Thank You To Everyone
From The Executive Of USW Local 1005
INFORMATION UPDATE #40 December 5, 2013
City Council’s Steel Committee Talks to Stelco Workers
On November 28, the Co-chair of Hamilton City Council’s Steel Committee, Councillor Sam Merulla, attended Local 1005’s Thursday Meeting. He participated at the request of President Rolf Gerstenberger to address the meeting and to listen to the concerns of the workers and retirees regarding U.S. Steel’s announcement that the blast furnace and steelmaking will not be starting up. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #39 November 28, 2013
Local 1005 USW Attends OFL Convention
A Local 1005 USW delegation led by President Rolf Gerstenberger along with Max Aicher North America (MANA) Unit Chair Tim Blackborow were at the OFL Convention this week. Many delegates were eager to talk to us about U.S. Steel’s announced closure of steel-making in Canada and the refusal of both the federal and provincial governments to protect Canadian industry. Workers from all sectors of the economy are also upset about the closure of the Heinz factory in Leamington. They are particularly upset about the excuses the federal and provincial governments use to justify doing nothing. They say they cannot intervene in private business decisions when clearly they give out a lot of public money to various powerful monopolies as well as to privatize the delivery of public services. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #38 November 21, 2013
The Government Has the Responsibility to Defend the People of Ontario
Keep Stelco Producing!
On Saturday, November 16, steelworkers demonstrated in front of the constituency office of David Sweet, MP for Ancaster - Dundas - Flamborough - Westdale following which we distributed Information Update to the people of Dundas many of whose lives are tied with our own.
Since 2010, Sweet has been Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology which seems to be totally ineffective and carry out no social responsibilities whatsoever despite the wrecking of manufacturing Canada-wide. This is unacceptable. Given the growing need to defend the Hamilton region and Ontario from the wrecking of manufacturing and the theft of pensions sweeping the province we demand better. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #37 November 14, 2013
Voices Raised Over U.S. Steel’s Attack Against Hamilton
Many voices are condemning U.S. Steel’s unilateral action to shut down steelmaking permanently at Hilton Works. Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina said, “My first concern is for the security of U.S. Steel employees and their pensioners (in Hamilton).”
Hamilton City Council steel committee met in an urgent session on November 7 to discuss the matter. Members of the committee Sam Merulla, Scott Duvall, Terry Whitehead and Bernie Morelli all expressed their profound concern for steelworkers, pensioners and the city’s economy.
Councillor Scott Duvall, the committee’s chair said, “I think the main focus here is what this can do to our city.” read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #36 November 7, 2013
Catch Me If You Can
The latest announcement from US Steel that they are to permanently shut down Steelmaking in Hamilton is another example of their arrogance towards Canada as a whole. On July17th 2009, the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Industry, commenced legal proceedings against United States Steel Corporation (“US Steel”), alleging that it failed to honour certain commitments given in connection with preserving jobs and production levels in Canada. The commitments – referred to as undertakings under Canada’s Investment Act – were given by US Steel to secure the approval of the government for its 2007 takeover of Stelco Inc., which operated steel-making facilities in Ontario. They claimed they had done nothing wrong legally as they have the right to run their business as they see fit regardless of the commitments they made to the Canadian government. (Catch me if you can). read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #35 October 31, 2013
Are We a Country or Not!?
On behalf of present and former members of Local 1005 USW, I wish to express deep regret and anger at the announced permanent closure of steelmaking at Hilton Works which has been in operation our entire lives and has made Hamilton what it is today.
This is a dagger into the heart and soul of our community. The hand on this poisonous blade stretches from Pittsburgh but it has been guided into our chest by the federal and Ontario governments. They have the power to say no to this attack on Canada’s economy. They have the power to beat back this invasion of destructive robber barons whose private self-interest has nothing good to offer Canada. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #33 October 17, 2013
Lockout at MANA
Max Aicher Removes Equipment from Hamilton Plant
German steel monopoly Max Aicher has begun to remove equipment from its Hamilton plant where it has locked out its workers for refusing an outrageous wage cut of 30 per cent, amounting to wage cuts of $7 to $11 an hour, elimination of the cost of living allowance, replacing the pension plan with a savings plan, meaning that no one will have security in retirement, as well as reductions in benefits and other concessions. This should be illegal as should the pressure it puts on the MANA workers to accept outrageous wages, benefits and working conditions. There is nothing “fair” about this so-called fair collective bargaining regime but still MANA blames the workers for its own failures. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #34 October 24, 2013
Is U.S. Steel Preparing to Declare Bankruptcy in Canada?
Hamilton steelworkers are experienced in the way companies prepare conditions when they want to do something in their own narrow interest. No one can forget the screaming about a “liquidity crisis” from Stelco executives in late 2003 and into 2004, as they sought to enter bankruptcy protection even though the first two quarters of2004 gave rise to record profits. At any rate, bankruptcy protection did nothing to address the root problems in Canada’s steel industry; it made them worse. The result was the foreign takeover of Stelco by U.S. Steel and constant stripping of assets and wrecking of Stelco’s mills and their production capacity and open extortion of steelworkers for concessions. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #32 October 10, 2013
Monthly Rally at Hudak’s Office
Opposes Austerity Agenda and Attacks on Workers’ Rights
On October 4, workers from the Hamilton and Niagara areas held the latest monthly rally at PC Leader Tim Hudak’s constituency office in Beamsville. These rallies are part of the ongoing opposition to the phony austerity agenda championed by the Liberals and PCs and the anti-worker whitepapers and legislation put forward by the PCs. The Hamilton and Niagara District Labour Councils and Local 1005 USW call on everyone to take a stand and join in! Contact Local 1005 for details about the next rally in November. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #31 October 3, 2013
Concern About U.S. Steel’s Apparent Failure to Fully Fund the Pension Plan
U.S. Steel’s “Guarantee” when It Bought Stelco
As Information Update indicated in its last issue, U.S. Steel gave it full assurances that it would guarantee the pension obligations it acquired when it bought Stelco. The sale of Stelco to U.S. Steel was endorsed by Justice Pepall on November 1, 2007. In his endorsement, Section5, Justice Pepall writes: U.S. Steel is providing an irrevocable and unconditional guarantee of Stelco’s pension funding obligations under its Pension Agreement and will also arrange for Stelco to make a voluntary contribution of $32.5 million in aggregate to Stelco’s four largest pension plans.” read more
Thank You to everyone that gave at the gate collection for our Brothers and Sisters at MANA we collected $5,190.00.
INFORMATION UPDATE #30 September 26, 2013
Concern About U.S. Steel’s Apparent
Failure to Fully Fund the Pension Plan
The Pension Agreement which binds U.S. Steel was originally effective as of March 31, 2006. That was before U.S. Steel bought Stelco. It stipulated Stelco’s obligations which included putting $400 million into the four pension plans, and making $65 million in payments for five years and then $70 million a year payment for five years into the four pension plans. These obligations were endorsed by Judge Farley in the Federal Superior Court. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #29 September 19, 2013
MANA Workers Stand Firm Against Blackmail and Extortion
The workers employed by Max Aicher North America (MANA) have been locked out since June 28, 2013. Their cause is our cause. They refused to accept the company demands to cut their wages by $10 an hour, eliminate the COLA, eliminate the pension plan and severely reduce the benefits along with other concessions. The company then locked out the workers in an act of blatant extortion. It must not pass! read more
GATE COLLECTION FOR LOCKED OUT MANA MEMBERS
Wednesday September 25, 2013
Wilcox and Gage Gates
Please Give Generously Support our Brothers and Sisters
Any questions contact the Union Hall @ 905 547 1417
Information Update #28 September 12, 2013
A large contingent from Local1005 USW participated in the annual Labour Day Parade in Hamilton which drew a crowd of 3,000. Steelworkers from Local 8782 USW also participated. Workers and their unions from many sectors of the economy were present including steelworkers, ironworkers, postal workers, teachers and education workers, construction trades and public sector workers. Injured workers organized by the Hamilton Injured Workers Group participated as did anti-poverty groups and others fighting for social justice.
A rally at the Federal Building on Bay St. to oppose the war mongering against Syria was organized by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, timed to reach all the workers in the parade. The parade concluded with a picnic at Dundurn Park. read more
LOCAL 1005 Annual Christmas Dinner Dance
Friday December 20, 2013
Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre
1555 Upper Ottawa St. Hamilton, Ontario
Tickets @ Union Hall $20 each
Rally Against Austerity Agenda?
Monthly picket at Tim Hudak's Office: Friday, September 6, 2013 @ 3:30 p.m.
4961 King St. East, Beamsville
TWU-USW JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Telecommunications Workers Union and United
Steelworkers Announce Merger Agreement
BURNABY, BC and TORONTO, 29 August 2013 - The Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) and the United Steelworkers (USW) have arrived at a tentative merger agreement to bring together the membership of the two unions.
The merger would join the TWU, representing close to 13,000 members working in telecommunications, cable TV and call centre locations in Canada, with the USW, representing 225,000 members in all aspects of the economy.
The merger agreement includes strong commitments to support bargaining ,membership education, legislative action and bringing in new members in the telecom sector and has been unanimously endorsed by the TWU Merger Negotiations Committee. Next steps in the merger process include a review of the tentative merger agreement by the TWU National Executive Council and a one-member-one-vote ratification by the TWU membership.
"Our goal was to build a merger that focuses on concrete action here in Canada starting on day one, and that is also global in reach at the same time. Both unions were careful to enshrine key pillars of the TWU upon which our members rely. With this agreement, we met and exceeded our goals," said TWU National President Lee Riggs. “This exciting agreement also matches with the TWU Constitution and the labour movement’s fundamental democratic traditions – all members of our union will be able to take part in the ratification through a rank and file vote.
“"Together we’ve built an innovative, flexible merger agreement that blends the best of both of our unions," said USW National Director Ken Neumann. read more
Speak Up for Your Rights!
Join the Hamilton Labour Day Parade!
No to the Extortion and Dictate
of the Monopolies!
No to Phony Government Austerity Agendas!
Our Future Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!
September 2, 2013
Gather at 10:00 am at Queen and York Street in Hamilton. Parade leaves at 10:30 am
Barbeque at Dundurn Park after the parade
Buses are coming from Lake Erie Works to join the parade, to get on the bus call 519-587-2000 ext. 301
and leave your name, or email
INFORMATION UPDATE #26 August 6, 2013
Lake Erie Works Workers Overwhelmingly Reject U.S. Steel’s Blackmail
On July 31 the workers at Lake Erie voted 71% to reject the Company’s latest “final offer.” Prior to the vote, the Company’s arrogance knew no bounds. It called for a supervised vote and kept up a refrain that if the workers’ refused to accept a non-negotiated contract, they would stay out until they “agreed” to do so. The Company held two days of meetings where the Union was “not welcome.” It also sent out letters and made phone calls directly to employees to make its case. Since it has no just cause, at the meetings and in the letters and phone calls, it basically threatened the workers that if they did not accept the Company’s “final offer” it would be a long time before the plant would start up again. U.S. Steel was betting that the workers, after a three-month lockout and Employment Insurance rejecting their claim for benefits, would accept its “final offer” despite the fact that it was even worse than the “final offer” they rejected in April. In the course of this forced vote, it became obvious for all to see that U.S. Steel had no interest in negotiating, and just wanted to dictate. Amongst other things, the Company wants to eliminate some of the protection that the workers presently have regarding contracting out. This also makes the direction the Company is trying to take the plant suspect. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #25 July 29, 2013
Lake Erie Update Workers Want a Negotiated Settlement but U.S. Steal
Thinks It Can Prevail
Steal is putting on a brave face after it was repeatedly booed and denounced at the Company organized information meetings. “This was to be expected,” its mantra goes. “Workers need a space to vent. At least no chairs were thrown. The worst case scenario was if no one had attended the meetings.” And so on. In other words, the Company thinks that, despite “the venting,” it got its point across: “Times are tough, these are not concessions; it is the best the workers can expect. Sign now or you will be screwed.” (“No, wedid not tweet-in the riot squad....now can we have some intelligent questions please. No, we are not insulting anyone. These are not intelligent questions. Intelligent questions are the ones which agree with everything we say. Intelligent questions do not stand up for the dignity of labour. They do not demand mutual benefit. Workers should know their place. They should sign this generous offer and we will take care of them.”) read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #24 July 22, 2013
Lake Erie Local 8782 USW Recommends Rejection
U.S. Steal’s Underhanded Attempt to
Mislead Workers and Destroy the Union
U.S. Steel has been less than honest with Lake Erie workers, Local 8782 USW points out. It turns out that even the copy of the contract they are distributing to the workers as “information” to get them to sign is an incomplete document. The Union is holding information meetings July 22, before the mandated vote and urges all workers to attend. Local 8782 President Bill Ferguson points to the Company’s timing to force a supervised vote on its incomplete offer: “The Company’s motivation for doing this is hunger and fear. They hope that you’re hungry enough and they hope that you’re afraid enough.” He clearly acknowledges that the situation is very tough for the workers which is why it is necessary for everyone to be very clear about what they are being asked to vote on. read more
U.S. Steel’s Witch Hunt Response to Near Fatal Work Accident
On July 5, at about 9:30 pm, a worker was seriously injured in the coke ovens at U.S. Steel Hamilton Works. If it had not been for the quick action of the larry car operator, the injured worker could have died. No sooner was the worker sent to hospital than the Company began a despicable “witch hunt.” The first thing it did was “drug test” the larry car worker. The anti-human resources (HR) investigator was visibly disappointed when the worker passed the drug test. As the interrogation proceeded, it became obvious that the company wanted to fire anyone who violated the “safety procedure.” No offer of counselling was made for the immediately affected workers or other workers.
In further investigations conducted in the week following the accident, the worker was threatened that he would be fired if he didn’t retire. Subsequently, on Friday, July 12 the worker “voluntarily” retired. Mission accomplished. This whole witch hunt which led to the forced “voluntary” retirement of the worker was conducted when the worker was still visibly shaken by the severity of the accident and what could have happened. read more
U.S. Steel worker hospitalized after accident
The Ministry of Labour is investigating after a U.S. Steel coke oven worker suffered broken bones and burns after he was pinned by a machine.
