TORONTO - In a letter to federal Industry Minister Tony Clement, the United Steelworkers (USW) wants to know what steps the Canadian government has taken to require U.S. Steel to fulfil the commitments it made when its takeover of the former Stelco operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ontario, were approved by the Harper government under the Investment Canada Act.
"When U.S. Steel shocked our members at these plants earlier this month by announcing the indefinite closure of almost all its Canadian operations, you said publicly that you expected the company to live up to its 'contractual undertaking with the government of Canada, with the people of Canada'," said USW National Director for Canada Ken Neumann.
The USW made two specific requests to the minister, one an urgent meeting with the minister and second that the government produce a full public report on the U.S. Steel deal.
"The Steelworkers' union and the people of Hamilton and surrounding regions, whose lives are being disrupted and whose livelihoods are threatened, at least deserve to know what was promised," said Neumann.
The USW's long-held position is that the provisions of the Investment Canada Act are much too weak and its enforcement by government weaker still. Among the many problems are the lack of transparency surrounding the commitments made by companies acquiring Canadian firms and the government's action or inaction in following up on those commitments.
"Here is a case where those deficiencies are causing enormous harm to our union's members and to the communities of Hamilton and Haldimand County. Neither you nor the company has disclosed what promises U.S. Steel made to win approval. If your government was acting in the public interest, you would have insisted on some level of commitment to jobs and production in Canada. Perhaps this happened, and now vigorous enforcement action is in order," Neumann said in the letter.
/For further information: Ken Neumann, (416) 487-1571, (416) 558-2510; Peter D. Birt (USW Communications), (416) 544-5966/