Government must hold US Steel accountable and protect pensioners and their families: NDP

Today, the Ontario NDP called on the government to hold U.S. Steel accountable if the company’s plan to suspend post-retirement benefits for 20,000 former employees and their dependents and property tax payments to the City of Hamilton is approved by the court overseeing its Creditor Restructuring.

“Both the provincial Liberal government and the federal Conservative government have allowed U.S. Steel to do what they please to its workers and pensioners,” said Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “There are tens of thousands of people in Hamilton who were promised a pension and benefits and spent their working lives contributing to those benefits. It is those pensioners, their dependents and the City of Hamilton who will now pay the price for those governments’ failure to stand up for those hard working families.”

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek MPP Paul Miller raised NDP concerns with the Minister of Finance during Question Period.

“For many of these retirees, U.S. Steel’s callous cuts may as well be a death sentence. U.S. Steel is washing its hands of the thousands of pensioners whose health was ruined by its steel mills. And there’s no safety net to help them,” said Miller. “Will this government stand up for the pensioners, stand up to this corporation, and hold U.S. Steel accountable for what it’s doing to my city of Hamilton and the people of this province?”

In spite of an agreement made in 2007 to maintain steel productions and employment, U.S. Steel Canada idled parts of the plant in 2010 and permanently shut down its steelmaking operations in December 2013. The Federal government reached an agreement with U.S. Steel, but the details have been kept secret and the Liberal government has done little to force the federal government’s hand.

“This benefit cut will hurt many people in my riding who only ever expected to retire with dignity and their health after lifetimes spent in the mills,” said Hamilton Mountain MPP Monique Taylor. “This is devastating to our community.”