The victim, described as a 13-year veteran of the Hamilton plant, lost consciousness during the July 5 incident. He has been released from hospital, said Gary Howe, co-chair of the health and safety committee of Local 1005 of the United Steelworkers. "
"The operator of the machine saved his life … He reacted quickly and pulled him to safety. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #22 July 8, 2013
Lake Erie Locked Out Steelworkers Deprived of Employment Insurance
USW Local 8782 was notified at the end of the business day from the Assistant Deputy Minister for Service Canada that a decision had been made for disentitlement to Employment Insurance Benefits for the locked out workers of U.S. Steel Lake Erie Works. The Union strongly believes this was strictly a political decision and certainly not based on the facts or merits of the situation the workers face with a Global Company such as U.S. Steel and the manipulation of production levels to south of the border in depressed market conditions. read more
Max Aicher (MANA) Locks Out Members of USW Local 1005
Information Update #21 June 24, 2013
Rally Opposes Harper Government’s Attack on Workers’ Rights
On June 21 about 50 steelworkers, including a large contingent from Local 1005, participated in a rally in front of MP Diane Finlay’s office in Simcoe, Ontario to protest the Harper government’s increasing use of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which allows Canadian companies to exploit these workers and use them to attack the rights of all workers. Local 1005 brought their banner “Our Future Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All! which reflects the huge assault on workers and the challenge they face of fighting to affirm the rights of all. read more
Local 1005 Scholarship Deadline has been extended to July 3, 2013 at 4:00pm
INFORMATION UPDATE #20 June 17, 2013
Local 1005 Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Thursday Meetings
10 Years of Discussion and Action to Defend the Rights of All
Over 60 members and retirees of Local 1005 celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Thursday Meetings on June 13. Many of the participants were actually in attendance on June 12, 2003 when the first meeting was held. Rolf Gerstenberger addressed the meeting by elaborating the role of the Thursday Meeting in first of all keeping the membership informed of the developments in the steel industry and matters of concern in the broader economic and political spheres each week, and providing a forum for the members to discuss the significance of the developments and what action the union should take. These discussions began with the Company’s demands for concessions in the summer of 2003, the two and a half years of the fraudulent CCAA bankruptcy, the takeover of Stelco by U.S. Steel and then its 11-month phony lockout, up to the present, as well as many other important issues. The participation of the members and retirees in the Thursday Meeting is crucial in sorting out the problems facing the workers and the society.
The formal part of the meeting was followed by a barbeque and the cutting of an anniversary cake decorated with “Our Future Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!” read more
Information Update #19 June 10, 2013
No Means No! Militant Picket at Hudak’s Office
Opposes Austerity Agenda
On Friday, June 7, more than 30 workers from Hamilton and the Niagara region held a militant picket in front of PC Leader Tim Hudak’s constituency office in Beamsville. A spirited contingent of Educational Assistants from Hamilton with CUPE Local 3396 actively worked to involve the community in the action. The picket also included members of Local 1005 USW and other steelworkers, Teamster’s Local 879 members, OSSTF members from District 21 and 22 and members of the Hamilton Wentworth Elementary Teachers Local. Everyone expressed the sentiment that they were bound and determined to oppose the illegitimate austerity agenda being promoted by the Liberals and the Conservatives and will not accept that it is “business as usual” because there is a new Premier, whose aims are no different than the last. Copies of the June issue of Justice for Injured Workers were distributed during the picket. read more
Information Update #18 June 3, 2013
Lake Erie Steelworkers Take Firm Stand in Defence of Their Rights
Oppose U.S. Steel’s Attempts to Extort Concessions Through Lockout Fraud
Workers at Local 8782 USW locked out by U.S. Steel on April 28 have applied for EI benefits. The union is submitting arguments on why the workers are entitled to receive benefits. Information Update has been informed that the union hopes to have a decision in the near future. Both the Lake Erie lockout and threatened Max Aicher North America lockout on June 7 show that the workers are facing an all-out assault by corporations which are using lockouts as a means to extort concessions. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #17 May 21, 2013
Spirited May 25 Rally Supports Locked-Out Lake Erie Workers
United Steelworkers District 6 and Toronto Area Steelworkers Council led by President Carolyn Egan held a spirited rally in support of the 1,000 steelworkers of Local 8782 USW locked out by U.S. Steel at its Lake Erie Nanticoke Works. Many came to join the action, including USW National Director Ken Neumann, a spirited contingent from Local 1005 USW and a bus-load of workers who came with Egan from Toronto. Local 1005 passed a resolution at its recent monthly membership meeting to donate $1,005 a month to the Lake Erie local for the duration of the lockout. The first cheque was presented at the May 25 rally, along with other donations. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #16 May 13, 2013
U.S. Steel’s Far from Innocent Attack on COLA
The question of cost-of-living allowance (COLA) has become a topic of dsicussion since U.S. Steel locked out the 1,000 Lake Erie Workers. Company spokesperson Trevor Harris’ letter to the Hamilton Spectator (May 3) implies that it is outrageous that the Lake Erie workers think COLA is important:
“We did not propose to cut wages or slash benefits. In fact, our offer included the roll-in of $1.01 of accumulated Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) to base wage rates. Not a single employee would have made one cent less than they are making today as a result of our company’s offer. In fact, most would have received a raise from the revised wage structure that was part of the proposal.”
A brief review of Local 1005’s Basic Agreements tells the real story. If we take Job Class 7 in August 1, 1983 we find the hourly rate at that time was $12.12. The wage increases from 1983 to 2013 (a 30-year period) have been:
1984: $0.00 1994: $0.00 2004: $0.00
1985: $0.25 1995: $0.00 2005: $0.00
1986: $0.30 1996: $0.00 2006: $0.64*
1987: $0.00 1997: $0.00 2007: $0.06*
1988: $0.00 1998: $0.00 2008: $0.09*
1989: $0.00 1999: $0.25 2009: $0.15*
1990: $0.60 2000: $0.25 2010: $0.12*
1991: $0.15 2001: $0.25 2011: $0.00
1992: $0.10 2002: $0.00 2012: $0.00
1993: $0.00 2003: $0.15 2013: $0.00
INFORMATION UPDATE #15 May 6, 2013
May Day 2013 Workers Celebrate Their Achievements
The annual May Day rally, march and BBQ in Hamilton brought together more than 250 workers, students, youth and members of the community. Those present included workers from Joseph Brant Hospital, members of Local 7135 USW from National Steel Car, a delegation of the locked-out steelworkers from Local 8782 USW at Lake Erie, as well as retirees from CAW Local 222 in Oshawa.
Local 1005 retiree Bill Mahoney opened the rally at the Local 1005 Union Hall with a poem about Harper’s attacks on EI, following which Mayor Bob Bratina brought greetings from the city. The rally was then addressed by Ken Neumann, National Director of USW; Bill Ferguson, President of Local 8782; Bob Pelletier, President of Local 7135, and Josepone Eric from the Migrant Workers Resource Centre. Rolf Gerstenberger, President of Local 1005, gave the concluding speech. Then everyone took to the streets for a march through the industrial core that ended back at the Union Hall for a BBQ. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #14 April 29, 2013
All Out to Support Locked Out Lake Erie Workers!
At 9:00 am on April 28, U.S. Steel locked the gates at Lake Erie Works locking out about 1,000 workers. This is U.S. Steel’s latest dirty deed after the workers voted 70 per cent to reject its “final offer.” Ninety-two per cent of the membership turned out for the vote. This means the Company cannot get away with attempts to divide the workers with claims that the vote is not representative or that the workers are divided or “confused.”
The aim of the lockout is to convince the workers of the “wisdom” of changing their minds. Given the very unequal power relations, in any other situation this would be called extortion. The fact is that once the Company did not get its way through a bargaining process, it began trying to use its position of power over them to prevail. It is not acceptable. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #13 April 22, 2013
U.S. Steel’s Boorish Dictate at Lake Erie
The Ugly American All Over Again
U.S. Steel is flaunting the most boorish behaviour for the whole world to see in its conduct with the Lake Erie Works steelworkers. Violating the norms of conduct in union-employer relations, the Company communicated directly with employees, sending them its latest offer, insinuating that they can’t trust their Union. The letter presents the offer in glowing terms to not only cover up what is being taken away but to say in no uncertain terms that there is no alternative because, unlike all U.S. Steel’s other operations, Lake Erie has huge losses. All the Company’s largesse is theirs for free, if they say yes to the offer. All of it is accompanied by threats issued through other channels, informing the workers and their Union that if they do not accept the offer, they will be hung out to dry without a penny. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #12 April 15, 2013
Support Local 8782 at Lake Erie
No to U.S. Steel’s Unjust Demands!
The contract between Local 8782 USW and U.S. Steel expires at 12:01 am on April 16, 2013. On April 12, Local 8782 announced that it has held three membership meetings with an 83 per cent turnout, in which the membership voted 99.6 per cent to support a strike authorization vote. The Company and the Union have a signed protocol where either party has to give 72 hours notice before a strike or lockout can occur. The union announced on April 15 that neither party has as yet given notice.
Local 1005 expresses its full support for its brothers and sisters at Lake Erie. Unresolved issues at the Lake continue to be the Company’s attempt to reduce the maximum vacation that a worker receives from seven weeks to five; and the Company demand that the COLA formula, which presently uses 1971 as the base of calculations, be changed to use 2002, a change that will reduce the COLA for each year by about 80 per cent. The Company is also demanding concessions on benefits. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #11 April 8, 2013
Broad Opposition to Attacks Against Workers and Economy
On April 5, workers in Hamilton and Niagara once again joined their counterparts in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces to oppose the Harper government’s self-serving reforms to the Employment Insurance program. Thousands of people are being cut off from receiving EI payments and forced to find work away from home at lower wages. Besides leaving human beings in dire poverty, one of the consequences is the destruction of the economy of entire regions of the country which depend on seasonal labour for their living.
The action was held in front of the constituency office of Dean Allison, Conservative MP for Niagara West–Glanbrook office, with the participation of Local 1005 USW and others. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #10 March 25, 2013
Further on the Province’s Obligation to Local 1005’s Pension Fund
As Information Update related in its last issue, at the time U.S. Steel bought Stelco, the Province engaged to change the terms of the Pension Agreement approved by the Court as part of the Plan of Arrangement which permitted Stelco to exit the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) bankruptcy proceedings. In exchange for giving Stelco what it wanted to sell the company, the Province got what is called the U.S. Steel Guarantee. Counsel for the Superintendent of Finances told Local 1005 at the time that its pension was safe because U.S. Steel was “too big to fail.”
Local 1005 rejected this argument. In no uncertain terms it suggested the Superintendent would do well to do likewise. This is the exact same argument which was used to justify the 5.1 Election enacted under the Bob Rae government to let GM off the hook for providing full funding for its pension funds. It was subsequently used by Stelco to do likewise. It is the argument which got the pension funds in trouble in the first place. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #9 March 18, 2013
Further on the Province’s Obligation to Local 1005’s Pension Fund
The obligation of Ontario’s Superintendent of Financial Services to protect the pensions of Local 1005 members and retirees is best determined in context.
The Superintendent, on his own initiative and without authorization from Local 1005, participated as a principle in negotiations which led to the restructuring of funding for Local 1005’s defined benefit Pension Plan. In the capacity of a party, the Superintendent executed the Pension Agreement made as of March 31, 2006 among Stelco Inc., the Stelco General Partners, the Superintendent, and the Province (“Pension Agreement”).
At the time the Pension Agreement was concluded (or more correctly just after the time but prior to the CCAA Approval Hearing) Local 1005 was led to believe that pension funding would be brought to equilibrium by 2016. Given the protections of the Pension Agreement, Local 1005 expected that any acquirer of Stelco would be bound by Stelco’s obligations under the Pension Agreement. Those obligations included agreements that:read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #8 March 11, 2013
Local 1005 Holds Ontario Government
Responsible for Pension Funding Agreement
At the Thursday Meeting of Local 1005 workers clearly hold the Ontario Government responsible for the Pension Funding Agreement that came out of the CCAA restructuring and was subsequently passed on to U.S. Steel in 2007. The Pension Funding Agreement was calculated so as to fully fund the plan by the end of 2015. In Stelco’s exit from CCAA protection and in the sale of Stelco to U.S. Steel, both the Ontario Superintendent of Pensions and the Minister of Finance were involved in first crafting the agreement and then amending it. They were the main bodies that tried to convince the workers that this Pension Funding Agreement was in the best interests of pension plan members. At the end of the day, it is the Ontario government’s responsibility to ensure that the Pension Funding Agreement does ensure solvency funding of Local 1005’s Pension Plan.
The workers are actively engaged in setting plans to defend their pensions, taking into account also what governments, the laws and the courts did or did not do in the cases of Nortel, Indalex, Resolute and White Birch (from the Abitibi Bowater CCAA), to say nothing about the state of auto worker pensions and many others. read more
#2 Rod Mill Reunion
Thursday March 21, 2013
Mohawk Quad Pad Arena
INFORMATION UPDATE #7 March 4, 2013
U.S. Steel Must Make Stelco’s Pension Plans Whole
The state of the U.S. Steel pension plans in Canada is very alarming. They are severely underfunded. Ontario law clearly stipulates that U.S. Steel must make the plans whole by December 31, 2015. Despite this, U.S. Steel is hiding behind a narrow self-serving interpretation of a Special Pension Agreement negotiated with the Minister of Finance and the Superintendent of Pensions when it bought Stelco in 2007. The Special Agreement spelled out the amount of money it had to pay into the pension plans every year to make them whole by by December 31, 2015. These amounts no longer apply as a result of losses to the pension fund incurred on the stock market.
U.S. Steel seized Stelco’s steelmaking capacity in 2007. As a significant aspect of the takeover, executives for the U.S. monopoly publicly stated their moral and legal responsibility for four Stelco defined-benefit pension plans. Also, the acceptance of the previous arrangement with the Ontario government to make the pensions whole by the end of 2015 was further acknowledgement of U.S. Steel’s legal and moral responsibility towards the pension plans. The original annual payment schedule according to the pension agreement with the Ontario government was calculated in 2006 and meant to make the plans whole by December 31, 2015. This was a government concession to the owners of Stelco at the time, as Ontario law requires that pension plans be funded fully within five years after any finding of a shortfall. According to Ontario law, by 2011 the pensions should have been without any shortfall in their capacity to meet the defined benefits of Stelco actual and potential retirees but that is far from the case. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #6 February 25, 2013
Max Aicher North America Tables “Final Offer”
February 15, Max Aicher North America (MANA) tabled its “final offer” to the MANA Unit of Local 1005. The offer contained the following provisions:
The Company is proposing seven pay levels ranging from Level 1 at $18.70 an hour to Level 7 at $25.26 an hour. For new hires the Company is proposing the worker receive 90% of the rate of the job performed for 1,040 hours. The Company is proposing the elimination of all the cost of living allowance (COLA) for active workers and the indexing for pensioners. (This proposal amounts to a 20-30% pay cut with no COLA formula to compensate for an increase in the cost of living.)
On vacation the Company is proposing a five week maximum vacation. Those left in the workforce who already have more than five weeks would be grandfathered.
