The Executive of USW Local 1005 Thanks You
We would like to thank everyone for their generous contributions at the annual gate collection held on December 3, 2014
We collected $3146 and 125 lbs of food.
Thank you to all that helped in the collection
CHRISTMAS 2014 PLANT GATE COLLECTION
FOR CASH AND/OR NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3rd, 2014
If any members would like to apply for Temporary Vacancies at US Steel LEW Works click on the application below. You can forward the completed application to the Union Hall or to the Human Resources Department.
INFORMATION UPDATE #33 November 3, 2014
U.S. Steel’s 3rd Quarter Results The Global Monopolies Have Too Much Power; It’s Time to Rein Them In
In bold print, U.S. Steel in an October 28 press release announces, “United States Steel Corporation Reports Highest Segment Operating Results Since The Third Quarter Of 2008.” Following this and still in bold type- face it says, “Adjusted net income of $325 million (for third quarter 2014)... Adjusted EBITDA of $611 million (earnings before interest, taxes, de-preciation and amortization) - Total liquidity of $3.0 billion, including $1.3 billion of cash. read more
Employment Insurance Filing
If you require assistance in filing your EI claim please come to the Union Hall @ 350 Kenilworth Avenue North for assistance.
Steelworkers Adjustment Center @ 1031 Barton St East is also available to laid off members for assistance.
They have a job finding club every Tuesday at 10:30am
Any further assistance with EI claims please call the hall.
Information Update #32 October 23, 2014
Reviewing the Facts of U.S. Steel’s Bankruptcy Protection
No one dreamed that any company could create a more farcical bankruptcy case than Stelco’s back in 2004. For those who are not familiar with it, Stelco, while under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) enjoyed quarter after quarter of record profits. But just maybe U.S. Steel has surpassed Stelco in self-serving CCAA lunacy. read more
Local 1005 USW held a contract ratification vote on October 22, 2014. The membership was informed of the details of the agreement on October 15, 2014. After one week of discussing whether it was in their interest to accept the tentative agreement, the membership voted to accept the contract by 86 %. 77 % of the membership turned out to vote.
INFORMATION UPDATE #31 October 16, 2014
Tentative Agreement for Hamilton Works
On October 15, Local 1005 USW held a membership meeting to inform its members and retirees about the tentative agreement for a new contract reached with USS the previous day. Following a brief presentation by President Rolf Gerstenberger, workers present gave their views, asked questions and exchanged opinions on both the tentative agreement and the CCAA fraud before the courts.
If ratified by the workers, the contract would be a stand-pat two-and-a-half- year Basic Agreement, effective from the date of receipt by the Company of written notice of ratification from the Union until March 31, 2017. A vote on the tentative agreement has been called for October 22, 2014.
In brief, the terms of the Renewal Basic Agreement “shall include the terms of the Basic Agreement which will expire on October 15, 2014, the terms of the Pension Agreement, the terms of the Group Insurance Agreement, and the terms of the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plan; subject to the amendments of those various Agreements and Plans as set out in the attached Memorandum of Settlement.” To read the Memorandum of Settlement, go to the Union website: read more
Memorandum of Agreement Presented to Members October 15, 2014
To view the details of the tentative agreement click on the link below
Local 1005 Press Release October 14, 2014
Local 1005 USW informs you that a tentative agreement has been reached between Local 1005 USW and U.S. Steel Canada for a new contract. The current contract expires tomorrow, October 15, 2014.
The tentative agreement will be presented to the 1005 membership and retirees at the Membership Meeting to be held on October 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 163, located at 435 Limeridge road east.
No information about the tentative agreement will be provided to the media until after it has been provided to the membership.
