Closure and investments at Arcelor Mittal in Contrecoeur



    Optimism and caution on the part of Steelworkers

    MONTREAL, Dec. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Arcelor Mittal company has just
announced its intention of building a beam mill at Contrecoeur at a cost of
$380 million and, at the same time, of closing the hot mill on January 31 and
the cold mill on February 29. "We are pleased to see that the 450 layoffs that
have been announced, which is considerable given that there are 1000 workers
in this plant, could be partially offset by the building of another plant
which would employ 200 workers by 2010. This steel beam mill would be the only
one in Canada. At first glance, it is an interesting proposition. We will
analyze the impacts of these decisions and determine, with our members, what
strategy to adopt to take care of those who may be affected," said Daniel Roy,
Director for Québec, United Steelworkers (FTQ).
    The Assistant Director, Guy Farrell, continued by saying that it was
clear that the absence of modernization was a sign of layoffs or a closure in
the medium or long term. "Our international union and the Québec wing have
pulled out all the stops to force this company to reinvest. We are pleased to
see that there is a concrete project on the table. In the meantime, we will do
everything possible to minimize the negative effects generated by the
layoffs."
    Staff Representative Frank Beaudin also feels that the investment is good
news that will mitigate the negative impacts of the closure of two
departments. However, he remains cautious. "The IOC mining company promised to
reopen an iron pellet plant on the North Shore," he pointed out. "It even
invested $200 million. When it was bought out by Rio Tinto, everything came to
a halt. The Arcelor Mittal project seems much more solid. We hope it is,
because it would not only enable many workers to earn a living, but would also
enable Québec to make a go of it in the super-competitive global steel
market."
    The presidents of locals 6586 and 8060, Normand Deslauriers and Patrice
Lemay, reacted by stressing that all of these changes also have a human story
attached to them. "We're going to meet with our members," they say, "and we'll
decide with them what actions to undertake for the next chapter."
    The United Steelworkers (FTQ) will investigate all avenues to help its
members, including retirement and transfers to the company's other plants in
Québec.




For further information:

For further information: Daniel Roy, United Steelworkers (FTQ), (514)
293-9229; Guy Farrell, United Steelworkers (FTQ), (514) 949-5139; Frank
Beaudin, United Steelworkers (FTQ), (514) 730-3782


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