The Company proposes that all future pension credits be in a defined-contribution (DC) plan. If an employee contributes to the DC plan, the Company will match the contribution up to 5% of gross earnings (includes overtime and incentive payments). The 10 employees who are in the plant with more than 20 years service but less than 30 years credited service will remain in the defined-benefit plan until they get 30 years credited service, following which all future credits will be in the DC plan. This would mean that going forward all workers would be in a DC plan, not just new hires as in the U.S. Steel contract. read more
Protest Changes to Employment Insurance
Saturday February 23 – 1:00 pm
Anti-Human Resources Minister Diane Finley’s Constituency Office, 76 Kent Street, Simcoe
Local 1005 in conjunction with the Hamilton & District Labour Council is holding a demonstration to protest the changes to EI introduced by the Harper government in Omnibus Bill C-38 passed last year. The rally also opposes the Minister’s imposition of quotas on all areas of the country for the number of workers to be cut off EI even if they are eligible. We join workers in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces also protesting that day.
COME ONE COME ALL!
Cars Leaving the Union Halll @ 11:00am
Information Update #5 February 11, 2013
Defend the Pensions We Have!
Information Update has been informed that not only were the Dofasco workers asked to agree with the Company’s demand to fund the solvency deficiency in their pension fund over 10 years, but so too were the unionized workers and personnel at the Globe and Mail. Their union countered with a demand that Globe management not demand changes to the defined-benefit pension plan for 10 years (in negotiations two years ago, the Globe won the concession to close the defined-benefit plan for new hires). Globe management refused this request and the union refused to agree to the 10-year funding.
Chrysler has also asked for a 10-year funding agreement from unionized and salaried personnel. In Windsor, CAW Local 444 agreed on behalf of the unionized workers; the salaried employees are a different fund and have yet to respond.
Solvency funding rules to eliminate solvency deficiencies in five years were instituted in 1987 in Ontario to protect the workers if a company files for bankruptcy. The question has to be asked: Who will protect the workers and pensioners in light of the Indalex and other decisions if the workers agree to extend the funding? Who will hold these companies to account if they pull a swindle down the road? read more
Information Update #4 February 4, 2013
Supreme Court Indalex Decision
It May Be Legal, But It Is Not Just - What Should Workers Do?
On February 1, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada finally released its decision on the Indalex case which was heard on June 6, 2012. Despite finding that Indalex had violated its fiduciary duty to the pensioners, the Supreme Court ruled that the concept of federal law called “paramountcy” had to be considered. What this means is that federal bankruptcy legislation (the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act – CCAA) dictates that Debtor in Possession (DIP) lenders have priority over all other claims during bankruptcy proceedings. Furthermore, as federal legislation, CCAA has priority over provincial legislation such as the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. As a result, the Supreme Court overturned the 2011 ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal involving Toronto-based manufacturer Indalex Limited and the United Steelworkers (USW) which represented the Indalex workers. That ruling gave the workers first claim on the assets of the company to recover monies owed on pensions. read more
Information Update #3 January 28, 2013
U.S. Steel’s Self-serving Interpretations of Contract Language and Human Rights Legislation
Last week we reported that the contract between U.S. Steel Canada Lake Erie Works and Local 8782 USW is due to expire April 15, 2013 and that the company is refusing to settle the two issues that are still unresolved from the contract agreed to in 2010. This is not a situation peculiar to Lake Erie alone. Local 1005 has a similar experience and locals from the United States have informed 1005 of their own experiences in this regard.
A brief review of the unresolved issues Local 1005 has with U.S. Steel show how the company operates to get away with whatever it wants. read more
Information Update #2 January 21, 2013
U.S. Steel Self-Serving as Ever in Lake Erie Negotiations
For three years U.S. Steel has refused to sort out matters related to the current contract it signed with our brothers and sisters at Lake Erie. Information Update has been informed that despite this, this arrogant company is now putting on the pressure to start negotiating for the new contract which expires on April 15, 2013.
Local 8782 has responded that they will not start negotiations until two issues are sorted out which the Company has created since it signed the contract in 2010 after dragging the workers through a nine month lockout. The two unresolved issues concern the Defined Contribution (DC) plan for new hires. In reference to “all hours worked,” the company made a commitment to the union that these hours include vacation, time off for WSIB and sick time. The company then declared the contributions into the DC plan are only “for hours worked” which it claims do not cover all paid time. This issue is scheduled to go to arbitration on February 4.
The second unresolved issue also concerns contract language which the company is now interpreting in a self-serving way. The Company claims that there was a change to the year-end averaging language covering the Local’s profit sharing plan. The union states there was no such change. read more
Election Results For
Health & Safety and Steward Body
click on links below
Stewards Assigned Maintenance
Stewards Coke Ovens
Stewards Cold Mill
Stewards Mechanical Shops
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Stewards Yard Services
H & S Plant Chairperson
H & S Electrical
H & S Assigned Maintenance
H & S Coated
H & S Coke Ovens
H & S Cold Mill
H & S Utilities
Information Update #1 January 14, 2013
Local 1005 Demonstrates Against Colonial Injustice
On January 11, a delegation from Local 1005 travelled to Ottawa to support the First Nations in their battle against colonial injustice and their opposition to the two omnibus bills passed by the Harper government last year, Bill C-38 and C-45. We were inspired by the moving events including a meeting with Chief Theresa Spence from the Attawapiskat First Nation, on a hunger strike since December 11, joined by two other elders. She told our delegation that the fight for First Nations’ rights has begun all over again and of their determination to affirm their rights. read more
Seasons Greetings & Happy New Year
Information Update #47 December 17, 2012
Rally and Demonstration in Hamilton Oppose Bill 115
On December 15, more than 300 teachers, educational support staff, steelworkers, including members of Local 1005, and members of the Hamilton community held a militant rally and demonstration to oppose Bill 115. The action began at City Hall, marched to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s office and ended at Gore Park. Above, Lisa Hammond, President of the Hamilton- Wentworth Elementary Teachers (left) and part of Local 1005’s contingent. read more
LOCAL 1005 ELECTION NOTICE STEWARD NOMINATIONS
LOCAL 1005 ELECTION NOTICE HEALTH & SAFETY NOMINATIONS
NOMINATIONS for the following positions will be accepted at Local 1005’s Office, 350
Kenilworth Ave. North, Hamilton, Ontario up to:
4:00 P.M. – Friday, January 4th, 2013
Nomination Forms MUST be used and are available at Local 1005’s Office.
ELECTION - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16TH, 2013
LOWER LEVEL Local 1005 Offices – 350 Kenilworth Ave. North
Click on link for details
Steward Body Elections
Health & Safety Elections
Information Update #46 December 6, 2012
Why Was “Not Because She Was Pregnant” Employee Fired?
According to U.S. Steel, the Company did not know the pregnant employee it fired in December 2011 was pregnant and thus she was not fired because she was pregnant. The U.S. Steel person responsible for its human resources department “did not know that the woman was pregnant,” the Arbitrator wrote in her ruling. If we are to accept that as fair, why make such a spectacle of themselves at the arbitration hearings? Why not just say why she was fired instead of denying knowledge of her pregnancy? The fact that three Union executives testified that they were in a meeting where they told the person that the probationary employee was pregnant did not count for much in the arbitration proceedings and nor did all the other evidence provided by the Union. But facts are stubborn things and the fact remains that she was pregnant, so what do you do about that? You just keep denying that you knew she was pregnant! read more
Thank you from the Executive of USW Local 1005
Information Update #45 December 3, 2012
Mr Senior Vice-President – Say Yes to the Job!
All workers laid off after the lockout have been called back to work with the exception of one - a disabled worker who the company simply refuses to accommodate as is its duty. This is despite the fact that prior to the lockout Rick Mansfield was very well accommodated in the Maintenance Department where he was the go-to guy if you needed something or could not find a part. The computer systems at U.S. Steel are complex and Rick knows how to navigate them to find and order parts and to get things done. But this was only one aspect of his job. He was also a very important part of our Reg. 51 program. The Reg 51 program is very complex but, in simple terms, it is an inspection program for cranes and lifting equipment that was put in place after one of our members was crushed to death by a crane hook block on June 30, 1988. A great deal of work was done jointly to create one of the best programs. Rick is a key person in our program.read more
Tickets available call the Union Hall @ 905 547 1417
Information Update #44 November 26, 2012
Steelworkers Participate in CUPE Hamilton Meeting to Oppose Austerity Agenda
Throughout last week, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario held mass membership meetings in Kingston, Pembroke, Peterborough, Mississauga, Hamilton and Windsor as part of a province-wide campaign against Bill 115 and in defence of the right to collective bargaining for all public sector workers.
CUPE Ontario informs that at the November 20 meeting in Hamilton, its members “packed the Steelworkers Hall on Barton Street to say ‘No’ to government plans to remove democratic rights, and vowed to stand together against existing legislation, Bill 115, which already does this in school boards. With people standing in the aisles, the union launched the region’s part in a province-wide campaign to protect workers’ democratic rights to collective bargaining and impartial contract arbitration.” read more
Information Update #43 November 19, 201
Spokesperson for U.S. Steel Canada Still Out to Lunch
In a letter to the editor to the Hamilton Spectator (November 12, 2012), Trevor Harris, spokesperson for U.S. Steel Canada declared “...We have established several partnerships with leading organizations across Hamilton and have contributed millions of dollars to help local children and families, provide education and opportunity and move our city forward....”
One year ago the federal government quietly dropped its lawsuit against U.S. Steel for breaking its 2007 commitments to keep 3,105 workers employed for three years and to produce more than 4.3 million tons of steel per year for three years. This was replaced with a new secret deal which allegedly contained a new commitment about which the workers know nothing because they have only seen three quarters of a page from a 31-page redacted document. As a sop, something was announced about U.S. Steel spending $3 million in the community.
Is this what Harris is crowing about in his letter? What he does not say is that U.S. Steel stopped paying indexing to more than 8,000 pensioners on July 31, 2010 when the previous contract expired. If we were to calculate the indexing at 1% a year, this decision has deprived pensioners and the Hamilton economy of at least $1.7 million a year, or a total of $4.1 million since July 2010. (The total amount of payments to pensioners is about $170 million per year.) To then boast about how much the company donates to various charities, educational institutions and hospitals is hypocritical at best and rubs salt in the wounds of Stelco pensioners.
His other major omission when talking about how much U.S. Steel “contributes” to Hamilton is his failure to mention that the blast furnace has been shut down for more than two years. How do you contribute to Steeltown by depriving it of steel? read more
Information Update #42 November 12, 2012
Conference Call on U.S. Steel’s Q3 2012 Results
Cluelessness Raised to an Art
On October 29, U.S. Steel released its third quarter results. The Company claimed a net income of $44 million on shipments of 5.3 million tons of steel with sales of $4.7 billion.
From our point of view, the report and conference call were once again revealing for what they did not mention and that is Hamilton. We have become a faceless, nameless pawn whose blast furnace on which Canadian steel production depends has been shut down since October 2010. The only time Canada comes up is to lodge the complaint that U.S. Steel has already recorded a “full valuation allowance on deferred tax assets,” which result in “a minimal tax provision or benefit in the fourth quarter, primarily due to the full valuation allowance on deferred tax assets in Canada.” There could not be a more damning indictment of U.S. Steel’s callous disregard for the serious problems facing Canada’s steel industry. read more
Information Update #41 November 5, 2012
U.S. Steel’s Cancellation of Women’s Committee
Company Lip Service to Issues of Inequality?
This week U.S. Steel delivered to the Union a new policy entitled “Management of New and Expectant Mothers.” This was one week after the Union protested the dismantling of the “Plant Women’s Issues Working Group” and the Company’s refusal to treat women with respect.
Once we finish reading the policy, we will let you now what it says. Why, however, did the Company dismantle the committee? I am one of the sisters who worked on that committee. I can only assume that the intent all along was indeed lip service, and that our voices were meant to be silenced.
With the committee assembled, you see, the Company had a position where it could be said: “We’re working on addressing issues of inequality”; “We’re working on a protocol for addressing reproductive safety concerns,” when in fact, neither is actually true. read more
Information Update #40 October 29, 2012
U.S. Steel Cancels Women’s Committee
In 2010 Local 1005 placed a Policy Grievance to try to resolve a long standing problem: where can a woman who is pregnant work in the steel plant? At that time the company was stonewalling the question and not providing an answer. In particular the issue centred around the areas of the plant which have been tested as being safe for a fetus.
The issue was raised by the Senior Health and Safety Committee in December 2011 at the first meeting after the lock-out ended. This resulted in a Plant Women’s Issues Working Group being established in July of this year. Three women members of Local 1005 were appointed to this committee and have been working to draft a policy to outline where a woman can work when she is pregnant. The union wants to have a coherent policy in place so that it does not become an emergency situation each time a sister becomes pregnant. Local 1005 wants to make sure that no harm comes to the fetus, that the health of the woman is also not jeopardized and the women are accommodated to the maximum degree.
The committee put together and studied various documents which outline the federal and provincial legislation on the matter of where it is safe for a pregnant woman to work.
On October 26, the Union Plant Health and Safety Chairman was informed by the Company Health and Safety Manager that the Women’s Committee had been disbanded. No explanation was given. read more
Information Update #39 October 22, 2012
Human Rights and Federal Bill C-31
On October 18, nurse Jodi Pipes and nursing student Claire Wolfe from McMaster Sick Children’s Hospital addressed the Thursday Meeting about the Harper government’s violation of human rights through Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, passed at the end of June. The bill included changes to the Interim Federal Health Program and dictates that health care cannot be provided to refugees from certain countries to Canada. Jodi Pipes stated that everyone has to have access to health care and this is a basic human right and to deny it to the most vulnerable in society is unconscionable. This bill has also caused a great deal of confusion for health care providers. The speakers listed some of the incidents of refugees being denied health care and the consequences for the Hamilton area.
They also explained that Hamilton health care providers have established the volunteer-run “Refuge Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health” that provides health care to refugees and others on a volunteer basis. As well, they are working actively to have this legislation changed. read more
Information Update #38 October 15, 2012
Anniversary of End of Eleven-Month Phony Lockout
U.S. Steel’s Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds
October 15 marks the first anniversary of the end of U.S. Steel’s phony lockout. For 11 months the workers resisted attempts to deprive them of what is theirs by virtue of the fact they contribute to producing the wealth on which society depends for its living. The aim of the phony lockout, imposed despite the fact the workers did not express any intention of going on strike at the end of the contract, was to extort concessions by depriving pensioners of indexing and new hires of defined benefit plans. Even before the U.S. Steel lockout, the Company shut down production in violation of its contract with the Government of Canada when it took over Stelco in 2007. Now, on the anniversary of the end of that phony lockout, Stelco workers were astounded to read that U.S. Steel is expressing concern that foreign takeovers approved by the Government of Canada should meet “net benefit” criteria. read more
Information Update #37 October 9, 2012
Hamiltonians Tell McGuinty: “Hands Off Public Sector Workers!”