The Tentative agreement will be put to a vote on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Your Negotiating Committee Local 1005 USW
INFORMATION UPDATE #30 October 9, 2014
Ontario Superior Court Approves U.S. Steel’s Control of Debtor-in-Possession
Facility and Extends Creditor Protection
On October 8, the Ontario Superior Court approved the application of U.S. Steel to receive Debtor-in-Possession(DIP) financing from itself based on its own claim that USS Canada has no more money to run its operations and is insolvent. How this accounting was managed when USSC is wholly owned by USS which is far from insolvent will reveal itself in time. It is one of the issues Local 1005 USW has protested since it received the announcement that USSC had filed for bankruptcy protection. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #29 October 8, 2014
Our Response Is Just
Local 1005 USW contends that steelworkers and retirees are not responsible for wrecking Stelco production and restructuring should not be carried out on their backs. Nor are the City or Province or small Canadian suppliers. U.S. Steel must meet its Canadian obligations in full. read more
Membership Meeting Has Been Rescheduled
Due to CCAA Court proceedings toady in Toronto @ 3:15pm we have rescheduled our October Membership meeting from today to October 15, 2014 @4:15
INFORMATION UPDATE #28 October 7, 2014
Conflicts of Interest in U.S. Steel’s CCAA
As of October 7, some 26 law firms and some 52 lawyers are involved in the bankruptcy proceedings of U.S. Steel. Plus, a “Monitor” and all kinds of other hangers-on are guaranteed huge salaries, expense accounts and bonuses. All of them are churning out pages and pages of motions, briefs and affidavits. The list serve for just the lawyers alone to which all court documents must be sent goes on for some 15 pages. All of these law firms charge exor-bitant fees. Workers come across as just an itty bitty part of this even though we are the workers, past and present, who have created all of the Company’s wealth, which is being distributed to all kinds of people with such largesse. read more
Press Release October 6, 2014
Local 1005 USW Outside the Court House in Toronto October 6
U.S. Steel has plenty of money to pay lawyers and bonuses and share- holder dividends but claims poverty when it comes to its obligations towards the steelworkers, the City of Hamilton, the Province and Canadians,” Rolf Gerstenberger, President of Local 1005 told Information Update. read more
Information Update # 27
Reject this CCAA with Contempt!
Local 1005 condemns in no uncertain terms the CCAA bankruptcy filed by U.S. Steel on September 16. It creates a very serious situation for active and retired Canadian steelworkers and their union, the United Steelworkers (USW), as well as the locals directly involved, Local 1005 USW at Hamilton Works and Local 8287 USW at Lake Erie Works. This CCAA filing also directly affects present and former salaried employees of the company, the citizens of Hamilton and their Municipal Council, and the Province of Ontario. read more
CCAA Information Meeting
At our Thursday meeting this week @ 4:00pm Ken Rosenberg from the firm PALIARE ROLAND ROSENBERG ROTHSTEIN LLP will be available to answer questions regarding the CCAA process. Ken is one of the lawyers that are representing the USW during the CCAA process.
INFORMATION UPDATE #26 September 25, 2014
U.S. Steel’s September 16 Press Release Is U.S. Steel Bankrupt?
U.S. Steel announced on September 16, that its Canadian subsidiary has applied for relief from its creditors pursuant to Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). A USS press release says, “As a result of the CCAA filing, U.S. Steel has determined that U.S. Steel Canada and its subsidiaries will be deconsolidated from U.S. Steel’s financial statements on a prospective basis effective as of the date of the CCAA filing.” read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #25 September 19, 2014
Local 1005 USW Press Conference
On September 18, 2014 a press conference was held at Local 1005 USW’s union hall in Hamilton. Local 1005 President Rolf Gerstenberger presented the views of Local 1005 on the September 16 Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) filing by U.S. Steel Canada, followed by questions from members of the media. The press conference was attended by 110 workers and pensioners along with Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina and Hamilton East Stoney Creek MPP Paul Miller. The media were represented by the Hamilton Spectator, CHCH-TV, CBC-Hamilton, and TML Daily. By request of workers present, Information Update is publishing the transcript of the presentation by Rolf Gerstenberger, very slightly abridged by the author. read more
Information mailed out to all USSC Employees and Pensioners
USSC will be mailing documents to all Employees and Pensioners due to disclosure agreements about CCAA from a previous Court Decision (INDALEX). The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that when a company is the administrator of their own pension plan they have a fiduciary duty to notify all plan members of the CCAA filing, so that all members have the opportunity to present their legal arguments.
These notices are being sent to you as a legal requirement to provide you with notice of their CCAA filing and to advise you of the upcoming court hearing to be held in Toronto on October 6, 2014.
In the notice USSC encourages you to obtain legal and/or financial advice. Local 1005 and the USW have their own legal team to defend the rights of all active and retired members.
At this time during the CCAA process all employees will continue to be paid their wages on their usual pay dates. Contributions to group RRSP will continue as will all benefits. As for all retirement benefits they will be continued to be paid as normal.
