TORONTO—The United Steelworkers (USW) union is pointing the finer of blame at U.S. Steel Corp. and the federal government after the company announced the closure of its Hamilton, Ont., operations.
The union’s national director called the closure of the Hamilton Works steelmaking facility “a letdown for all Canadians,” and said the federal government didn’t do enough to force the American steel giant to maintain operations in the city.
“All Canadians should be worried about our federal government’s lack of action on massive steel imports while letting our homegrown industry wither and die,” Ken Neumann said in a statement about the closure.
Acquired by U.S. Steel when it bought one of Canada’s largest steelamker’s, Stelco, in 2007, the Hamilton plant has been idle since 2010.
Citing commitments made when it bought Stelco, the USW said U.S. Steel “broke its promises,” and claims the government could have done more to force the firm’s hand.
“U.S. Steel had committed to a level of steel production and jobs in Canada—commitments it never kept,” said Neumann.
The federal government took U.S. Steel to court in 2009 for reneging on legally binding commitments made under the Investment Canada Act, but negotiated a settlement with the company out of court.
“The federal government knows U.S. Steel broke its promises,” Neumann said. “The federal government took legal action, but then backed down and settled out of court in 2011 in a scandalous betrayal of Canadian interests.”
U.S. Steel operates another plant in Nanticoke, Ont.