On October 1, more than 40 members and retirees from Local 1005, joined by teachers from the Hamilton Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) Local 21 and Peter Page, the President of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups, held a vigorous information picket at the corner of King and James in downtown Hamilton. The information picket opposed the McGuinty government’s attacks on teachers, education workers and the public sector. Participants distributed more than 2,000 copies of Local 1005’s Information Update and an OSSTF fact sheet. Many people stopped to find out more about the situation facing teachers and public sector workers. Another information picket will be held on October 9. read more
C. O. L. A.
FOR ALL STRAIGHT TIME HOURS WORKED
Effective with the first pay period following the release of the Consumer Price Index (1971 = 100 base).
You will be paid a 1¢ per hour increase for every .3 increase in the Cost of Living Allowance.
In accordance with the terms of Item 17 Letter of Agreement re: Cost of Living Allowance, the C.O.L.A. calculation for the period AUGUST 2012 compared to august 2011 is as follows:
AUG 2012 582.8 WHEN COMPARED TO:
AUG 2011 575.6
7.2 ¸ .3 = $0.24 (float)
FOR THE PERIOD COMMENCING ON SEPTEMBER 30TH,
2012 THERE SHALL BE a 24-CENT INCREASE TO THE C.O.L.A.
TOTAL C.O.L.A. FLOAT IS .24 CENTS.
NEXT C.O.L.A. ADJUSTMENT WILL BE
Information Update #36 October 1, 2012
Our Future Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All Hamiltonians Join Forces to Oppose Attacks on Public Sector Workers
On Monday, October 1, members of CUPE Local 1065, representing hospital workers at Joseph Brant Hospital, teachers from OSSTF District 21, elementary teachers and others will join Local 1005 at 3:30 pm at King and James Streets to express their opposition to the McGuinty government’s attacks on teachers, education workers, students, public education and now the entire public sector through the proposed Protecting Public Services Act. Join Us! read more
Information Update #35 September 20, 2012
U.S. Steel Pigeon-Holing Workers Company Violating Contract Yet Again
During the 2006 negotiations, the Union agreed to change the job classification structure from 28 job classes covering all the jobs in the plant, to eight job levels. In the 2010 negotiations, under the “Workplace and Restructuring and Productivity” section of the contract, it was made clear that all the jobs in the various departments of the plant would be included in the various levels with lines of progression to deal with how a worker moves from one job level to a higher paying job level. Appendix D of the basic agreement has a section, 3-C, which states “The Union has expressed concern over the training of employees, specifically related to Job Level 3 positions in a Line of Progression (LOP) (and the Level 4 position in the Coke Ovens Unit LOP), pursuant to Paragraph 3-B above. In circumstances where an employee has been receiving the training rate of pay, but has been denied the opportunity to fully train and become qualified in the full scope of the job, the employee will be paid the full rate of pay for the incumbent job after training on the job for ninety (90) days.” read more
Information Update #34 September 13, 2012
U.S. Court Decision with Implications for U.S. Steel and the Stelco Pension Funds
In a significant development of U.S. corporate law, a Washington D.C. District Court has allowed the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to proceed with a claim against a non U.S. corporation to recover pension and other funds owed by its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary. The Washington court ruled that PBGC could proceed with its lawsuit to assert personal jurisdiction over the non U.S. entity Asahi Tec Corporation, a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer.
In 2007, Asahi Tec (the parent) acquired U.S. based Metaldyne Corporation. The subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 but not the parent registered in Japan. Before terminating the Metaldyne defined benefit pension plan, the PBGC requested that Asahi Tec assume sponsorship of the plan and make it whole, but the parent refused.
Asahi Tec subsequently did not respond to PBGC’s written demands for payment of Metaldyne’s outstanding pension liability. In response, PBGC filed a complaint against Asahi Tec in November 2010 for approximately $175 million, seeking recovery of the full amount of the pension plan’s unfunded liabilities, termination premiums and litigation costs. read more
Information Update #33 September 6, 2012
Local 1005’s Actuarial Report
“By the Numbers”
The December 31, 2011 actuarial report states that U.S. Steel contributed $57.8 million to the pension plan, while the plan paid out $141 million in pension payments.
The present workforce is comprised of 625 workers with 9,040 pensioners. The active workers operate the coke ovens, 4-stand, #3 galvanizing line and Z-line. The blast furnace, steelmaking, caster and conditioning departments are still not operating.
Compare this to the situation on December 31, 2003 when Local 1005 had 3,500 active members with more than 7,500 pensioners. At that time, Hilton Works had two blast furnaces, a hot strip mill, the #2 rod mill, the #5-stand rolling mill, the bar mill and the bloom mill in production. All of these facilities were used to create value out of which the workers received their wages, benefits, and pension payments. At that time the Company was still exempt from making solvency payments because of the 5.1 Election. It contributed only $24 million to the pension plan while the plan paid out more than $84 million to the 7,500 pensioners. read more
Information Update #32 August 30, 2012
Steelworkers Join Teachers in Opposing McGuinty’s Attacks
On August 28, thirty members and retirees from Local 1005 joined 20,000 teachers, education workers and their supporters at Queen’s Park to oppose McGuinty’s attacks against their rights and the rights of all. McGuinty called back the Legislature two weeks early to ram through the cynically labelled Putting Students First Act. read more
Information Update #31 August 27, 2012
Unite in Action to Defend the Rights of All! Oppose Attacks on Teachers and Education Workers! End the Marginalization of Injured Workers!
QUEENS PARK RALLY FOR EDUCATION
TUESDAY AUGUST 28, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
Since May 1 steelworkers have worked hard to step up the involvement of other workers to get the rights of injured workers recognized. At the end of April, the McGuinty government announced the opportunist nomination of the Conservative MPP from Kitchener Waterloo, Elizabeth Witmer, as chair of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board with the aim of continuing to turn workers’ compensation over to private insurance companies and eliminate public authority over the protection of injured workers. It also created the possibility for a Liberal majority if they win the by election. read more
Rebel Rhymes by Bill Mahoney will be for sale on this day at the cost of $5 each. All proceeds from the sale will go to Wesley Center of Hamilton.
Information Update #30 August 9, 2012
U.S. Steel Reports Second Quarter Results for 2012
Steel Not Steal!
On July 31, U.S. Steel released its second quarter 2012 results. It declared that its profits improved to $101 million. Flat-rolled shipments in the second quarter were almost identical to a year ago with 3,986,000 tons shipped in 2012 compared to 3,936,000 tons in 2011. The average realized price fell from $803 per ton in 2011 to $772 reducing the overall gross income from flat-rolled.
U.S. Steel steelworkers produced 4,688,000 tons of flat-rolled in second quarter 2012 down from 4,894,000 tons last year. Flat-rolled capacity utilization fell to 77 per cent from 83 per cent in the previous quarter and 81 per cent a year ago. Flat-rolled capacity in U.S. Steel’s North American mills including Hamilton Works is 6.075 million tons per quarter. read more
Information Update #29 July 31, 2012
Hypocrisy of U.S. Steel’s “Core Values”
Information Update has been informed that one of the salaried retirees has worked 16 straight 12-hour shifts on the Z-line.
The Company refuses to train people on the Z-line to cover those who require time off or are sick. It refuses to recall laid off workers to train them. Why is it so intransigent? Paying a retiree a salary which is higher than a union wage to train an employee to do the job, then violating the contract by not training anyone, having the retiree do the job and paying overtime on top of this, not only violates the contract, it is irrational.
It seems that the Company wants to use the salaried retirees to set a precedent that a) it is alright to do this even when there are workers laid off; b) any amount of overtime is alright despite workers being laid off; and c) it is acceptable to ruin one’s health through overwork with nothing said or done about it. Is this to be the new normal – whatever the Company wants, the workers should just do? read more
Information Update #28 July 24, 2012
U.S. Steel’s Firing of Pregnant Worker
Closing Arguments in Arbitration Hearing
July 19 was the final day of a three-day arbitration hearing between U.S. Steel and Local 1005, dealing with the case of a probationary worker unjustly fired while pregnant.
The Company presented three closing arguments to claim that the firing was justified. Firstly, it claimed the three supervisors and one human resources (HR) person who made the decision to fire the worker “did not know” she was pregnant when they made the decision. Secondly, the Company claimed there is no evidence to prove that she was fired for being pregnant. And finally, it claimed that the reasons given for terminating the worker could not be classified as unreasonable or in bad faith, and in any event the arbitrator does not have jurisdiction to rule in the Union’s favour since the firing of a probationary employee is not subject to the arbitration process. read more
Information Update # 27 July 16, 2012
Alma Workers Thank 1005 for Their Support
On the eve of the ratification vote, the members of Local 9490 USW which represents the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum workers in Alma, Quebec, took the time to write all those who supported them during the lockout to inform them about the developments and thank them for their support.
“We were very successful in winning this fight,” they informed 1005.
“We hope that 1005 knows that they were part of the solution. In fact, with your presence and solidarity, you gave our members hope to last one day longer.”
The message was accompanied by a photograph of Local 9490 Vice-President Hugues Villeneuve “who is proudly wearing the 1005 t?shirt on the eve of ratification.”
In conclusion the message said, “In the name of our members at 9490 USW, we would like to thank 1005 USW for all that you have done.”
Local 1005 thanks the Local in Alma for their fine words and once again congratulates the workers and their union for successfully concluding a well-fought fight. read more
Information Update #26 July 9, 2012
Conservative White Paper Attacks Dignity of Labour
It is usually governments that issue White Papers, not parties in the Opposition. Despite this, a week after the Ontario Legislature adopted an austerity budget which demands that the working people lower their standard of living so that social services can be privatized, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Caucus issued a so-called White Paper entitled “Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets.” The paper outlines various labour reforms that it argues will make Ontario more competitive and prosperous in the global economy. read more
Information Update #25 June 28, 2012
Some Laid Off Workers Back to Work
Information Update has been informed that 10 workers started back to work on June 25. A total of 27 workers will be needed to fill 16 jobs in the 4?stand, six jobs in the shipping unit of the cold mill department and five jobs in the RTL.
Fourteen of these jobs will be filled by workers who had agreed to go to the Nelson pickle lines on a temporary basis about six months ago. The U.S. Steel pickle lines (Nelson) have begun hiring workers on a permanent basis to replace the Hamilton temporary workers.
The recall of these additional 27 workers means that about 16 workers will still be laid off – 13 workers with significant seniority and the three most junior workers. In addition, there are seven workers with medical disabilities who the Company has yet to accommodate with suitable work.
Is U.S. Steel “Punishing” Workers?
What is significant is that the 13 workers with significant seniority are also workers who, according to U.S. Steel, signed training waivers after the phony lockout.
If you recall, when the phony lockout ended, the first place workers were assigned was the coke ovens. Some workers had serious concerns about working in the coke ovens considering the effects of all the harmful by?products of coke production to their health. As Information Update reported previously, the Company insisted that if the workers didn’t want to go to the coke ovens, they had to sign training waivers which said they were refusing training, which was not in fact accurate. The fact that they were refusing placement in the coke ovens due to health concerns does not mean they were refusing training. read more
Information Update #24 June 21, 2012
U.S. Steel Overtime Soars with Workers Still Laid Off
Information Update has recently been informed that for the month of May, more than 5,400 hours of overtime were logged. As if this were not high enough, the amount of overtime and the percentage out of the total hours worked were actually more in the months of January to April.
This is the case even though 35 employees are still laid off. It proves that the Company is irrational. Not only are the layoffs unconscionable but new hires are urgently required as the Union has been saying all along.
Will the Harper government which is legislating all kinds of changes to force unemployed workers to take unsuitable jobs at a 15 to 30 per cent wage reduction hold U.S. Steel to account for this irresponsible behaviour?
There are presently about 530 workers in the plant; 32 are in the second utilities training course at Mohawk College; 14 are working temporarily at the Nelson Pickle lines, and 35 are laid off. read more
Information Update #23 June 14, 2012
Arbitration Hearing Gets Underway
The first day of the arbitration case dealing with the firing of a probationary employee who was pregnant was held on June 12, 2012. It was not possible to hear all the Company’s case on day one so a continuation is scheduled for July 3. On that day the Union will present its case after the Company finishes presenting its version of events.
Several workers attended the hearing. They told Information Update that despite their many years of dealing with Company scams they could not believe their ears on hearing the Company’s self-serving rendition of events. The word amongst the steelworkers is that the Company has embroiled itself in a real Peyton Place-type saga and it will rue the day it took its duty to train new hires unprofessionally and non-seriously. The Union is eager to see justice served in this case. read more
Information Update #22 June 7, 2012
Arbitration Hearing Convened
Local 1005 Contests Firing of Pregnant Probationary Employee
On June 12, the arbitration case will be heard into U.S. Steel’s firing of a pregnant probationary employee on December 2, 2011 after the phony lockout was over. The case will be heard at 10 am at the Sheraton Hotel.
The employee was fired with only 16 hours left in her probation. From the date she was hired on September 7, 2010, her training lasted less than a month before the blast furnace was shut down on October 4, 2010. From that time until the phony lockout, the workers were assigned clean up and painting jobs. When the lockout was over, this employee was assigned janitorial duties. She was then fired with 16 hours left on probation. To boot, she was left stranded and penniless because, as a result of the fact that the 11-month lockout was phony and all workers qualified for EI during that time, when the company fired her she was not eligible for EI and had to live on social assistance.
Since she was probationary, the Company argues that just cause is not required and that the matter does not fall under Union jurisdiction.
The Union argues that she was not given an opportunity to train properly, was never informed that her performance was unsatisfactory and to fire her when pregnant violates her human rights. The Union argues jurisdiction in the case since the treatment of probationary employees is in the contract and in this case the Company not only lacks just cause but fired a pregnant woman rendering her destitute. read more
Information Update #21 May 31, 2012
Information Picket Against U.S. Steel’s Violation of Collective Agreement
Monday, June 4 – 3:30 pm
Downtown Hamilton – Corner of King and James
U.S. Steel’s blatant violation of the basic agreement demands an answer. The union has already filed a grievance but is this enough?
The Company has laid off more than 40 workers while hiring 50 retirees into salaried positions to perform jobs that belong to unionized workers. These salaried staff are not permitted to do union jobs, just train people. The Company uses the excuse that the laid off workers are production employees, not trades people. It says that on each shift there are now salaried employees working on the lines because there is nobody to train.
So long as the workers are left no recourse but to grieve the contract violation and governments refuse to hold companies like U.S. Steel to account, the Company can repeat that it has no one to train. It thinks it can get away with acting with impunity.