For further information please call the Union Hall @ 905 547 1417.
INFORMATION UPDATE #24 September 18, 2014
Local 1005 USW Appeals to the Court of Public Opinion
Oppose U.S. Steel’s Phony CCAA!
Let Us Together Take a Stand in Defence of the Dignity of Labour, Decency,
Upright Behaviour and the Right Thing to Do!
Do not Permit Canada to be Trampled in the Mud by U.S. Steel!
Local 1005 condemns in no uncertain terms this phony CCAA bankruptcy filed by U.S. Steel on September 16. It creates a very serious situation for active and retired Canadian steelworkers and their union, the United Steelworkers(USW), as well as the locals directly involved, Local 1005 USW at Hamilton Works and Local 8287 USW at Lake Erie Works. This phony CCAA filing also directly affects present and former salaried employees of the company, the citizens of Hamilton and their Municipal Council, and the Province of Ontario. read more
Restructuring Document Center
click on the link below to view legal documents that have been submitted for CCAA
Local 1005 USW
Press Release at 4:15 pm
Thursday September 18, 2014
Local 1005 response to US Steel CCAA Filing
At Union Hall 350 Kenilworth Avenue North L8H 4T3
Downstairs Meeting Room
2014 BAR MILL REUNION
Friday October 17, 2014
St. Nicholas Orthodox Hall
1415 Barton Street East
Doors Open at 6:00 PM-Dinner served at 7:30 PM
$20 in ADVANCE OR $25 at the Door
Jim Whitlock 905-573-0024
Tom Haylock 905-388-0374
Tony Bernar 905-575-9635
Terry Aussem 905-627-77815
Doug Burke 905-389-7875
Please pay by Cheque made out to:
“Bar Mill Reunion Club”
By September 30, 2014
Send Cheque to
51 Yorkdale Cres., Stoney Creek
ON L8J 1E4
Celebration of Life
For a Recently passed away member
ALEX “crooked business” Krucovicius
Wednesday September 24, 2014 5Pm-8Pm
Touch Down Pub formerly the Dizzy Weasel
912 Barton St East
USW Local 1005 Annual Dinner/Dance
The dinner/dance will be held at Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre, 1555 Upper Ottawa Street (near Rymal), Hamilton, Ontario.
Tickets are available at Local 1005 USW Union Hall at 350 Kenilworth Ave. North, Hamilton, ON. (starting September 8th).
Doors Open/Cash Bar @ 5:30 p.m.
& Dinner @ 7:00 p.m.
This occasion will be a great night of celebration for everyone attending. Hope to see you there.
INFORMATION UPDATE #23 September 1, 2014
Local 1005 USW Labour Day Statement
Local 1005 USW wishes all active and retired members and all Hamilton and District working people the very best this Labour Day. This year, once again, we do not know what the future holds for us. Labour Day finds us in an increasingly precarious situation.
At U.S. Steel, the current executive managers have turned their “war on costs” into a veritable crusade called the Carnegie Way with steelworkers and salaried employees in the crosshairs. It is based on one of the most backward positions the financial oligarchs and ruling circles push today – the charge that workers who in fact produce all the wealth society depends on for its living are “a cost of production.” It is a great assault on the dignity of labour, which is incessantly attacked and targeted for abuse and even elimination. read more
Join the Hamilton Labour Day Parade!
September 1, 2014
Gather at 9:00 am at Queen and York Street in Hamilton. Parade leaves at 10:30 am
Barbeque at Dundurn Park after the parade
17th Annual Field Force Reunion
Friday, September 19th, 2014
St. Nicholas Parish Hall
260 Melvin Avenue
(between Parkdale & Woodward Ave.)
* Cold deli buffet *
* Door prizes *
* Cash bar *
$10 at the door
Doors open at 6
* * * * * * *
Please get the word out to all retirees !
Information Update #22 August 7, 2014
What Is US Steel Up To?
The Company’s Canadian subsidiary U. S. Steel Canada, Inc. continues to experience losses and is exploring
options to improve its performance which may include some form of restructuring. - USS 10-Q for Second Quarter.
