The situation at U.S. Steel/Stelco needs the people’s intervention. When the people stand as one for a just cause it makes a difference. U.S. Steel has attacked not just active and retired steelworkers and salaried employees but also the Ontario and municipal governments, suppliers, contractors, our collective economy and social fabric. It has assaulted the rights of all and the common good.
The U.S. monopoly’s refusal to pay municipal taxes and honour its legally binding and public commitments to the federal and Ontario governments, Stelco employees and pensioners, its conscious destruction of Stelco’s productive capacity and appropriation of its order book all point to a deceptive scheme to manipulate legalities and the bankruptcy court.
U.S. Steel owes contractors and suppliers $78.8 million, which it refuses to pay. Many of the 190 local Hamilton companies owed money will go out of business if the bills are not paid. U.S. Steel owes the province a $150 million loan, which it refuses to pay. It owes the Stelco pension funds $830 million to make them whole, which it plans to dump on the Ontario government. When U.S. Steel bought Stelco it pledged to honour the pensions using its global holdings as collateral not its Canadian assets alone, but this it now refuses to do. It has run away from a legal commitment to pay post-retirement benefits for Stelco workers worth $790.2 million. It wants to abandon any long-term commitment for environmental cleanup. It has consistently refused to use revenue to renew and improve the productive capacity of the two mills. It deliberately defied its solemn legal commitments under the Investment Canada Act to reach certain production and employment quotas. The destruction of actual and potential social wealth from steel production at the mills is the underlying factor destroying the economic base of employment, pensions, benefits, taxes, and environmental cleanup.
U.S. Steel’s manipulation of its position is evident. It has set out to liquidate Stelco as a competing steel producer and abscond with its order book. U.S. Steel wants to sneak back to the U.S. without losing any of the funds expended to destroy Stelco, while absconding with its most lucrative customers.
U.S. Steel has attacked our community’s social fabric. In doing so it has trampled on Canada’s legal system and the law itself. U.S. Steel is using the deception of bankruptcy protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to negate its legal commitments, to find a way around any law or arrangement that upholds the greater and common good. The CCAA is a concoction of big business that is undermining the relationship of the courts to Canadians.
It is as clear as clear can be that the commercial laws adopted by governments and the courts are meant to ensure human beings comply with the rights of private property which required at the very least an appearance that this served the greater good. The greater good was based on a covenant known as “all for one and one for all,” the slogan adopted by the unions themselves as their motto. However, the CCAA and its rulings are not informed by this covenant. U.S. Steel and other monopolies that use the CCAA have declared a new covenant that nobody signed on to: all for one. To negate both the greater and common good, it has cast aside the one for all. The all for one without one for all becomes all for the most powerful, all for the most privileged with the deepest pockets and all others be damned. A society cannot be built on this basis. It can only be destroyed.
The courts, officials and governments are duty bound to reject the breaking of the covenant to defend the greater and common good. They are duty bound to hold U.S. Steel to its responsibilities under the law. To close their eyes to the evidence of an unscrupulous plan and then declare the actions of U.S. Steel legal through CCAA must not pass. This tramples not only the legal covenant to defend the greater good but the social fabric of Canada upholding the common good.
Please join USW Locals 1005 and 8782 on January 30 in front of Hamilton City Hall to stand as one in defence of the rights of all and to declare that might does not make right. All are committed to uphold what governments of laws have established. The people cannot let U.S. Steel get away with what everyone clearly perceives to be profit-making manipulation and ill treatment of its workforce, the city, the province and country. It cannot be allowed to act with impunity and spend millions of dollars to prove a contrived fantasy of itself owing a debt to itself using the most improper creative accounting.
U.S. Steel thinks it can defy the laws of governments because the courts do not reprimand or sanction it. They permit the most egregious violations of human conduct in the name of all for one. This must not pass!
The Stelco mills are needed for the greater good, to serve the economy and social fabric of our community and the common good. U.S. Steel’s wrecking must be stopped! Stand as one in defence of the rights of all! Keep Stelco producing! Keep Hamilton producing! Keep Canada producing! All out to make the January 30 Day of Action a success!
Source: TML Daily, January 14, 2016 – No. 2