Far from holding companies to account, look at how the Harper government just smashed the right of CP workers to collectively bargain for the wages, benefits and working conditions they require to safely do their jobs and protect the safety of the population and environment. The company knew the government would pass back-to-work legislation and it did not negotiate with the workers. Railway workers work very long hours which ruins their health and their family and social lives. Now the company demands that their pensions earned on the basis of long hours of overtime be reduced, calls the CP workers greedy and blames them for putting the economy in jeopardy! CP demands that the workers be on call 24 hours a day, and they can go for days without proper sleep, but it does not complain that this jeopardizes lives and the economy. This is perfectly legal and the workers have no redress, not even by negotiating their working conditions. read more
Local 1005 supports the CP rail workers on May 25, 2012
Employment Insurance Protest
Picket at Diane Finley's office at 76 Kent Street South, Simcoe, Monday, May 28, 2012 at 4 p.m. To protest the latest proposed changes to EI. Leaving the Local 1005 union hall at 3 pm. Call 905-547-1417 for more info.
Information Update #20 May 24, 2012
Operations at the Plant More of U.S. Steel’s Incoherence
Information Update was informed that the company recently re-assigned two employees who have been training as roll grinders (which requires extensive training to become proficient); one was sent to operate a crane in the cold mill and the other to shipping.
This stops the employees’ training and the job of roll grinder is now being performed by the salaried employees. It is a blatant violation of the collective agreement, especially since several laid off workers are qualified crane persons.
Besides showing how arbitrary the Company is, it once again proves what the Union has been saying – that to run the plant properly, the Company needs these laid off workers but the Company thinks it knows better. U.S. Steel is already in crisis mode and the cold mill and galvanize lines are not even running at full capacity. But the Company prefers to be high-handed than to do things in a proper and humane manner.
It is also reported that the company does not have enough employees in the coke ovens to provide proper heat relief and vacation coverage, or in the ore docks to provide training so that the employees are able to operate all the machines in the docks.
The Union has put in a policy grievance but is also discussing these developments at its Thursday meetings. “What is outrageous about this whole scenario is that the Company can do whatever it likes, even break the contract. If the workers take any action it is immediately declared illegal and the full force of the law is immediately used against them,” Grievance Chair Jake Lombardo told Information Update. “We don’t accept that,” he said. read more
Local 1005 Stands With the Community to support Students in Quebec Tuesday, May 22 at 3:30 pm at King and James St. Hamilton
We invite you to stand with us on Tuesday, May 22 at 3:30pm at King St. & James St. (in downtown Hamilton by Jackson Square). During this time, massive demonstrations will be taking place across Quebec to oppose Bill-78, recently passed by the Charest government with the aim of all-out criminalizing the student and social movements. In Hamilton, at that time, we will be joining an information picket to publicly oppose the bill and join our voices with those of Quebec`s people in saying No! to austerity and the sell-out of our public services to the monopolies.
Information Update #19 May 17, 2012
U.S. Steel Violates Collective Agreement
Last week Information Update wrote of a rumour that U.S. Steel planned to hire retired members of Local 1005 to perform jobs in the plant while 46 steelworkers are laid off. Information Update expressed its hope that these rumours would not turn out to be true. Unfortunately, we established that U.S. Steel did indeed canvas some 100 electrical, mechanical and utilities 1005 retirees and some retirees who have skills running the Z-line and the galvanize line to work in the plant on a contract basis. We are informed that about 50 retirees were subsequently hired as salaried employees, not hourly waged employees who would then be members of Local 1005. They started on Sunday, May 13, 2012 on a contract running until November 12, 2012. To their credit, another 50 or so retirees refused.
The rate for mechanical is about $33 an hour but the Company is paying these retirees about $40 an hour. What the Company is doing is a blatant violation of our contract.
Section 2.05(a) states that “Supervisors shall not do work ordinarily performed by bargaining unit employees except for (i) Instruction and training of employees, and (ii) Emergency work when employees are absent or not available when required.” The fact that these retirees are hired on salary means they can only work as supervisors to train employees to do the job. They cannot perform the jobs themselves. read more
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are pleased to welcome Local 1005 back to Ivor Wynne this season.
Stop by Scott Park before game For 1005 Tailgate!
Friday September 28th vs. Montreal Alouettes @7:00 pm
$15 per ticket Limit of 4 per person Availability based on first come first serve
To purchase visit the 1005 Union Hall during business hours
Sales start May 16
Your Executive 2012
Information Update #18 May 10, 2012
Beginning the week of April 29, 46 workers were laid off by U.S. Steel at Hamilton Works. Despite the damage layoffs cause the individual workers, their families and the community, U.S. Steel ignored the union’s advice to train workers for the galvanize line. The first coils started going through the galvanize line on May 8; prime coils started on May 9. More trained workers would enable the company to run the line at 15 or 20 turns, which would also require trained employees to run the temper mill, the RTL, the batch anneal, etc.
Instead, not only did the company lay off the so-called unslotted workers, but there are rumours it seeks to hire retired union members as salaried employees to run the galvanize line. The Union sincerely hopes there is no truth to these rumours. If true, there will be hell to pay, an unnamed Union source told Information Update. read more
Information Update #17 May 3, 2012
May Day in Hamilton Saying Loud and Clear What We Stand For
May Day is marked all over the world as the day when workers and their allies engage in actions to give voice to their demands. Today, the major concern is their fight against the inhuman neoliberal system which is causing havoc in their lives and turning societies upside down. The fact that workers all over the world speak out on the same day, expressing demands which everyone has in common, shows the potential power of the working class movement to turn things around and stop the dangers which lie ahead.
In Hamilton, some 200 workers from different sectors of the economy and community members joined a contingent of members and retirees of Local 1005 USW for a rally, march and BBQ. Delegations from various CUPE locals, members of other steelworker locals, along with a delegation from CAW Local 222 Retirees and members from CAW Local 504 were present. read more
Information Update #16 April 26, 2012
Day of Mourning April 28
Declare an End to Workers Not Reporting Accidents for Fear of Reprisals!
- Gary Howe, Vice-President, Local 1005 USW -
On April 28 we take time to mourn the loss of those brothers and sisters who have been killed on the job. We remember them and we think about their families.
We reiterate our support for injured workers – they must receive the compensation to which they are entitled.
We also think about the brothers and sisters who have occupational illnesses and live in fear of losing benefits and pensions, instead of being looked after as they deserve.
Our thoughts go out to all the workers who have no union protection and are forced to work under unacceptable conditions, especially migrant workers, undocumented workers, national minority workers, women and youth.
We like to think that we have made major strides in preventing the workplace tragedies which take place. The fact is that so long as we do not control our working conditions and companies are able to put the almighty dollar ahead of human rights and concerns, we are in trouble. We face major challenges with corporations such as U.S. Steel that use behaviour-based safety programs.
At U.S. Steel Canada we have seen workers who affirmed their right to refuse unsafe work in the coke ovens fired quickly after invoking their rights. This is not only shameful in this day and age, but against the law. So how do companies get away with it? read more
Employment Insurance Sign up
All Laid Off Members from US Steel
We will have a sign up at the Union Hall all next week (April 30-May 4) for whoever needs assistance applying for EI. Any other questions will also be answered at the Union Hall or by phone @ 905 547 1417.
Information Update #15 April 19, 2012
Oppose the Layoffs! Layoffs Are Not Solutions!
Local 1005 has been informed that U.S. Steel plans to lay off no less than 50 workers after April 28, 2012. On Thursday, April 12, the Union was given a document outlining who is slated to be laid off allegedly because “their seniority and qualifications under 7.06 of the basic agreement do not keep them in the plant.”
The Union opposes these layoffs which are carried out for the Company’s self-serving reasons. All skilled steelworkers are a significant asset to the Company which should train them on all aspects of steel production so as to make sure it can carry out production on a sustained basis. Instead, the Company treats the workers as a liability, not an asset. read more
Information Update #14 April 12, 2012
Harper Government’s Bogus Freedom of Information Where Is the Information? Where Is the Freedom?
Shortly after the Federal Government announced that they had dropped their Investment Canada Act lawsuit against U.S. Steel, a member of the Local 8782 USW executive, on behalf of their local, sent a request to Industry Canada under the Access to Information Act:
“I would like information regarding the court settlement reached between U.S. Steel Inc. and the Federal Government of Canada. To be more specific, I would like a copy of the agreement’s terms and conditions resulting in settlement. Settlement was reached in December, 2011.” read more
Information Update #13 April 5, 2012
Local 1005 Participates in Rally Against Rio Tinto in Alma, Quebec
On March 31, 2012 a busload of Local 1005 USW members and pensioners, family members and friends travelled to Alma, Quebec to participate in the rally and demonstration called by the Syndicat des Métallos Local9490. The Local 1005 delegation joined the 8,000-strong demonstration which included Rio Tinto workers and their families and a broad participation from the community, as well as contingents of workers from all over Quebec along with a delegation from Kitimat, BC and another from Toronto. read more
Giovanni Spagnoli - 78 year old 1005 Pensioner runs in Round the Bay Race
Information Update #12 March 29, 2012
Local 1005 Says No! to the Austerity Budget!
With the release of the Ontario budget on March 27, 2012, it is important to keep two things in mind: we did not cause the deficit, and austerity measures will make things worse. Why is it that society is being forced to pay for a crisis it did not cause and for deficits run up, not in the public interest, but in the interest of a rich and powerful minority? Neither the federal nor provincial levels of government have a mandate from the people to impose an austerity agenda that will wreck our social infrastructure even further. This budget is unacceptable.
Besides this, Local 1005 condemns the threats made by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan when he introduced his budget. Referring to contract negotiations in the health and education sectors, he said, “[I]f no agreement can be struck to protect Ontario’s progress in education and health care, we are prepared to propose necessary administrative and legislative measures to protect the public from service disruptions.” read more
Information Update #11 March 22, 2012
Union Executive in Its Entirety Elected Through Acclamation
Local 1005 USW is pleased to inform you that the entire executive of Local 1005 USW was elected through acclamation following a one month call for nominations and a membership nomination meeting held at the union hall on March 14. The executive is:
President: Rolf Gerstenberger
Vice-President: Gary Howe
Recording Secretary: Dennis Van Meer
Financial Secretary: Ron Wells
Treasurer: Tony McLaughlin
Trustees (3): Joe Cantwell, John Davis, Tim Blackborow
Guards (2): Jim McColl, Dan Bates
Guide: Gary Seguin
Plant Grievance Chairman: Jake Lombardo
Grievance Secretary: Ron Wells
Division 1 Grievance Chairman: Dennis Van Meer
Division 2 Grievance Chairman: no nominations
Division 4 Grievance Chairman: John Davis
MANA Unit Chairperson: Tim Blackborow
MANA Unit Secretary: Joe Mancini
MANA Unit Grievor: Keith Bain
“This executive will continue to fight to defend the rights of all active and retired members of Local 1005 in a manner which involves them in sorting out the problems they and the union face,’” Rolf Gerstenberger said. read more
Rolf Gerstenberger acclaimed as head of USWA 1005
Union leader Rolf Gerstenberger has been re-elected to another three-year term at the head of United Steel Workers Local 1005.
Gerstenberger and the entire executive, ran unopposed at the local’s nomination meeting.
"This executive will continue to fight to defend the rights of all active and retired members of Local 1005 in a manner which involves them in sorting out the problems they and the union face," Gerstenberger said in a news release.
"We face an uncertain future but this is not a reason to panic or fend for ourselves as the company would like us to do. They would like workers to think that they can cut better deals as individuals than if we all stand together and fight for what belongs to us by right," Gerstenberger added.
Returning leaders include vice-president Gary Howe, recording secretary Dennis Van Meer, financial secretary Ron Wells, treasurer Tony McLaughlin and plant grievance chairman Jake Lombardo
Tim Blackborow was also acclaimed as chairman of the 1005 unit at the Max Aicher North America plant.
Gerstenberger added governments must be held to account when it comes to upholding workers' pensions.
The endorsement follows a lengthy and bitter lock out of Local 1005 members at U. S. Steel. The company locked the gates to enforce its demands for radical changes to pension plans.
Once so large it had to hold its meetings at Ivor Wynne Stadium, Local 1005 now has about 650 members. read more
Information Update #10 March 15, 2012
Worrisome Situation at Dofasco
You Be the Judge
- Jake Lombardo -
Do you remember this?: Our Product Is Steel, Our Strength Is People! Where have these words from Dofasco’s catchy slogan gone? Is it true today?
After speaking with my relatives and friends, it is a real shock to hear what is happening to Dofasco workers and retirees. They comment that they did everything that was asked of them. They didn’t organize to get a union; there were no work disruptions – they just went to work and did their jobs. They kept their mouths shut and got whatever raises or benefits the Stelco workers got. Sometimes, to keep them quiet, they even got a little more. All this ended last October. As soon as U.S. Steel was finally able to extort concessions from the Stelco workers, especially closing the pension plan to new hires, ArcelorMittal Dofasco sent a letter to all employees – 10 days later – saying it too would be closing the plan to new hires. Now Dofasco management is coming after the workers, both active and retired, for even more.
Going forward it wants a defined contribution plan for new hires; it wants to cut health care; cut vacations; get rid of pre-retirement for those who don’t have 30 years; get rid of life insurance; change the formula for the fund and who knows what else. read more
Information Update #9 March 8, 2012
Worrisome Situation at Dofasco
Some Changes to Dofasco Workers’ Benefits
During the week of March 5, the workers at Dofasco are being called into meetings and informed that:
• if they do not have 30 years of service as of January 1, 2012 they will not receive the 10 week plus 5 week “service award” when they retire;
• dental coverage is reduced from 80% coverage to 65% coverage;
• dispensing fees on prescriptions will no longer be paid;
• the company will only cover generic drugs;
• new hires after January 1, 2012 will not receive benefits when they retire; and
• vacations will be capped at five weeks for new hires.
Workers will receive documents outlining the changes to the various savings funds by the end of this week. read more
Information Update #8 March 1, 2012
Defending Our Pension Plan Local 1005 Sets up Volunteer
Committee to Study “Framework Document on Risk?Based Regulation”
Local 1005 continues to be concerned over attempts by companies such as U.S. Steel to get out of their pension obligations. Already attempts to undermine our pension plan have been made through fraudulent bankruptcy proceedings and by closing the defined benefit plan to new hires, thereby setting the stage to eliminate the defined benefit plan altogether. In addition, governments at various levels are refusing to provide a secure retirement at a Canadian standard to all Canadians. read more
EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS FOR ELECTIONS
For the NEXT THREE (3) YEAR TERM
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT CANDIDATES SHALL BE NOMINATED FROM THE FLOOR AT THE NOMINATION MEETING OR MAY BE SUBMITTED IN ADVANCE ON A FORM PROVIDED BY THE LOCAL UNION.
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14TH, 2012 @ 4:15 P.M.
