Steel Mills

Loss of Pension Health Benefits at US Steel Canada Deemed “Unacceptable”

Written by Sandy Williams

Hamilton MPs are urging legal action against US Steel Canada to force them to honor pension obligations.

“It is unacceptable that US Steel Canada is abandoning these workers and their families,” said Industry Minister James Moore in a statement on the recent court decision that frees USSC from paying pension health benefits and property taxes.

Moore went on to add that only the Conservatives in the government have “taken US Steel Canada to court and are not afraid to do so again.”

Moore added, “While it is important that the company be given the tools it needs to become viable long into the future, this should not ever mean allowing them to wash their hands of those to whom they should be grateful.”

Conservative MPs David Sweet and Dean Allison issued a joint statement saying they “share the profound disappointment and anxiety of pensioners and families. It’s heart-breaking.”

The USW says the federal Conservative government must accept its responsibility for 20,000 pensioners losing critical health benefits. Part of the blame lies with the federal government for allowing “U.S. Steel to starve our operations, export our work to the U.S. and break all of its obligations to maintain jobs and production in Canada,” said USW Local 8672 President Bill Ferguson.

“There will be 20,000 pensioners waking up tomorrow without health benefits and prescription drug coverage, because of the Harper government’s secret deals with U.S. Steel. It’s a disgrace,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren. “We’re calling on Stephen Harper to directly address this crisis and to take meaningful action – before October 19th.”

The USW has asked the Ontario government to provide $3 million for a hardship fund to help US Steel Canada pensioners pay for health coverage. If approved, the fund is expected to cover costs for six months.

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