Harper Conservatives Enable U.S. Steel's Latest Blow to Canada

TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) union is committed to defending the interests of its members and pensioners affected by U.S. Steel Canada's application for bankruptcy protection.

"We are extremely concerned about these developments and we intend to do everything we can to protect our retirees and our members," USW National Director Ken Neumann said following today's filing by U.S. Steel under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

"Once again U.S. Steel has left thousands of families and entire communities in limbo. They will have to endure a long and complex court process," Neumann said. "We will work together with other stakeholders to seek the best outcome for our members and retirees."

"We will demand that U.S. Steel is held to its obligations," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"We remain alarmed by the refusal of U.S. Steel and the federal Conservative government to disclose the terms of their agreement under the Investment Canada Act by which the government approved U.S. Steel's purchase of Stelco," Warren said.

"We again call for disclosure of those terms and all other material relevant to the financial situation of U.S. Steel. We're very concerned about issues such as the apparent mismanagement of U.S. Steel's pension obligations," he said.

Since its arrival in Canada, U.S. Steel has instigated unprecedented labour strife - three lockouts in four years - and broken legal commitments on jobs, production and investment.

Stephen Harper's Conservative government bears responsibility for the hardship U.S. Steel continues to inflict on Canadian communities, Neumann said.

"For six years and counting, the Conservatives have refused to hold U.S. Steel accountable for its string of broken commitments," he said.

"The Harper government has shown a breathtaking indifference to Canadian workers, pensioners and families who have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result."

Rather than hold U.S. Steel accountable for breaking its binding commitments on jobs and production, the Conservatives shut down legal proceedings against the company in 2011 and signed a secret, out-of-court settlement containing new promises.

"The Conservatives publicly boasted that their second secret agreement with U.S. Steel was even better for workers and their families. They bragged that this new deal was 'encouraging investment and employment in Canada,' " said Warren.

"In reality, the Harper government has tacitly condoned U.S. Steel's behaviour and abandoned thousands of Canadian workers and pensioners who must face the consequences."

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792 
Ken Rosenberg, counsel to USW, 416-646-4304, ken.rosenberg@paliareroland.com
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca


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