LOCAL 1005 OFFICE
350 KENILWORTH AVE. NORTH
Membership Meeting Agenda
Information Update #7 February 23, 2012
Local 1005 USW Delegation Visits Locked-Out Rio Tinto Workers
On February 18, a delegation of Local 1005 USW visited the locked out Rio Tinto workers in Alma, Quebec. During the visit Local 1005 announced its worker-driven nation-wide Adopt-a-Worker campaign to raise $77,800 a month to support the locked-out workers. The Alma workers loudly applauded when President Rolf Gerstenberger said it was to give individual workers and their local unions in every province and sector of the economy the opportunity to raise their voice against what these multinationals are doing to extort concessions and impose unfettered monopoly right and the refusal of governments to hold them to account. “When we support you, we fight for ourselves. Your struggle is our struggle,” Rolf said. read more
Alma Quebec lockout video 2012
Information Update #6 February 16, 2012
Local 1005 USW Starts Adopt-a-Worker
Campaign to Support Rio Tinto Workers in Alma, Quebec
Local 1005 USW is informing you about its Adopt-a-Worker Campaign in support of the 778 workers locked out by Rio Tinto Alcan in Alma, Quebec. The aim of the campaign is to raise $77,800 a month on the basis of a $100 contribution per Alma worker from local unions, individuals and organizations across the country.
Local 1005 USW calls on you to help make the campaign a success by contributing what you can and getting others to contribute. This mobilization will inform workers coast to coast to coast of what Rio Tinto Alcan is doing and the courageous struggle of the Alma workers to defend their rights. From Alma, Rio Tinto will move its offensive to plants it plans to close in Quebec and abroad, as well as to Kitimat, BC where the contract expires this July.
By letting the Alma workers know that their fight is our fight, this mobilization will contribute to defeating any attempt by Rio Tinto to isolate them and their just fight against the company’s demand for unfettered subcontracting rights. read more
Information Update #5 February 9, 2012
U.S. Steel Reports 2011
U.S. Steel’s 2011 report sets a somewhat optimistic tone for continued recovery in North America. Steelworkers, however, should read it with caution as it is meant to encourage investors, not explain how things really stand. While it sets an optimistic tone, it is clear it hedges its bets for the coming period to calculate how all the uncertainties will play out, including the contract negotiations with its American workforce.
Despite this, Information Update points out that the report has nothing in common with the Chicken Little sensational comments in the local newspaper that the sky is falling on Hamilton Works, which we conclude are socially irresponsible and meant to discourage workers and have them accept economic collapse as inevitable. Coupled with the devastating news about the closure of the Caterpillar/EMD plant in London, workers are supposed to feel powerless because they have been rendered voiceless by governments whose only mission is to cater to the demand of the monopolies to be competitive on global markets.
This goes to the heart of our problem with the U.S. Steel report. The report marginalizes steelworkers in general and Canadians in particular. It reduces the actual producers of the wealth, that Pittsburgh is divvying up at our expense, to passive on?lookers of their own fate. All control and decision?making is centred in private hands in Pittsburgh. read more
Information Update #4 February 2, 2012
Chicken Little Squawks Again – Buyer Beware
Sensationalism in journalism is nothing new but the Hamilton Spectator seems to take the cake. Call us naive but the extent of its social irresponsibility never ceases to amaze us. It seems to be very keen to rile people up. What unknown greater purpose is served by trying to panic steelworkers and their families and the businesses which depend on them?
In our opinion, the Spec’s banner headline published February 1 was sensationalist and so was the story. The headline read, “A Blow to Steeltown – No Steelmaking in Hamilton Plant in Foreseeable Future.” The story spoke about layoffs in the offing as a result and created an overall impression of impending doom.
The union was on the January 31 conference call between U.S. Steel CEO John Surma and analysts and investors. Not only does the headline fail to convey that Surma was talking about expectations for the first quarter 2012 but the story’s focus on layoffs created a wrong impression. In our opinion it is inflammatory. The workers already know that guarantee of employment for workers in the steelmaking departments was only 26 weeks.
If this isn’t an example of Chicken Little squawking that the sky is falling when this time even an acorn didn’t fall on his head, we don’t know what is. The fact remains that the CEO did not announce anything the workers did not already know. The Spec’s headline could have read, “Nothing New, CEO Says.” read more
Information Update #3 January 26, 2012
London Day of Action Local 1005 Joins Thousands Supporting Caterpillar Workers
Information Update #2 January 12, 2012
Canadian and U.S. Workers Stand as One
As we reported last week, Electro- Motive Diesel/Caterpillar in London, Ontario has locked out its 400 workers and is demanding they submit to draconian conditions which include wage cuts of up to 50%, elimination of benefits and pensions, and threats to move production to Muncie, Indiana. Reports are circulating that the company is advertising for managers for the Muncie operation. The ads require experience in a “non-union” environment.
U.S. Steel Must Train Current Workers
During the 2010-2011 negotiations, when the final agreement on the new contract was reached, U.S. Steel made an issue that it would start up production of the Finishing End (the Cold Mill and Z-line) but it would not start up the Blast Furnace for the foreseeable future. It said it would employ all 622 workers for 26 weeks, but 150 workers were “unslotted” – they would not hold jobs in the reduced production schedule. The union maintained that the 26 week period should be used to train the so-called unslotted in production jobs, especially in the Cold Mill and Z-Line areas which are short of qualified people due to retirements. The company agreed that this was a good idea and gave the impression that this would be done. Now, three months later, so called unslotted workers have yet to be trained to do the Finishing end, but the company wants to increase the shifts the plant is going to run and there are not enough trained workers. What should the workers do about that? read more
Hamilton Labour Joins OFL’s Day of Action Against Caterpillar and Corporate Greed
The Hamilton and District Labour Council is chartering buses to take workers and solidarity partners to London for the massive rally in support of the members of CAW Local 27 who were locked out New Years Day by Electro-Motive Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. industrial giant Caterpillar Inc. This profitable employer is demanding a 50% pay cut and deep concessions to pensions and benefits. They also intend to use scabs to keep the plant operational, although many suspect the real agenda is to move the work to Indiana.
In the words of OFL President Sid Ryan, this rally will “define 2012 as a year of labour action and solidarity”.
Get on the Bus!
Buses will depart at 8:00 am on Saturday, January 21, 2012 from 1130 Barton St. East in Hamilton. The rally takes place at Victoria Park ( Wellington St and Dufferin Ave) in London starting at 11:00 am
To register for a seat on the bus, call the Labour Council at 905 547 2944 or send an e-mail to
Information Update #1 January 5, 2012
Local 1005 USW Expresses Fighting Unity
with Rio Tinto and EMD Workers
Local 1005 USW expresses its militant support for the just cause of the workers opposing Rio Tinto in Alma, Quebec and Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ontario. Both companies are attempting to impose narrow self-serving interests onto the workers at the expense of everything and everyone, no matter what damage it causes.
The issue for the workers in Alma and London is the same as the issue we face: how to make our fight effective. Local 1005 spent more than 11 months fighting a phony lock out because U.S. Steel thought that it could use the mafia method of extortion to achieve its aims. We learned that it is by opposing the very thought that problems can be sorted out by resorting to acting with impunity that we can find a way forward. It is not always so obvious what the way forward will be, but definitely, we know that concessions where we give up our security and cannot exercise our rights are definitely not a solution to anything. Even these companies keep coming back for more! The demands these companies make on us are to deprive us of a guaranteed security in retirement and a livelihood on the basis of which we can sustain ourselves and our families and our regions and have peace of mind and live in dignity, not on bended knee. Whether it is pensions or demands to contract out or reduce our wages or any other demand, these companies refuse to negotiate. It is their way or the highway. read more
A Very Special Thank-You From USW Local 1005
On behalf of the Executive, Members both active and retired we would like to thank the Hamilton Community, the Unions and the Businesses who stood strong behind us in our fight against U.S. Steel during the 11 month Lock Out.
Without your help our struggles would have been much harder to deal with. People like you who defended and supported our efforts did not go unnoticed. We greatly appreciate your assistance and we would like to wish you all. Click on the link below to see the names of the individuals and groups that supported us.
SEASONS GREETINGS FROM LOCAL 1005
Information Update #45 December 15, 2011
Harper Government Capitulates to U.S. Steel
Local 1005 USW condemns the Harper government for letting U.S. Steel off the hook for the damage it has caused the Hamilton region steel communities since seizing Stelco in 2007. The announced $50 million settlement in the Attorney-General’s lawsuit is a pittance compared with the hundreds of millions of dollars in actual and potential value that U.S. Steel has ripped out of our communities.
U.S. Steel’s commitment to continue operations only until 2015 sounds like a threat to close operations completely at that time and abandon the pension funds. Local 1005 will immediately step up the work to defend the pension funds using all means at our disposal. We have not received any guarantees either from the company or from governments that they will make the pension funds secure and whole by 2015. On the contrary, U.S. Steel executives have made threats saying that the pension funds and other benefits are not their responsibility as they were contracted with Stelco. read more
Information Update #44 December 8, 2011
USW Basic Steel Industry Conference Canadian Steelworkers Stand with
American Steelworkers as They Prepare for 2012 Contract Negotiations
On Dec. 1, the United Steelworkers held a Basic Steel Industry Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to prepare for the 2012 contract negotiations. A Local 1005 USW delegation comprised of President Rolf Gerstenberger and executive members Dennis Van Meer, Tony Mclaughlin and Ron Wells joined 200 other delegates representing USW locals across the U.S. and Canada employed in the steel industry, including those at U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal.
The negotiations involve 41,000 American steelworkers whose contracts expire in September 2012. The conference received eleven presentations on issues of concern to the negotiations including an assessment of the industry prepared by “Steel Market Intelligence” and power point presentations on “The U.S. and World Markets”; “Raw Material Update”; “Taking on the Global Economy,” amongst others. Information was also presented on the status of the Steelworker Pension Trust and the Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association (VEBA) plans. These are programs which the USW has put in place since the steel industry abandoned more than 240,000 pensioners from 2000 to 2003 and because of the imposition of two-tier pension plans – the defined benefit plan and the defined contribution plan. read more
Information Update #43 December 1, 2011
Local 1005 Thanks Ontario Workers and Unions for Support
Four executive members of Local 1005 USW, Rolf Gerstenberger, Gary Howe, Dennis Van Meer and Jake Lombardo attended the Ontario Federation of Labour Convention from Nov. 21-25. They exchanged experiences with many of the 1,400 delegates attending the Convention. During the strike appeal session, Rolf specifically thanked the OFL and the many workers and union locals for their support during the 11-month phony lock-out imposed on the steelworkers by U.S. Steel. He emphasized the significance of the opposition by workers and their unions to the attacks of the monopolies, denouncing the back to work legislation against postal workers and Air Canada workers as well as attempts by corporations like Vale Inco and U.S. Steel to act with impunity. read more
Information Update # 42 November 24, 2011
Steelworkers and Rail Car Workers Call Demonstration in Support of Canadian Wheat Board
We are demonstrating on Friday against the Harper government’s wanton destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). His actions to railroad through Parliament Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, even though the majority of Prairie farmers oppose it, has significant ramifications for the livelihoods and way of life of not just prairie farmers but also the rest of us. Because of the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement (CETA) and now the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the plan is to also dismantle all marketing boards. This will profoundly affect Ontario and Quebec farmers and the way of life of all Canadians. All those who work in industries related to food processing and the agricultural sector will also be affected, as will everybody because we all eat food. read more
Information Update # 41 November 17, 2011
Anniversary of U.S. Steel’s Phony Lock Out
Necessity to Hold Governments to Account
On November 21, the Ontario Legislature opens with a Speech from the Throne. On the same day, an “Economic Summit” gets underway as does the Convention of the Ontario Federation of Labour. In all of this a crucial question for steelworkers and the people of Hamilton is: Who is going to hold governments to account?
The “Speech from the Throne” is sure to tell us all how we must tighten our belts for the greater good while the government continues the course started by Mike Harris to open Ontario for business. In the name of prosperity and job creation, everything was done to cut spending on social programs and gut them. Talk about eliminating deficits and reducing debt under Mike Harris increased the debt and, since then under McGuinty, jobs have continued to disappear with increasing speed and tons of money has been handed over to corporations in the name of job creation. In the case of the former Stelco, a $150 million “loan” upon exiting bankruptcy protection made $100 million forgivable if the company, now U.S. Steel, meets its commitments under the law to make the pension fund solvent. If that is not cynical, what is? read more
Christmas 2011 Plant Gate Collection
Wednesday December 14th, 2011 Main Gate
5:30am – 7:00pm
As the festive season draws near our thoughts go out to those less fortunate.
Please take this opportunity to help by giving generously.
We will do everything possible to keep the traffic going smoothly.
click here for more details
Information Update # 40 November 10, 2011
Return to Work
Union Keeps Foremen in Line
Overall the Union and workers report that the return to work at Hamilton Works is going smoothly. Most of the workers have reported back with only 25 members still missing. The main problem the Union is looking out for and dealing with is any attempts foremen might make to circumvent the seniority rules in order to place someone they favour in a job which rightly belongs to someone else.
As you know, the Company announced it would not be starting up the Hamilton Works’ blast furnace which refers to the primary end of the operation. They are only running the coke ovens, by-products, the cold mill and the Z-line. This requires about 500 workers but the workers forced them to take back all 733 current employees for at least 26 weeks. This requires that all workers are placed in the jobs they are entitled to and that all workers are provided the required training for the job, especially those who would normally be working in the primary end.
The Union committee in charge of the return to work is comprised of Jake Lombardo, Ron Wells and Dennis Van Meer. They report that after the contract was accepted four weeks ago, the first three weeks were dedicated to the safety and health training for our members. The workers came back in three waves. The Union and Company have been meeting on a weekly basis to have a smooth transition and get the right people in so we can remove salaried people off bargaining unit jobs, Jake explained. read more
Information Update # 39 November 3, 2011
U.S. Steel Executives Report 3rd Quarter Results
U.S. Steel’s 3rd qt results and October 25 conference call have little information directly related to Hamilton or Lake Erie Works. One of the few comments came from CEO Surma who said, “With the ratification of a new three-year labour agreement at Hamilton Works on October 15, 2011, we expect to restart the steel finishing facilities in a staged process late in the fourth quarter. In addition to the idled facility carrying costs [reported at $40 million per quarter. – Information Update], we expect to incur approximately $30 million in costs related to the ratification of the Hamilton Works labour agreement and associated facility restart costs.” read more
$1,000 Pension Payment
The ratification one time Lump Sum payment of $1,000 will be paid out to all eligible pensioners the last week of November 2011.
Information Update # 38 October 26, 2011
Workers Start Returning to Work
U.S. Steel has a policy that before workers can return to work after layoffs, strikes or lockouts they must undergo a week of health and safety training.
Beginning October 18, 2011, 210 workers started returning to work for 40 hours of health and safety training. They are assigned to various jobs in the coke ovens, cold mill and Z-line departments. The second group of about 205 workers began their health and safety training on October 24 with the final group beginning October 31.
