Steelworkers demand Clement step in as U.S. Steel defies Feds and locks out its employees

    NANTICOKE, ON, Aug. 4 /CNW/ - In a stunning show of contempt for its
workers, the federal government and Industry Minister Tony Clement, U.S. Steel
has locked out its Lake Erie Works employees.
    Only weeks after Minister Clement followed Canadian production and
employment cuts with the unusual step of taking U.S. Steel to court for
failing to live up to its commitments under the Investment Canada Act, US
Steel has now raised the stakes.
    "We see this action by US Steel as a clear violation of its written
undertakings to maintain employment and production levels under Investment
Canada Act. For US Steel to lock out the union's members at a time when it is
already on notice that the government thinks it has broken its promises makes
these recent events even more indefensible," said Tony DePaulo, United
Steelworkers Area Co-ordinator. "In light of this, we are calling on Clement
to urgently expedite the government's request to the Federal Court of Canada
to order U.S. Steel to resume steel production and put its employees back to
    "We now have almost a thousand workers laid off or locked out by U.S.
Steel. This is an act of defiance towards claims that it should be held
accountable for its promises to the Canadian government," said Wayne Fraser,
District 6 Director for USW.
    "We call on Minister Clement to immediately intervene and stop this
flagrant contempt of US Steel's responsibilities to be a "net benefit" to
Canada," insisted DePaulo.
    Last night after 7p.m. U.S. Steel locked out the remaining 150 workers at
its Nanticoke plant. About 800 workers have already been laid off from the
Nanticoke plant, which was temporarily shut down by U.S. Steel in March, along
with its Hamilton works. It was this March action that prompted the federal
government to disclose that US Steel had signed an agreement regarding output
and employment when it bought the former Stelco in 2007. Employees at the
Hamilton mill, which operates under a separate collective agreement expiring
in 2010, have been recalled to work in recent weeks.
    After negotiating throughout the weekend, the company simply locked the
workers out declaring "substantial disagreement on a number of issues,
necessitating our lockout decision."
    It is interesting to note that this behaviour by US Steel is happening
during a time of growing consensus among Canadians that foreign companies that
take over Canadian firms must be held to the "net benefit to Canada" principle
and made to keep its performance promises.
    In a recent online panel, nearly all 127 CEOs from small, medium, and
large corporations agreed: "It is an excellent decision to require foreign
companies to abide by their undertakings when buying important Canadian
    The United Steelworkers are also attempting to become interveners in the
federal government's case against US Steel.

For further information:

For further information: Bob Gallagher, (416) 544-5966; Tony DePaulo,
(905) 869-0760

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