during his visit to the U.S. Jones would be there to represent his brothers and sisters who work in the mills, at a time when Japanese company, Nippon Steel, could soon be buying U.S. Steel.

"I don't think that we ought to be allowing the Japanese to come in and just own a company outright," Jones said.

It's a deal President Biden publicly questioned last month. Deluzio, along with fellow Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman have also voiced their opposition towards the proposed $15-billion sale, citing the need to protect more union jobs.

As a part of the agreement, U.S. Steel would keep its name and headquarters in Pittsburgh, but it worries Jones when it comes to national security and the military.

"If our country needed us to make certain material, we need to be available to make that material," Jones said.

At the same time, the current contract ends in 2026, and as of now, he and others have only been told their jobs are intact until then.

"Most of us, you know are looking at it like we're common guys, you know, we're looking at like, what about after 2026? What happens then?" Jones said.

Even if he doesn't get to talk to the prime minister, he appreciates the chance to be there in person.

"It shows that our union and our congressmen are behind us 100 percent," Jones said.

On top of lawmakers' concerns, according to Politico the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an antitrust investigation into the potential sale of U.S. Steel to the Japanese company. 

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