Local 1005 would like to bring to your attention that each group of returning workers should have 250 workers. It is therefore clear that the rosters of returning workers are not complete. read more
Information Update # 37 October 18, 2011
Tentative Agreement Ratified
On Saturday October 15, members of Local 1005 USW ratified a three-year contract with U.S. Steel. With 612 of 733 eligible voters casting a ballot, 61 per cent voted in favour of the contract and 39 per cent were opposed.
Local 1005 pointed out after the vote that all members were well informed about the contract. “We wanted to make sure all our members were fully aware of the situation they face and of the responsibilities towards not just themselves and their families, but also towards the retirees, the future generation of workers, their union and their community,” Local 1005 President Rolf Gerstenberger pointed out.
It is also clear that practically nobody was pleased with the contract which contains the two major concessions U.S. Steel would not budge on – it gives up indexing on pensions and deprives new hires of a defined benefit pension plan. Despite this, to the best of their ability and for as long as it still had meaning, active and retired members of Local 1005 showed U.S. Steel in no uncertain terms that Hamilton steelworkers will kow-tow to noone.
Tentative Agreement Has Been Ratified!
The contract was accepted by 61 %. We have made a huge effort so that the members can make an informed vote on whether to accept or reject this contract. We wanted to ensure that they are fully aware of the situation they face and of the responsibilities towards not just themselves and their families, but also towards the retirees, the future generation of workers, their union and their community. This whole process has shown that there are serious challenges facing us going forward.
To our Members: We have met with the company and they will start returning members to the plant as early as Tuesday October 18, 2011 for Health & Safety training for a week. This training will take place over the course of three weeks. Once your safety training has been completed you will be placed in the plant. The company will start making phone calls to all active members starting tomorrow October 16, 2011 to advise you of your return to work date. Benefits will be effective tomorrow Sunday October 16, 2011.
If you have changed your phone number since the lockout of November 7, 2010 you need to call the company and inform them of your current phone number. If you intend to retire you can pick up Intent to Retire form at the Union Hall. Any other questions can be answered by calling the Union Hall 905 547 1417.
A Tentative Settlement Between
United Steelworkers Local 1005
U.S. Steel Canada Inc.
- Hamilton Works
Highlights of the three-year agreement
see details here
Information Update #36 October 11, 2011
U.S. Steel’s Attempts to Argue “Common Sense” in Federal Court Backfire
When Arrogance and Stickhandling Give Rise to Abject Humiliation
1. (of a situation or condition) Extremely bad, unpleasant, and degrading.
2. contemptible; despicable; base-spirited: an abject coward. 3. shamelessly servile; slavish.
Synonyms: miserable - mean - vile - wretched - despicable - poor
Information Update is happy to report that on October 6, steelworkers won a small victory in federal court. All the definitions of the word abject above apply to what steelworkers witnessed there when U.S. Steel lost its appeal for the second time. “It was truly amazing to see the mighty U.S. Steel brought to its knees for its incredible arrogance of thinking that it could appeal a second time the same decision it already lost once despite having absolutely no new law to argue,” Local 1005 USW President Rolf Gerstenberger, present in the court, told Information Update. read more
Information Update #35 October 3, 2011
Workers Outraged at U.S. Steel’s Refusal to Negotiate in Good Faith
Well over 1,000 active members of Local 1005 and retirees filled the hall where the September 29 Information Meeting on the status of contract talks with U.S. Steel was held. They received a report on the latest developments from President Rolf Gerstenberger, with additional presentations by other members of the Local’s Negotiating Committee Jake Lombardo, Tony McLaughlin and Gary Howe.
The workers applauded the Negotiating Committee’s rejection of the company’s refusal to negotiate and the union’s refusal to dignify the company’s arrogant demand for an answer to what it called its “offer” with a response. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #34 September 26, 2011
Local 1005 to Hold Second Information Meeting
Please be informed that on September 29 Local 1005 USW is holding a Second Information Meeting to update its members and retirees on the status of its contract talks with U.S. Steel. As you know, Local 1005 met with the company on September13. It then held a Membership Meeting on September14 and a President’s Forum (the Thursday meeting) on September 15. At both meetings, the Negotiating Committee informed members and retirees about the Company offer. It then met with the company once again on September 19 to present the workers’ concerns about the Company’s offer following which the Local held an Information Meeting on September 21. read more
Information Update #33 September 19, 2011
USW Local 1005 to Hold Information Meeting on Negotiations
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 – 7:00 pm
Michaelangelo Banquet Centre
1555 Upper Ottawa St., Hamilton
A week ago, on September 13, US Steel presented USW Local 1005 with what it said was a new comprehensive offer of settlement for a new contract. Local 1005’s Negotiating Committee received the offer and adjourned the meeting until today. It then presented the offer to the Local Executive and a verbal report on the offer to its monthly membership meeting on September 14. It proposed a motion which passed unanimously to hold an information meeting on Wednesday, September 21 “so that the Negotiating Committee can present a report on the offer and the workers can receive the information they require to consider all their options.”
The resolution noted that the offer presented by U.S. Steel is “substantially the same as the offer presented prior to locking the workers out on November 7, 2010, as concerns the demands to give up indexing of pensions and permitting new hires to go into a defined contribution plan instead of being part of the defined benefit plan. read more
Information Update #32 September 12, 2011
To All Active and Retired Members and the Hamilton Community
Negotiations with U.S. Steel What Can We Expect?
As you know, a lawyer for U.S. Steel called USW Local 1005 to inform us that U.S. Steel would present us with a new comprehensive offer on September 13. Since then, active and retired workers have been mulling over what to expect and where we go from here.
In this regard, a general opinion has emerged that says the workers do not expect much from U.S. Steel as concerns what they will offer. They expect it to be a refurbished version of the same demands. They wonder whether U.S. Steel will use the occasion to again challenge the union to hold a vote on its demands. One rumour has it that U.S. Steel is too cynical for its own good and that if no settlement is reached before the winter, it will wait until the cold sets in and workers are suitably starving to call a vote at that time. read more
Information Update #31 September 5, 2011
U.S. Steel Calls Conciliator
We are pleased to inform you that on August 31, 2011 we received a call from the conciliator informing us that U.S. Steel had a comprehensive settlement to offer USW Local 1005. A meeting has been organised for September 13, 2011 to put the offer on the table for discussion.
USW Local 1005 can only consider the fact that this meeting has been called by USS to be a positive development. We have of course accepted the invitation to attend the meeting.
In October 2010, before U.S. Steel imposed its phony lockout, it categorically declared that no negotiations on a new contract would take place unless USW Local 1005 agreed to give up indexing of pensions and agree to close the pension plan to new hires. Since USW Local 1005 has definitely not submitted to this dictate, does the fact that USS has called a meeting and is to put a comprehensive offer on the table for discussion mean that it has given up its demand for these two preconditions and that finally we can engage in good faith bargaining? read more
Information Update #30 August 29, 2011
Hear Ye, Hear Ye – USW Local 1005 Weighs In
In approving an injunction against USW Local 1005, the judge declared that Local 1005 had provided no proof that the bricklayers crossing its picket line were scabs. This is a hilarious statement given, as the judge said, scabbing is legal in Ontario and that refuting proof of scabbing is not a requirement to grant an injunction! Despite this, several affected parties seem to think they have been vindicated by the judge’s pronouncement – notably Hamilton’s own Benedict Arnold, U.S. Steel’s “I lost my GPS” Trevor Harris and now several others who seem to think the bricklayers deserve an apology for being called scabs. So we thought we would weigh in on the matter.
By any definition one wants to use, performing the work of Local 1005 members, or facilitating others to perform the work of 1005 members, is scabbing. read more
Information Update #29 August 22, 2011
1.1 Billion Reasons Why U.S. Steel Should Settle with Local 1005
Lately we have all been reading the paper, listening to the radio and watching CH news and what do we read, see and hear? That U.S. Steel would rather crater Hamilton Works than settle with 1005.
Since November 7, 2010 when U.S. Steel locked the gates and put the workers on the streets, our Local permitted the company to keep the coke ovens running. In fact it has done everything possible to make sure the plant could be properly maintained and that the coke ovens would not be harmed as a result of U.S. Steel’s shutdown. As concerns the work on the treatment plant, the company that was doing the work to build the coke oven water treatment plant pulled out its equipment once the lock-out occurred and U.S. Steel has never raised the issue with the Union. read more
Information Update #28 August 12, 2011
What It Means to Be Realistic
Analyzing the objective conditions in the steel sector, the conclusions we draw from this analysis are in sharp contrast to the contempt for us expressed by U.S. Steel executive managers and our local Hamilton newspaper and the boorish comments from the steel experts it generally quotes.
In reporting on the demands of Local 1005 members and retirees for their rights against the unjust refusal of executive managers of U.S. Steel to bargain in good faith, the fluctuation of steel prices since 2009 is raised as a reason why our demands are not realistic. The issue of steel prices has long concerned Local 1005. We have said consistently that these price fluctuations are detrimental to the economy and not sustainable, especially in a crucial basic sector such as steel. read more
Information Update #27 August 5, 2011
Negotiating Committee Gets Resounding Endorsement
The Spirit of ’46 Alive and Well at Local 1005!
On August 3 USW Local 1005 held a Special Meeting at the request of 13 union members to consider the question: Do you support the strategy of the negotiating committee? More than 1,200 active and retired members of Local 1005 attended the meeting. President Rolf Gerstenberger presented the report of the negotiating committee, followed by ninety minutes of discussion. More than 25 people spoke to the question and then the assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of the negotiating committee. Of 510 active members present (of a total of 680), only 30 voted against the union strategy.
Information Update #26 August 2, 2011
Time to Restart Production at Hamilton Works
The U.S. Steel shutdown of Hamilton Works is now entering its ninth month. The estimated cost to the company for the shutdown of steel production is around $77 million per quarter in direct costs and lost potential net earnings.
Economic conditions in the North American steel sector are now markedly different from last autumn when USS CEO John Surma said “bad economic conditions” forced the idling of the blast furnace at Hamilton Works and subsequent lock-out of USW Local 1005 steelworkers Nov. 7.
The refusal of CEO Surma to negotiate with Canadian employees at Hamilton Works is needlessly wasting valuable company revenue. Presently all North American USS mills except Hamilton Works are operating at near full capacity. The hit on net earnings is evident in the second quarter (2Q) USS financial report. The company admits that idling costs of Hamilton Works are $40 million per quarter. The loss in potential net earnings is similar. The figures show an average realized flat-rolled price per
ton of $803 for the quarter compared with $700 a year ago and a low of $647 during fourth quarter (4Q) 2010. The higher realized price and sales pushed up quarterly net earnings for the North American flat-rolled segment to $374 million compared to $111 million during the same quarter a year ago and a loss of $36 million for first quarter (1Q) 2011. The $374 million in net earnings for 2Q means the company missed approximately $37 million of potential net earnings for the quarter given that Hamilton Works accounts for 10 per cent of the flat-rolled segment. read more
Information Update 65th Anniversary Special Edition
65 Years and Still Fighting
On the occasion of the 65th Anniversary celebration of USW Local 1005, the Executive of Local 1005 greets all its members, pensioners, pensioner's spouses, the entire labour movement and all of Hamilton.
During World War II and in 1946, Stelco steelworkers of Local 1005 stood as one with their community and country to fight for a better world for themselves and others. They built a better world through their heroic struggles during the war against fascism, in '46 and throughout the years.
In 2011, we steelworkers are determined to defend what they built before us to which we contribute throughout our lives. We are determined to go forward to a secure future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. We did not inherit the Spirit of '46 to leave this world in worse shape than what we were given.
We thank all of our members for upholding the Spirit of '46 and fighting for themselves and others. We thank the trade union movement, the Hamilton community and others across Canada for standing with us in defending our rights and the rights of all. We firmly believe that our security lies in our struggle to defend our rights and the rights of all. read more
Information Update #24 July 18, 2011
Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre Joins Us to Celebrate 65th Anniversary of Local 1005!
Information Update is pleased to inform you that Hamilton’s Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre (WAHC) enthusiastically agreed to join the work to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the founding of USW Local 1005 and will be putting together a display for the July 23 all-day event at Gage Park. The Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre has extensive archives on the history of Local1005 and the labour movement in Hamilton and is preparing an exhibition under the theme “The Spirit of ’46.” The display which will be featured on July 23 is part of an exciting collaboration between the Centre and Local 1005 which will include producing an educational historical exhibit that will tour Steeltown in the fall. read more
Information Update #23 July 4, 2011
The People vs U.S. Steel
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath Joins Locked-Out Steelworkers on the Line
”I’m certainly not happy that a company like this can tell your retired sisters and brothers that the pensions they thought they’d earned aren’t going to be there. That’s just not the way we should be doing business in Ontario or Canada,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told locked-out steelworkers on the line on June 28.
Andrea, who is also the MPP for Hamilton Centre, was accompanied by David Christopherson, MP for Hamilton Centre, USW National Director Ken Neumann and introduced by Local 1005 President Rolf Gerstenberger. They were given a militant reception by about 100 workers. read more
Information Update #22 June 27, 2011
Rally in Support of Locked Out Steelworkers
The People vs. U.S. Steel
Local 1005 is pleased to inform you that on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, also our MPP for Hamilton Centre, will be visiting the picket line at the Wilcox Lockout gate to rally support for our just cause.
Since November 7, 2010, U.S. Steel has kept us in a phoney lockout. Its aim is to extort concessions on pensions despite the legal commitments it made to the Government of Ontario when it promised to maintain the current pension regime until 2015. read more
Information Update #21 June 21, 2011
U.S. Steel’s Pyrrhic Victory
Despite Injunction Steelworkers Still Have 8.6 Million Reasons Why No Means No!
In thirty minutes on the morning of June 16, 2011, the Ontario Superior Court approved an application for a permanent injunction submitted to the Superior Court by the Attorney General of Canada (AG), restraining United Steelworkers Local 1005 “from impeding or delaying the operation of the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge; and delaying any ship from entering or leaving Hamilton Harbour.”
The AG was named as the applicant and Rolf Gerstenberger as an individual and as a representative of the members of USW Local 1005 and persons presently unidentified, were named as the respondents.
The workers packed the courtroom and demonstrated outside the hearing against the move to criminalize their attempts to hold U.S. Steel to account for the economic damage it is causing the workers, their families and Hamilton by using its dominant position to extort concessions from the workers. read more
Information Update #20 June 13, 2011
Steelworkers Defend Themselves and Their City
It is already known that on Friday (June 10) the Superior Court approved two interim injunctions against USW Local 1005. Steelworkers and citizens of Hamilton are once again amazed by the speed with which injunctions are passed against the workers whose only “crime” is to defend their rights while the companies can operate with impunity and this is not considered a problem at all.