On July 30, 2014, during the U.S. Steel Conference Call for the Q2 results, Evan Kutz, from Morgan Stanley asked the CEO of US Steel Mario Longhi, a question about the profitability of the Canadian Operation. “Can you say if that business is currently generating a profit or is it loss making? Kutz asked. “Unfortunately it’s not generating a profit,” Longhi answered. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #21 July 31, 2014
Local 1005 USW Holds Information Meeting
The Information Meeting held by Local 1005 USW on July 17 was attended by more than 1100 Local 1005 members and pensioners. The meeting began with a presentation by President Rolf Gerstenberger titled“Challenges Facing Canada’s Steel Industry and the Options Before Us.” Starting with the present, the presentation traced what has happened to Hamilton’s steelworkers since Stelco was purchased by U.S. Steel in 2007, which led to systematic destruction of steelmaking capacity. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #20 JULY 17, 2014
U.S. STEEL – NO
RESTRUCTURING ON THE BACKS OF THE WORKERS!
For the past while, U.S. Steel has been talking about plans to restructure its Canadian operations. Meanwhile, U.S. Steel’s agreement with the federal government under the Canada Investment Act and the pension agreement with the Ontario government both expire at the end of 2015. The workers still know nothing about the former and the latter, as it currently reads, falls short of meeting the requirements of Ontario pension law. Nonetheless, the issue for steelworkers, salaried employees and pensioners at both Hamilton and Lake Erie Works, as well as all Hamiltonians and Canadians, is what to expect and what they can do about it. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #19 July 10, 2014
Local 1005 USW Information Meeting
Thursday, July 17 – 4:00 pm
Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre, 1555 Upper Ottawa
Information and Discussion on:
• Challenges Facing Canada’s Steel Industry and the Options Before Us
• Local 1005 Contract Negotiation Proposals
U.S. Steel Pays $58 Million to Settle Complaint Price Fixing and Collusion
U.S. Steel has agreed in an Illinois federal court to pay $58 million to settle a complaint that it colluded with others to inflate steel prices. U.S. Steel also agreed to provide specific information to the court implicating other steel companies in the collusion to fix prices. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #18 July 2, 2014
The Wrecking of Stelco and the Pension Funds
U.S. Steel is making a big deal about how bad Hamilton and the Lake have been for their bottom line. With this, it is going on the attack to cloud the obvious or what is really going on. U.S. Steel has been exporting its problems into Canada. The exporting into Canada of the problems of the U.S. economy generally is a trend. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #17 June 16, 2014
On June 10, Max Aicher North America (MANA) procured a court injunction to impede the ability of our brothers at MANA to effectively defend their rights in the year old dispute between MANA and Local 1005 USW.read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #16 June 5, 2014
Steelworkers Participate in 31st Annual Injured Workers’ Day
Justice for Injured Workers! No to Austerity!
Steelworkers joined injured workers on Sunday, June 1 to mark the 31st annual Injured Workers’ Day with a sober statement rejecting the government’s destruction of protection for injured workers. The new arrangements hand over the fate of injured workers to the private insurance companies whose main job is to cut off their benefits. The spirited action, with many creative presentations, made clear workers’ tenacity to fight the government’s anti-worker austerity agenda, including the WSIB’s stepped up denial of compensation. read more
Information Update #15 May 29, 2014
MANA 1005 Members Locked Out 11 Months
Concessions Are Not Solutions! All Out to Support Their Just Cause!
Local 1005 Members at Max Aicher North America (MANA), formerly Stelco Bar and Billet Mill, have been locked out by the Company since June 2013 – that is 11 months and counting. Even before that, these workers have suffered at the hands of this privately-owned German company since it took over in November2010, a Union press release points out. read more
The Education Fund of Local 1005, U.S.W. is offering one (1) award of $1,005.00 for the John Lennie Scholarship and one (1) $1,005.00 award for the Jake Isbister Scholarship and one (1) $1,005.00 award for the Jimmy Lomax Scholarship to students, in Ontario.
The conditions of these scholarships are: a) previous winners are not eligible b) the scholarships shall be awarded only to sons and daughters of members, of Local 1005, United Steelworkers.
Recipients of scholarships must be prepared to show their level of education is sufficient to allow admittance to an approved institution of higher education, such as university, technological institute, teacher's college, nursing school, etc.
The student must complete an application form which must be mailed to Education Chairperson, Local 1005, U.S.W., 350 Kenilworth Ave. N., Hamilton, Ontario L8H 4T3.
