Remove Veil of Secrecy in U.S. Steel Case: Steelworkers

TORONTO, Jan. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) is hailing today's Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that allows a bankruptcy court judge to consider releasing a secret deal struck by U.S. Steel and the Canadian government.

"It is in the interests of thousands of working families, pensioners and their communities that this veil of secrecy finally be lifted," said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director.

"Those who are directly affected, whose jobs, pensions and benefits are at risk, deserve a fair, open and transparent process," Warren said.

Last year, Superior Court Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel, overseeing U.S. Steel Canada's bankruptcy protection case, ruled the Investment Canada Act prevented him from producing the secret deal between U.S. Steel, U.S. Steel Canada and the federal government.

The USW, along with a group of retirees and other stakeholders appealed the decision and today the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the Investment Canada Act does not prohibit Justice Wilton-Siegel from producing the secret deal.

The judge in the bankruptcy case can now determine whether the secret deal can be released under terms of common settlement law, the appeal court ruled.

"Access to the terms of this secret deal is crucial to protect the rights and interests of workers and pensioners whose futures are at stake in this process," said USW Local 1005 President Gary Howe, representing workers and pensioners from U.S. Steel Canada's Hamilton operations.

"We're the key stakeholders. We're the ones who have everything to lose. We believe Justice Wilton-Siegel should now do the right thing and order the secret deal be produced and make sure that it can be seen by the public," said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782, representing workers and pensioners from U.S. Steel Canada's Nanticoke operations.

"It's an offence to vulnerable working families and pensioners that the previous Conservative government sided with U.S. Steel in court to try to block the release of this secret deal," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"We expect that the new Liberal government will stand up for workers and pensioners and actively petition the court to end the secrecy and release these documents," Neumann said.

Steelworkers and supporters from across Ontario and beyond will be rallying this Saturday in Hamilton to call for government support for Canada's steel industry. Saturday's rally begins at 1 p.m. at Hamilton City Hall, 71 Main St. W.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Tony DePaulo, Assistant to USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, 905-869-0760, tdepaulo@usw.ca; Gary Howe, President, USW Local 1005, 905-531-4078, gary.howe@uswa1005.ca; Bill Ferguson, President, USW Local 8782, 905-537-8782, president@uswa8782.com; Rob Healey, USW Canadian Counsel, 416-544-5986, rhealey@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434 2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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