DECEMBER 12, 2011 | MEDIA RELEASE
TORONTO – The Conservative government has betrayed working families in Hamilton and Nanticoke by dropping its court case against U.S. Steel despite the company’s clear violations of federal law.
“This is an outrage,” said Ken Neumann, Canadian director of the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents the unionized workforce at U.S. Steel operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke.
“Instead of upholding a legally binding agreement, the Conservatives have become party to a foreign corporation breaking commitments to Canadian families and communities,” Neumann said.
Multiple court rulings – including last month’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada – confirmed the government had a legitimate case against U.S. Steel for violating the commitments it made under the Investment Canada Act.
“The Canadian government allowed U.S. Steel to buy Stelco based on binding commitments, including maintaining 3,105 workers and producing more than 13 million tons of steel,” said Wayne Fraser, the USW’s director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
“Instead, U.S. Steel – now with the full sanction of the Conservative government – has drastically cut jobs and production in Canada,” Fraser said.
“Our government had a clear-cut case against U.S. Steel,” said Rolf Gerstenberger, president of USW Local 1005, which represents U.S. Steel‘s Hamilton workers.
“It’s appalling that the Conservatives have joined U.S. Steel and walked away from the legally binding commitments to Canadian workers and communities,” Gerstenberger said.
“We are shocked that our government has cut this secret deal, without even the decency of consulting those who are most affected,” said Bill Ferguson, president of USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke.
“Our communities and our working families – particularly those whose jobs have disappeared – have been abandoned by U.S. Steel, and now our own government,” Ferguson said.
The Conservative government’s secret deal with U.S. Steel means that other parties involved in the court case – including the USW and its members – have been deprived of their rights to demand compliance with the law and to claim damages.
“The settlement reached in this secret deal is a drop in the bucket compared to the real damage caused by U.S. Steel and our complicit government,” Fraser said.
“Now that they have a majority government, the Conservatives have clearly demonstrated they do not care about defending Canadian workers, or upholding the law, or about transparency and accountability to the public.”
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Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5950
Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, 416-577-4045
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, 416-544-5966