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Final Stelco blast furnace shut down - lockout feared

by Linchpin - Devin K.

Final Stelco blast furnace shut down - lockout feared

By Devin K.

HAMILTON - Around 100 members and supporters of United Steel Workers Local 1005 gathered at City Hall on Wednesday in the wake of the recent shutdown of the last blast furnace at US Steel (former Stelco) Hamilton works. The move has many workers fearing that the company is preparing for a lockout.

The rally was organized to coincide with East End Councillor Sam Merulla putting forward a motion to City Council that the City of Hamilton demand the restart of the blast furnace. The motion read, in part: “[…] the City of Hamilton call on US Steel to restart the Blast Furnace immediately; and stop Corporate ‘bullying tactics’ […] the City of Hamilton asks US Steel to restart negotiations with Local 1005” While the City of Hamilton itself has no actual power to force the restart of the furnace, the union hopes public pressure will at least contribute to getting US Steel back at the bargaining table.

The Pittsburg based corporation has not resumed contract negotiations with USW Local 1005 since July 7th, negotiations in which the company is demanding a number of concessions relating to pension plans, vacation time and cost of living allowance, among other things. There are fears that with the shutdown of the furnace, US Steel is preparing for a lockout to force the union to accept these concessions. Glenn Faulman, rank and file member of USW 1005, tells Linchpin “I don’t think they want to lay anyone off, because they’ll collect unemployment. They are waiting to lock us all out so nobody gets anything.” US Steel has already demonstrated its capability and willingness to attack workers and their families in order to advance their own corporate interests. The 2008-09 shutdown of the Hamilton plant and the bitter lockout at the Nanticoke plant are two recent examples. “I picture us getting locked out, though I hope it’s not for a year [as in the case of US Steel Lake Eerie works].”

Although Sam Murella’s motion was passed by City Council unanimously, US Steel has shown little regard for federal law or even its own contracts since it purchased Stelco in 2007. Faulman says “I don’t think it will accomplish anything except pissing US Steel off, they don’t like bad press.” While the motion at City Council may provide some bad press, real strength in the struggle against US Steel will come from the resolve of the workers and their surrounding community. “Nobody in Hamilton likes US Steel… things are grim but we’re Steel Workers, we’re tough, and we’re going to be able to take it.”


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Topics: Labour
Tags: hamilton

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Linchpin (Linchpin Newspaper)
Ontario
Member since June 2010

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Linchpin is the newspaper of the Ontario anarchist organization Common Cause.

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Comments

HEY

They should cut there wages and teach them how to work!! Its no wonder employers cant run a buisnes  with lazy workers!!!!!!

Final Stelco blast furnace shut down

US steel purchased Stelco after the Union drove the company into bankruptcy... Sorry, for each and every family that is now suffering as a result of LOCAL 1005. 

Call the Union office on Kennelworth street and see how many union officials had no money for Christmas.... Guess what each and every one of them is still working again the union officials have not lost a single penny. 

When the Company is not screwing workers the Union steps in and does it.  Steelworkers built the economy of hamilton and to think that US Steel bought stelco to have it closed and not producing steel is foolish.  Perhaps they saw Dofasco right next door- making money, producing good quality steel, and feeding all the workers weekly.... Why is it that the Unionized steel giant besides Dofasco can't seem to make the commection that the equipment, tools, product, and access to shipping are the same.

You have to ask yourself why then is it so hard to work in Stelco.....?  I was in contracting for 10 years going in and out of both mills and every tradesman that worked in these plants aggree that working in Stelco takes 30% longer, cost more, and the head aches are almost not even worth the effort.... US Steel was trying to change these things but the dinasaur of a Union would not stand for any changes that could make things better - that is unless they are creditied for making the changes....

All the best at the Rally, and I truely hope that the plant will reopen and all the employees are one agin gainfully employed.

 

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