The application form is to be submitted no later than JUNE 30TH, 2014, and must be accompanied by an essay, dealing with one of the following topics;
Application forms available at the Union Hall
INFORMATION UPDATE #14 May 22, 2014
Local 1005 sent a delegation to the Canadian Labour Congress’ 27th Convention in Montreal, May 5-9. The theme for this year’s convention was “Together Fairness Works.” It was said to be one of the largest ever conventions but this included 2,000 delegates bussed in for the vote for President on Thursday.
STRIKE APPEAL FOR LOCKED OUT MANA MEMBERS OF USW 1005
CONCESSIONS ARE NOT SOLUTIONS- LOCKED OUT 11 MONTHS
Local 1005 Members at MANA formerly Stelco Bar and Billet Mill have been locked out by the company since June 2013. However, the workers have suffered at the hands of this privately owned Germany Company since it took over in Nov 2010. The workers have not produced anything for over two years and have endured layoffs and short work weeks. The company is demanding huge concessions including an $8- 10 dollar an hour wage cut, eliminating the pension plan, eliminating the COLA, and cutting benefits. These numerous draconian concessions are no solution to our Hamilton economy or for the future of this plant and its workforce.
Furthermore, the Provincial Liberal Government gave this company 9 million dollars of Ontario Tax Payers money. Local 1005 believe a piece of equipment purchased with this money; a Peeler machine has been removed from the plant and taken to Germany! This is not acceptable!
HOW MANY MORE TIMES WILL WE ALLOW FOREIGN OWNERSHIP TO DESTROY OUR COMMUNITIES!
We need you support, these locked out workers who only receive 200 dollars a week in lockout pay!
We cannot allow the Rich to keep destroying our way of life; these Concessions would erase 65 years of bargaining gains.
Please send any donation to Local 1005 MANA Strike Fund so we can defend our Rights.
Rolf Gerstenberger and Tim Blackborow
Contacts for more Information
Tim Blackborow Unit Chairperson 905-547-1417 ext 238
Rolf Gerstenberger President 905-547-1417 ext 225
INFORMATION UPDATE #13 May 15, 2014
U.S. Steel’s War Against Costs
The emphasis on what the Carnegie Way calls lowering “costs” gives a distorted picture of the modern economy. Almost all what is labelled as costs is already-produced value that should be fully returned when the commodity is realized. The problems and recurring crises in the steel industry cannot be solved with this war of company profit against costs. Equity or company profit is but one feature of the modern economy and a minor one at best. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #12 May 8, 2014
U.S. Steel’s First Quarter 2014 Earnings Conference Call
Wrecking Does Not Produce Profit
The equity profit of $52-million declared by U.S. Steel in the first quarter of 2014 is almost identical to the $50-million “saved” in the quarter by wrecking Stelco Hamilton Works’ final blast furnace on December 31, 2013. Steelworkers’ work-time and material valued at about$50-million were needed each quarter to idle the furnace. read more
Stelco /US Steel Spring Fling
Friday, May 23, 2014
at the Quad Pad.
Mohawk 4 Ice Centre
710 Mountain Brow Blvd, Hamilton
INFORMATION UPDATE #11 April 24, 2014
National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed, Injured or Made Ill on the Job
On April 28, REMEMBER
As workers, on April 28 we gather to fight for the living and mourn for the dead. Unfortunately, this year it is not difficult for us to remember the recent workplace fatalities at our sister U.S. Steel plants and again at USW Local6500 in Sudbury. Many ask themselves if things are not getting worse instead of better. The statistics released by the Canadian Labour Council point out that deaths caused by workplace incidents over the last 20 years have increased by 29%. That is a lot. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #10 April 17, 2014
U.S. Steel’s Psychological Warfare Against Steelworkers
The sixth edition of U.S. Steel’s The Carnegie Way Connection has appeared. Steelworkers are asking what relevance this material has to their working lives, security and future. In Canada, the question arises whether the Carnegie Way will return steel production to Hamilton, ensure its continuation at Lake Erie Works and assure active and retired steelworkers and salaried employees of their pensions. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #9 April 10, 2014
U.S. Steel’s Confusion over the Carnegie Way
In U.S. Steel’s Connection newsletter touting the “Carnegie Way,” the Company seems to confuse Andrew Carnegie (steel monopolist: 1835-1919) with the famous motivational writer, Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) – “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (1936). Or possibly the executives in charge of the Carnegie Way want a combination of the two: ruthless exploiter and motivational PR writer who takes our mind off reality. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #8 April 3, 2014
U.S. Steel’s Politics of Doom
Since invading Canada in 2007 to seize control of the Stelco steel complex, U.S. Steel has pushed its politics of doom. It has preached the futility of steel production in Hamilton and now even at Lake Erie Works using one phoney pretext after another. U.S. Steel sees the destruction of steel production in Canada as a means to weaken competition for steel production at its plants in the United States, which for many years have had low levels of capacity utilization. read more
When a workplace tragedy occurs, the USW is here to help
The union's Emergency Response Team (ERT) relies on notification from our local unions as quickly as possible following a fatality or catastrophic incident. In the event of a workplace fatality or life-altering injury to any Steelworker, the local should notify its staff representative and the ERT as soon as possible.