“For more than seven months the workers have been subjected to a phoney lock?out,” Rolf Gerstenberger told Information Update. “Prior to that it was shutdowns and layoffs, a workforce cut down through attrition, etc. The economic interests of the workers and the city of Hamilton are harmed to the tune of millions of dollars in lost wages, taxes, and services. The lives of thousands upon thousands of human beings are disrupted – that is men, women, children and old folk who are forced into economic, mental and physical insecurity. Does the government threaten cease and desist orders against U.S. Steel? No! Does it resort to injunctions outlawing U.S. Steel from its harmful activities? No! But no sooner the actions of the steelworkers become effective, bam...what are called the ‘economic players’ together with various government departments, their representatives, lawyers and the courts go into action against the workers.” read more
Information Update #19 June 6, 2011
Steelworkers Upbeat About Their Anniversary
The preparations for Local 1005’s 65th Anniversary Celebration are in full swing. Information Update spoke with 1005 retiree and long time activist Tom Pollock, one of the organizers of the event. Tom said, “The preparations are looking very good. The businesses in the community are getting behind us with astronomical support. We have about 75% of the food commitments as well as the infrastructure is almost all complete. It will be a great day.”
Information Update also spoke with Executive Member Tony McLaughlin, who is also a member of the organizing committee. “There are five bands lined up to perform already,” Tony said. “They all have some connection with Stelco,” he said, adding that other entertainment is also lining up, especially for the children. “It is a family affair. It will be a great day,” he said. read more
Letter from Department of Justice to Local 1005
Lift Bridge video
Information Update #18 May 30, 2011
Join Local 1005 to Celebrate 65th Anniversary of Its Founding!
USW Local 1005 is inviting all members, pensioners, their families, friends and supporters and the entire Hamilton Community to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its founding on July 23, 2011. The anniversary will be kicked off with a celebration on Saturday, July 23, at Gage Park from 11:00 a.m. to 12 midnight. This is also an occasion to celebrate the contributions which all Hamiltonians have made during the past 65 years to make the community what it is today. Everyone is welcome! read more
To Affiliated locals and friends of the Hamilton and District Labour Council.
DO NOT CROSS THE PICKET LINE SET UP BY THE MEMBERS OF USW LOCAL 1005 WHO HAVE BEEN LOCKED OUT SINCE NOVEMBER 7, 2010.
Solidarity is essential if workers are to succeed in beating back the demands of unreasonable employers. This unity extends beyond those on strike or locked out to brothers and sisters in other unions. The labour movement has long maintained that attempts to break the resolve of fellow union members by crossing a picket line to assist their employer continue to operate, and, especially, to do the work of those on strike or locked out is contemptible and reprehensible. Such behaviour is intolerable and cannot stand! read full letter from HDLC
The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed US Steel's challenge to the constitutionality of the Investment Canada Act.
read full decision here
Information Update #17 May 24, 2011
Keep Stelco Producing!
Steelworkers and Community Members Oppose Removal of Stelco Coke
On the evening of May 18, some 70 workers and community members held a protest on the Hamilton Lift Bridge to stop Canada Steamship Lines’ vessel Paul Martin leaving with coke from Hamilton Works. Local 1005 Vice-President Gary Howe, reiterated to reporters that “there’s a demand for steel in Canada and we feel [U.S. Steel] should be starting up Hamilton and making steel in Canada for Canada.”
On Saturday, May 22, workers, pensioners and community members again occupied the bridge all day Saturday to prevent the same ship taking away another load.
Hamiltonians are adamant that the coke be used for its intended purpose of production at Hamilton Works. read more
Information Update #16 May 16, 2011
Local 1005 Did Not Lock Out Its Members –Why Are Some Forces Trying to Create Panic?
Since 2003, huge pressure has been put on Hamilton steelworkers to give up our pension plan while we have seen three different owners all take huge profits from Stelco.
It is important to calmly look at the current situation and see how ridiculous it would be to give in to the current corporate bully attack.
In my opinion, it is in U.S. Steel’s interest to start up Hilton Works again. But it still insists on getting workers to give in to their demands. Think about it – the price of steel has gone up considerably since we were locked out. U.S. Steel CEO John Surma even gave himself a $8.6 million raise but wants our 900 members to shaft new hires and vote to shaft our 9,000 pensioners because U.S. Steel says it won’t index pensioners’ pensions anywhere else.
I was present at the Steelworkers Hall on August 27, 2007, when CEO Surma, Chief Financial Officer Gretchen Haggerty and U.S. Steel representatives came up. Surma said U.S. Steel did its due diligence. U.S. Steel has no problem with our contract or pensions, and in fact they are such a good employer they put $400 million voluntarily into the U.S. Steel pension plans, Surma said.
USW Local 1005 President Rolf Gerstenberger responded saying that we were concerned about being the last Canadian steel company. U.S. Steel’s takeover of Stelco was analogous to U.S. Steel being bought by a foreign country such as China or Russia, he pointed out. Some guarantees were necessary, he said. Surma said he understood. They were not too happy with paying $38.50 a share for Stelco, Surma added.
This situation gave former Stelco CEO Rodney Mott and crew $1.2 billion in profit that they took out of the company when it was sold to U.S. Steel. read more
Speech on Parliament Hill May 1st 2011 by Rolf Gerstenberger
The Harper government is the worst since 1945. His government has no respect for the post-war norms that established certain equilibrium in society between the working class and monopolies. Every aspect of life is tilted towards serving big business including annexation of Canada to the U.S. Empire. The Harper regime and similar ones in Quebec and the provinces have no respect for the rights of Canadians, let alone recognize their sovereign right to decide their own affairs. The Harper regime must be stopped!
Today, the Harper government and others are annexing not only the economy but even government ministries, the armed forces and border agencies into a United States of North American monopolies and their wars of aggression and occupation. USW Local 1005 calls on workers across the country and in Quebec to take up the work to change the situation through your own efforts, no matter which party or combination of parties forms the next government. read more
Media Advisory: OFL President Sid Ryan to Join Sunday Rally on Parliament Hill for Pensions and Workers' Rights
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 29, 2011) - The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) will be joining locked-out members of USW Local 1005 as they take their protest about wages, pensions and foreign-ownership directly to Parliament Hill on the eve of the federal election. On Sunday, May 1, 2011, up to 20 busloads of Hamilton Steelworkers and supporters from different parts of the province will travel to Ottawa to demand that the federal government defend pensions and hold foreign-owned corporations accountable.
OFL President Sid Ryan will be speaking at the rally and will be on hand for media interviews.
||Hamilton steelworkers and supporters joined by OFL President Sid Ryan
||Rally to protest attacks on pensions and workers' rights in Canada
||1:00 p.m., Sunday, May 1, 2011
||Rally at Parliament Hill, Ottawa, followed by a march to Victoria Island
Information Update #14 April 29, 2011
Join Us on May 1st on Parliament Hill!
USW Local 1005 Calls on You to Take Up the Work to Change the Situation!
On November 2, 2010, in a meeting with a mediator, the union and U.S. Steel, U.S. Steel Canada dictated its terms to renew the collective agreement The Union must agree to end indexing for the 9,000 pensioners and to close the pension plan to new hires, U.S. Steel said. There were to be no negotiations unless these conditions were met.
Information Update # 13 April 25, 2011
Join Us on May 1st on Parliament Hill!
USW Local 1005 Calls on You to Take Up the Work to Change the Situation!
Hamilton Steelworkers and their supporters bring the fight for Canada’s pensioners and working families to Parliament Hill. We demand government that serves workers and their communities, not foreign corporations. Steelworkers Local 1005 members have been locked out of their jobs by U.S. Steel for six months. Fight back! read more
Information Update # 12 April 18, 2011
Concessions Are Not Solutions! 8.6 Million Reasons Why...
U.S. Steel should give up its phoney lock-out of Stelco workers and get back to producing steel, the workers are saying. Economically, U.S. Steel stands to gain more by making and selling steel than sustaining its phoney lock-out, they say. And this is true. When we say that “concessions are not solutions” it is a well established economic truth. Any general suppression of the workers’ purchasing power intensifies the economic crisis because it has a multiplier effect -- it depresses spending generally, wrecking the economy. It even drives down the claims of most monopolies. read more
Information Update # 11 April 11, 2011
The Spirit of ’46 -- No Means No! 8.6 Million Reasons Why...
Not surprisingly, locked-out 1005 members and pensioners have not received kindly the news of U.S. Steel CEO’s “compensation” package. According to the Hamilton Spectator (March 22) John Surma’s total compensation package for 2010 included a “$1.1 million salary, $4.3 million worth of stock, $2.1 million in stock options, $458,640 in non-stock income, $3.9 million in pension changes and $188,000 in ‘other income.’” This was a $8.6 million increase from his 2009 “compensation” package.
MAY 1st PARLIAMENT HILL
download flyer here
video clip for May 1st in Ottawa
Information Update # 10 April 4, 2011
Support the Just Struggle of the Public Sector Workers in Toronto!
A contingent organized by USW Local 1005 will participate in the Toronto Rally for Respect on April 9. The rally opposes the attacks by politicians in authority in Toronto and the Ontario legislature against public sector workers. No workers deserve this abuse of their dignity. Toronto public sector workers are a valuable asset to the City of Toronto. The financial difficulties Toronto faces are not caused by city workers nor by public services. Workers and their allies throughout the province and country stand with them and demand that those in political authority stop these senseless attacks.
Information Update #9 March 28, 2011
Parliament Hill May First -- Join Local 1005 USW!
Break New Ground to Defend the Rights of All!
We invite everyone to join us on May First on Parliament Hill to put forward the demands of workers in all sectors of the economy in defence of the rights of all. This is also an occasion to express support for our fellow workers in the United States, Mexico and the world over who are also being made to pay so as to permit an ever smaller number of monopolists to grow even richer. read more
Call for Action - May 1st Workers’ Day in Ottawa
On Sunday, May 1st join Steelworkers in Ottawa to celebrate the achievements of the labour movement throughout the world.
On January 29th the "Line in the Sand" was drawn by a Hamilton Day of Action that was a huge success for USW Local 1005. With the support of the entire labour movement, the stage was set for an epic battle against a huge multinational company, US Steel.
This "Line in the Sand" can not be moved back. Join us in May in Ottawa.
Letter from USW District 6 Director
Letter of support from Teamsters Canada Local 879
Information Update # 8 March 19, 2011
USW 1005’s Press Conference Opposes U.S. Steel’s Latest Provocation
On March 17 at 3:30 pm USW Local 1005 held a press conference to denounce the latest provocation by U.S. Steel to ship out the Coke made at the Hamilton Works. More than 150 workers participated in the Press Conference which was also addressed by Mayor Bob Bratina.
Remarks by Rolf Gerstenberger, President of USW Local 1005
Paying Attention to the Facts
Then & Now
On October 5, 2007, Gretchen Haggerty, Chief Financial Officer of U.S.Steel, in a letter to the editor to the Hamilton Spectator, under the title "Stelco's Pensions safe with U.S. Steel" stated: "We would like to clear up any confusion and relieve any concerns Stelco's employees and pensioners may have about the security of their pensions on the closing of our transaction to buy Stelco.... We want Stelco's employees and retirees to know that we understand the fundamental importance of sound pension funding. We have had a large defined-benefit pension plan for decades. We take our obligations very seriously and are proud of the fact that today that plan is fully funded. In fact, over the last four years, we have made over $700 million in voluntary contributions to that plan. We will honour our commitment to the Stelco pension plans. That is our history and track record...."
Now, the Hamilton Spectator (March 19,201) quotes Company spokesman Trevor Harris saying that ".... (Local 1005) union leaders continue to demand a contract settlement that would be hard for a healthier company than the former Stelco Hamilton plant to meet.
U.S. Steel's Concern for the Economy - The Facts
See article in the Pittsburgh Business Times, Thursday March 17. "Citing the company’s improvement within a challenging economic environment, the United States Steel Corp. Board of Directors increased the total compensation of Chairman and CEO John Surma in 2010 by more than three times what it was in 2009, according to U.S. Steel's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. read more
Information Update # 7 March 14, 2011
U.S. Steel's Removal of Coke for Production to U.S.
Press Conference Thursday, March 17 @ 3:30 pm
USW Local 1005 Union Hall, 350 Kenilworth Avenue North
USW Local 1005 is calling a press conference on Thursday, March 17 to address reports indicating that U.S. Steel has ordered the freighters "Atlantic Erie" and "Laurentien," both owned by Canada Steamship Lines, to come to Hamilton beginning March 24 to load 44,000 tons of metallurgical coke. This Stelco produced-coke is normally completely consumed in steelmaking at Hamilton Works. There are some 200,000 tons of coke sitting in Hamilton with a sale value of some $60 million. read more
Information Update # 6 March 7, 2011
The Federal Budget -- Who Decides?
Oppose Government Cutbacks to Public Services and Privatization of Federal Assets Like Canada Post!
The federal budget which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says will be tabled on March 22, among other things, is expected to follow through with the decision of the 2010 budget to cut program spending by $17.6 billion by March 2015 and "lead to a balanced budget" by that time. These cuts include a two-year freeze on salary and operating budgets "of all departments," a "strategic review of government operations" requiring all departments to assess their programs and identify five per cent of their lowest priorities and their "lower performing" ones, and the continuing review of government corporate assets, such as crown corporations, with three possible options: status quo, amendments or privatization. read more
THE UNITED STEELWORKERS OF MONTREAL THE BAND
COMING TO THE WILCOX STREET GATE
SATURDAY MARCH 5/11@ 3:00 PM
Montreal's beloved six-piece, the United Steel Workers of Montreal, have wowed audiences from coast to coast with the infectious draw of their unique brand of blue-collar alt-country. A potent mix of blues, jazz, country and swing, The USWM’s live performances are filled out with dry wit, tall tales and some outright lies. Dancing is optional but hard to avoid. click here for more details
Information Update #5 February 22, 2011
May First on Parliament Hill
STOP Harper! Demand that Governments Uphold Public Right, NOT Monopoly Right!
On May First join USW Local 1005 and workers from all main sectors of Canada's economy to tell Harper with one voice that we oppose his government's program to pay the rich and trample the rights of the workers in the mud! The Rally and Demonstration on Parliament Hill on May First will express the workers' determination to resolve the crisis in favour of the people, not the monopolies. If a federal election is called at the end of March, the Rally will be an historic event. During a federal election the workers, irrespective of political affiliation, as the producers of the wealth and providers of the services Canadians depend on for their living, will be in Ottawa to directly speak in defence of their interests for the security of all. read more
When is a gentleman not a gentle man?
Hamilton Steelworkers' Opposition to Secret Negotiations
When is a gentleman not a gentle man? U.S. Steel CEO John Surma has accused USW Local 1005 of not being a gentleman. CEO Surma says that gentlemen keep negotiations for a new collective agreement "between us and them" and that "isn't always necessarily what they [Local 1005] do." read more