New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Has Another Opportunity to Strengthen Buy American

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Aug 24 2022 |
A state transportation vehicle salts the road during a February winter storm in western New York. Getty Images

The Buy American Salt Act would be a big step forward in strengthening the state’s Buy American preferences.

New York long has been a leader when it comes to Buy American policy, and now the Empire State has another big opportunity to support local workers, manufacturers, and communities.

The state legislature recently passed the Buy American Salt Act, which would give preference to salt that’s mined and produced in the United States when the government buys salt that is used to treat roadways during winter weather. Now it’s up to Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign it.

The legislation is crucial because salt from countries like Egypt and Chile is being dumped into the United States at artificially low prices. Not only is that putting American jobs and businesses at risk, but it’s also a risk to our security — what happens if the state finds itself unable to produce the salt it needs in a blizzard?

The good news is that there already are New York workers and businesses ready to do this work, as the state’s salt mines produce 7 million tons of salt every year. Notably, the state is home to American Rock Salt, the largest operating salt mine in the country. That mine is also represented by the United Steelworkers, providing good pay and benefits for 280 workers.

Unfortunately, workers at American Rock Salt already know the consequences of what happens when taxpayer money is spent on salt produced abroad rather than in the Empire State. American Rock Salt employees Shane Chiappone, Greg Tucker, and James Leach (who are all members of USW Local 763) wrote to Alliance for American Manufacturing supporters in New York on Wednesday:

Back in 2017, American Rock Salt lost a contract with Erie County for a year’s worth of salt to a company from Canada. Twelve of our coworkers lost their jobs.

It’s infuriating, especially since we were ready to do the work at a competitive price!

The Buy American Salt Act will level the playing field for America’s salt miners. It will give U.S. companies and workers the first shot at these government contracts, ensuring taxpayer dollars are reinvested back into our communities instead of being sent overseas.

Reinvesting taxpayer money into workers like Shane, Greg, and James just makes sense. Not only would the Buy American Salt Act support well-paid jobs like theirs, but it would help support communities like Mount Morris, N.Y., where the mine is located. Why send tax money overseas when there are workers and companies ready and willing to do this work at a fair price?

Gov. Hochul is a past supporter of Buy American, and the state’s salt miners and workers are now counting on her to stand up for them. You can help, too! If you live in New York, tell Gov. Hochul to sign the Buy American Salt Act.