Have the victim's name and the USW local number available, as well as the employer's name.
During emergencies call 911.
Emergency Response Team: 1-855-245-9997
Elections for Negotiating Committee were held on March 26. Congratulations to the successful candidates: Gary Howe, Dennis Van Meer, Jake Lombardo and Tony McLaughlin. They join President Rolf Gerstenberger who is the Chair of the Negotiating Committee. Once the results are approved by the April membership meeting preparations will begin for negotiations for the contract that expires on October 15, 2014. read more
Boycott Of Carmen’s and Global Spectrum Facilities
The Hamilton and District Labour Council has launched a boycott of Carmen's and its hotel on the mountain, the Hamilton Convention Centre, FirstOntario Centre, and Hamilton Place to support the members of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 772 who, in effect, have been "locked out" by Carmen's from performing work at the Convention Centre. Delegates overwhelmingly approved the recommendation from the Executive Council on March 20, 2014.
INFORMATION UPDATE #6 March 20, 2014
Support Hamilton’s Steel Committee to Find
Solutions to U.S. Steel’s Wrecking!
Hamilton City Council’s Steel Committee continues to hold meetings and hearings on what to do about the decision of U.S. Steel to close down steel production in Hamilton. Ever since U.S. Steel took over Stelco it has reneged on one commitment after another with the help of the federal and provincial governments. In the most self-serving manner, these governments enter into secret agreements to help big business and claim this is good for the economy. But when it comes to actually providing real economic problems with solutions, such as the creation of jobs and protecting pensions, they are nowhere to be found. read more
MANA Workers REJECT Company Blackmail
On March 12, 2014 the members of the MANA unit of Local 1005 USW voted to reject the "final offer" proposal of Max Aicher North America by 85%. 36 workers were eligible to vote and the turnout was 78%. In spite of the fact that all the workers were laid off since November-December 2012, and locked out since June 28, 2013, they rejected the company's demands for huge concessions on wages, benefits, elimination of the pension plan. The last company final offer was rejected by the workers by 73% in June 2013 which led to the company locking the workers out.
2014 Negotiating Committee Nomination Deadline
Friday March 14, 2014
Applications Forms available at the Union Hall
#2 Rod Mill Reunion March 20th 2014 Mohawk Quad Pad Arena
3:00pm - ?
Come Celebrate Annual Norma Berti International Women's Day Breakfast
Pension Statements from US Steel and CIBC Mellon
We have received lots of calls from Pensioners about their T4 statements for Income Tax. This year you will receive two statements one from CIBC Mellon and one from US Steel. Any further questions please call the Union Hall @ 905 547 1417
INFORMATION UPDATE #5 February 13, 2014
Who Will Bear the Responsibility If
MANA Decides to Crater Itself?
