A Long, Long Personal Nucor Rant

Let’s start with some social injustice commentary. A Louisiana judge recently refused to issue a marriage license to a couple because one was black and one was white. His claim was the children would suffer because they were bi-racial, and he claims he’s turned couples down for this before. There was quite an outcry as one would rightly imagine. Jack Cafferty of CNN has an interesting column on it. Now, for the commentary I would direct you to the comments on his column. Most people are upset and calling for the judge’s head. A few are defending the state of Louisiana and saying not everyone there is like that. And, as one might guess, a few people are defending the guy. Which is sad, but makes for some wildly entertaining reading. My favourite comment is: It’s good of him to look out for those biracial children. You know how they turn out. Grow up go to Harvard and become the President of the United States.

The following post are my personal views and do not necessarily express those of my company.

I have written and asked for permission to post the whole article from American Metal Market, by Corinna Petry, but in the meantime here’s a small excerpt. Only registered, paid members can read the whole article.

CHICAGO — The U.S. Commerce Department has agreed to initiate anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on fasteners from China and Taiwan, based on petitions filed last month by Nucor Fastener. At least 19 American importers of fasteners from China and Taiwan-companies with operations in 14 states from Florida to Oregon have written letters to protest Nucor’s petition.

A letter from Interstate Screw Corp., Hialeah, Fla., argues that “first and foremost Nucor has made their claim against parts that they do not make, never made and cannot make. That is absurd. That would be like Ford Motor Co. filing a complaint against China for selling bicycles too cheap.” At most, Nucor’s claim should cover only the parts they actually make, the company said. Trade attorney Price claimed that “a foreign producer of fasteners contacted all the American importers and coached them to write these letters. This type of process taints the ability of the ITC to gather accurate data in the respondent questionnaires.” That’s a short excerpt, and Mr. Price’s statement leads one to believe specifically that our letter was written as a result of said contact from a foreign producer. First, the foreign producer sent letters to their customers, not “all the American importers” — that’s a disconnect of many thousands of companies. What he says is wrong. Period. It’s a lie. It is contrary to the facts. I can prove that and I will, but not to him. Here’s an excerpt from his statement in the Copies of this transcript, and indeed all the filings to date, are available by e-mailing me at my work address. I will gladly send them to anyone who writes and asks. Lots of large files (PDF and DOC). I sent Mister Price an email this morning. He wrote to the AMM people with a CC to me. It wasn’t an apology. It wasn’t even an acknowledgement his law firm is sloppier than Good Memphis BBQ. He’s in lawyer mode for sure. Because I am clearly a better man than he is, I won’t post his e-mail here. I have manners. But I can post parts of mine here.

Dear Mr Price: I am responding individually and not on behalf of my company. First, you’re absolutely right: I don’t like Nucor’s way of doing business, and if it makes you feel any better, I don’t like you either. I have lots of attorney friends and there’s those few that give the whole lot a bad name. That, sir, is you. How’s that for an opening? The bottom line is you made a 100% false claim in a national publication because you didn’t bother to check the facts. It speaks to the sloppy research your law firm conducted in the initial filing (you include foreign companies that make screws and you’re filing against and also include American companies that import you are claiming against.). Sloppy, inaccurate work. In the age of the Internet where you could have checked it all easily, that’s embarrassing to you and your company. The complaint you filed for Nucor on Wed 23 Sept is a direct attack on our industry and the jobs in our industry. A Nucor job is not worth any more than an Interstate job or any other job in our industry, though based on the filing, they certainly seem to feel that way. I was incensed by the filing which I received a copy from a US Citizen (A good ol’ southern boy to be exact) on Thursday 24 September. I wrote my letter over the weekend and sent it 29 September 2009. The UPS tracking number, sir, is 1Z3461291349894977, so I’m not quite sure where or when you think some foreign entity contacted me and had me write a letter. [The letter to which he refers is dated after my letter was.] Your implication that anyone other than myself had anything to do with my letter is absolutely insulting. You and the magazine were given a chance to apologize for the error. The magazine did and you didn’t. It speaks to your character, sir. A gentleman, sir, owns up to his mistakes and apologizes. The fact you didn’t speaks volumes. To be clear, when I found out about this absurd filing, I personally called my local competitors and let me tell you we don’t usually get along well — and solicited their thoughts. I also encouraged them to write in. I also emailed all of my affected overseas vendors to make sure they were aware of what Nucor was trying to do. Sincerely, Eric Seiden

PS: To the staff of AMM; I appreciate your absolute professionalism and courteousness throughout this matter. I have nothing else to say to Mr Price, but since he sent this to all of you, I thought it best that I do the same. Our company will also have a formal response to Mr Price, but that will be delivered to the ITC and USDOC prior to their decision. Mr. Price is a piece of work. Personally, I’m done with him unless he provokes me further. As a corporation, a very professional letter providing facts will be delivered to the people involved in this proceeding. It’s important they know what sort of person Mr. Price is. They are relying on the testimony of a man who shown he has little regard for fact checking. His statements and documentation prove that. Sloppy and lazy through and through. I’m glad Nucor’s hired him: they deserve each other. Mr. Price is fighting for his share of the nearly one million dollars Nucor’s paying his firm (http://tinyurl.com/ygnrdsc <– see a fact check, Mister Price) where as I am fighting for the jobs of my employees, my colleagues, and, of course, the future of our company. Mr. Price points out that (A) he reads my blog and (B) I’ve got it in for Nucor. I dislike Nucor. I’ve said that repeatedly. I’ve made no effort to hide that, though he seems to think I have. He doesn’t know me well enough to know, if I don’t like someone, I don’t make an effort to hide it. However, this fight is, specifically, against the unwarranted petition Nucor filed. If I loved them to death, I’d still have filed the same exact objection. I suppose that large sum of money has clouded Mr. Price’s ability to deal with logic and common sense. Business is business and my job as a business owner is to protect my business and my employees. My personal feelings aren’t what makes a decision, but if I get to feel a little better as a side bonus, good for me. I do business every day with people I don’t like — including one of Nucor’s principal opponents in this matter.

Barry Porteous is one of my least favourite people in the industry because he’s a hypocrite, but we buy from his company in spite of it, because my job is to run my business regardless of my personal feelings — and whatever I think of him, PFC is a good vendor most of the time. That, Mister Price, they don’t teach in Law School. It’s how one was brought up: it’s called doing the right thing. I am just ever so pleased you told me you read my blog because I am this. Lastly, the letter from IFI Morgan, it amuses me. A number of those words are my words in the letter I sent to them (and other vendors). They added and changed some things and sent it out to their customers. Why? They’re defending their business as any good business owner would. Good for them.

I will go on with my life and after my final corporate objection, I’m done. Until the NIFS/West show where Nucor will have a booth. Where I will very likely give them a piece of my mind. I can’t believe they’re dumb enough to actually show up at a show full of people who will be fresh off the decision of the ITC. They’re asking for the large number of lectures they are sure to get. Formal boycotts are still legal as a means of protest. Boy, this could be fun. And judging by the number of people I’ve spoken to, I bet it would cost them far more business than they could ever hope to gain. I’ll have to think about that because I have to do that as an individual. Special thanks to my various friends who are attorneys who helped me with the Nucor posts. There are good attorneys, friendly attorneys, and even average attorneys. But, you know, there’s one in every group. World’s a big place and I don’t have to like everyone in it. But I’m thinking this guy and Michael Yormark would get along great. I should put them in touch.

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