TORONTO—The United Steelworkers is asking the Ontario Superior Court to open a secret deal between the federal government and U.S. Steel Canada.
The secret deal was struck in 2011 when the Conservative government dropped its legal challenge of U.S. Steel’s broken commitments on production and employment levels at the former Stelco operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke.
The union says it is crucial that terms are provided to key parties affected by U.S. Steel Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act court case, the USW will argue in Superior Court today.
The Steelworkers union and the City of Hamilton have filed a joint motion in Superior Court, asking Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel to open the secret deal.
The union and the city require disclosure of the settlement agreement at this time to be able to participate meaningfully and effectively in the negotiations and discussions that are currently underway.
“They need to be able to review and understand the obligations of (U.S. Steel) under the settlement agreement to ensure that all rights and obligations owed by the parties and in particular, by U.S. Steel, have been or will be fulfilled. They also need to understand how the settlement agreement will be considered in the restructuring negotiations and how U.S. Steel intends to address its obligations under the settlement agreement in a plan of compromise. USS’s obligations could also affect damages claims,” the motion states.
It is offensive that the federal government has decided to argue in court against the release of the secret agreement, said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782, representing employees at U.S. Steel’s Nanticoke operations.
“We need to know how the terms of this deal could affect this CCAA case and how it could affect the lives of our workers, our pensioners and our communities,” said Ferguson.
“Our members and our community don’t trust U.S. Steel or this government to do what’s best for workers and pensioners,” said Gary Howe, incoming President of USW Local 1005, representing employees at U.S. Steel’s Hamilton operations.
“It is clear that we deserve compensation, which at the very least is a fully funded pension plan, post-employment benefits and guaranteed jobs in Hamilton,” Howe said. “Our retirees deserve to live in dignity and not have to worry that what they earned will be swindled from them. The best way to ensure that is to start making steel again at our Hamilton plant.”