In the course of recent contract talks with Max Aicher North America (MANA) it was suggested that if the workers do not accept the latest Company proposal, instead of having 30 jobs, there will be no jobs. According to what the workers are told, this would be the fault of the Union and the workers. read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #4 February 6, 2014
U.S. Steel Cuts Back on Salaried Employees
On February 3, U.S. Steel sent out a letter to employees (see text below) claiming it needs to make layoffs in order to be profitable. The jobs which are being eliminated belong to salaried employees at all levels, including foreman, supervisors, secretarial staff and some upper management between Hamilton Works and Lake Erie Works. read more
Monthly Rally to Defeat the Conservatives (Hudak) and the Liberals (Wynne)
Will be held this month in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Friday February 7, 2014 @ 3:15pm the Outlet Mall Parking Lot
7500 Lundy's Lane
Niagara Falls, Ontario L2H 1G8
INFORMATION UPDATE #3 January 30, 2014
U.S. Steel’s Year End Results 2013
Conspiracy to Commit Fraud in the Making
U.S. Steel executives announced on January 28 that the permanent shutdown of steelmaking at Hamilton Works would greatly benefit their U.S. monopoly in 2014. Speaking to the Company’s 2013 year-end results, USS President and CEO Mario Longhi, Executive Vice President and CFO Dave Burritt, and Manager of Investor Relations Dan Lesnak all congratulated their executive decision to wreck steel production at Hamilton Works. They gloated that their decision had boosted capability utilization in their U.S. flat-rolled mills and would result in “cost savings” of over$100-million in 2014. Burrit, in the most boorish manner said: “We have weathered the storms of the last five years and are ready for a profitable 2014. We know we must do better and we are confident that we will. We have a relentless focus on economic profits and are cautiously optimistic we will have better circumstances in 2014. As we earn the right to grow, we are going to make struggling businesses profitable or admit that we can’t and exit them.” read more
INFORMATION UPDATE #2 January 23, 2014
President of Local 1005 Addresses City Council’s Steel Committee
On January 14, Rolf Gerstenberger, President of Local 1005 USW addressed the Steel Committee set up by City Council to deal with the announcement by U.S. Steel that it intends to close the steelmaking department at Hilton Works. Rolf began his presentation by referring to point #1f the Steel Committee’s mandate: Too protect the welfare and best interests of the employees and pensioners of U.S. Steel Hamilton. He explained that Lake Erie requires more than 1 million tons of slabs to run the plant at capacity. Furthermore, Max Aicher North America(MANA) bought its plant from U.S. Steel on the understanding that U.S. Steel would provide it with the more than 300,000 tons of steel it requires from the Hamilton bloom caster. When U.S. Steel shut down the blast furnace in October 4, 2010, one month before it locked the entire workforce out, this caused huge problems for MANA, because it deprived it of the 300,000 tons of quality steel it required. read more
"Terry Whitehead, Councillor for Ward 8 , and member of the City Council Steel Committee will address the Local 1005 Thursday meeting at 3:45 p.m on January 23, 2014."
INFORMATION UPDATE #1 January 16, 2014
U.S. Steel Arrogantly Ignores City’s Steel Committee
Hamilton City Council’s Steel Committee met on January 14, its second meeting after it was reconvened in the wake of U.S. Steel’s October29, 2013 announcement that it would permanently shut down steel-making at Hilton Works by the year-end. Present at the January 14 meeting were Councillor and Committee Chair Scott Duvall, Co-Chair and Councillor Sam Merulla, Mayor Bob Bratina, as well as Councillors Brian McHattie and Terry Whitehead. About 15 retirees and members of Local 1005 attended. The Committee sent invitations to Rolf Gerstenberger, President of Local1005 USW from and Bill Ferguson, President of Local 8782 at Lake Erie. An invitation was also sent to U.S. Steel, but typical of its arrogance towards the workers and community, U.S. Steel could not be bothered to give a reply or acknowledgement. read more
Councillor Brian Mchattie will be addressing the January 16th Thursday meeting to discuss the latest actions of US Steel and what can be done.
Information Update #41 December 12, 2013
Mayor Bob Bratina Speaks at Thursday Meeting
Vigorous Discussion on What Can
Be Done to Protect Steelworkers
and the Community
Mayor Bob Bratina addressed Local 1005’s Thursday Meeting on December 5 about U.S. Steel’s decision to close down steelmaking and what can be done about it. In his opening remarks, the Mayor outlined that the Steel Committee that was established by City Council is working out its mandate. There is concern about the spin off effect of U.S. Steel announcing the shutting down of steelmaking in Hamilton, issues around the Investment Canada Act (ICA) and what precisely are the arrangements that end in 2015, what promises were made to the federal government, and what effect all this will have on the municipality. And then there is the huge impact that the pension issue will have on the city. There is also the issue of what happens to the Stelco lands. There is a big demand for industrial land (zone K, heavy industry). The taxes the city receives from heavy industrial land are greater than what it receives from commercial property. Looking back, someone gave permission for the old Stelco to fill in the bay where a large part of the plant is located. read more
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