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Efforts to Save Hamilton Specialty Bar Fall Short

HAMILTON – Last-ditch efforts by the United Steelworkers (USW) and supporters including Hamilton city council have failed to save the century-old Hamilton Specialty Bar (HSB) from liquidation.

“We were unable to get a buyer to continue operating the plant,” said Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW Ontario Director of the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents more than 200 HSB employees.

“We did everything we could, and city council offered to help as well, but in the end there was no viable offer to buy the plant and prevent the liquidation,” DePaulo said.

“It’s devastating for all the employees and pensioners who are affected. It’s hard to accept because it could have been avoided. If it wasn’t for mismanagement and secrecy by the previous ownership, this plant could still be open.”

HSB workers were surprised to learn in early January that the steel mill was in receivership and facing the possibility of closing. In March, a Superior Court judge approved a motion from a court-appointed receiver that HSB be sold to a company that planned to liquidate the plant’s assets.

“It didn’t have to come to this,” said Mickey Mercanti, President of USW Local 4752 representing HSB workers.

“We have a good workforce here, making very good product. The ownership weren’t forthright with us. They didn’t tell us what was happening for over a year, when they were apparently trying to sell the place,” Mercanti said.

“Instead of being upfront and working with us, they tried to give the impression that everything was fine. Then one day we find out the place is in receivership and they’ve got no money.”

HSB is an electric-arc mill that melted its own steel and manufactured products such as ingots and round bars, mostly for the automotive industry.

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For further information:

Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, 905-869-0760, tdepaulo@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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