TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The president of the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union is once again calling on the Wynne government
to develop a "real industrial strategy" for the province following the
announcement yesterday that U.S. Steel will no longer make steel at its
"A successful economy is an economy that makes things, and few products
are more fundamental to industrial success than steel," Warren (Smokey)
Thomas said. "U.S. Steel, like every other corporation in this
province, has benefited enormously from our skilled Ontario workforce,
our public health care system, our legal system, and our physical
infrastructure. Government needs to hold the company accountable and
take a hands-on approach to keeping steel production in Ontario."
Thomas said the announcement and the accompanying job losses are part of
a larger trend that is shrinking the middle class as low-wage work
proliferates and corporate profits soar. The problem is particularly
acute in Hamilton, according to a report last week from the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.
The richest one per cent of the population in the Hamilton area has
seen real incomes grow by 47 per cent since 1982. That compares to just
two per cent growth for those in the bottom 90 per cent over the
"There's no question that deindustrialization is increasing income
inequality," Thomas said. "We stand in strong support of our friends in
the United Steelworkers in their fight to maintain middle-class incomes
for Ontarians by keeping industry here."
Canada remains a major producer of iron ore and other steel-making
minerals but the lack of an industrial strategy to process them here
means that the lion's share of the economic benefits from those
minerals will go to other jurisdictions, Thomas noted.
"Governments must not stand idly by while deindustrialization happens,"
he said. "When a community makes a product for a century, and when
demand for that product is rising steadily, there is no reason why we
cannot continue to produce it here.
"Few countries in the world take the laissez-faire approach to industry
that governments in Canada do," he said. "That has to change or we are
going nowhere fast."
For further information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931