U.S. Steel Lake Erie Works
Government of Ontario & Bedrock Industries Group Sign
MOU to Facilitate Restructuring of U. S. Steel Canada Inc.
Advances Process to Save Jobs, Industry and Pensions in Hamilton and at Lake Erie
The government of Ontario and Bedrock Industries Group (Bedrock) today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the restructuring of U. S. Steel Canada Inc. (USSC), which remains in court-supervised creditor protection proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). The MOU is an important step toward the completion of a restructuring intended to protect jobs, the ongoing operations at USSC’s Hamilton and Lake Erie facilities, pensions and post-employment benefits for active and retired USSC employees. In reaching this MOU, the Province has worked closely with the court-appointed monitor and kept other stakeholders informed throughout the process.
The terms of the MOU remain confidential until they can be released pursuant to a court process. For its part, Ontario has agreed to a framework to support an acquisition proposal from Bedrock intended to protect pensions and assist in providing post-employment benefits. The province has also agreed to support the development of industrial lands on behalf of pensioners in an effort to promote the economic development of the Hamilton region while ensuring that the environment continues to be protected. In taking these actions, the province seeks to facilitate economic progress while minimizing financial risk for the public treasury.
Bedrock’s principals have a long track record of owning and successfully operating businesses in the metals, mining and manufacturing and distribution sectors worldwide including in Canada. Bedrock has been committed to working with all stakeholders, including organized labour, salaried workers, government and the affected communities, in order to provide well-paying long-term jobs and benefits as well as pursuing continuous improvement and ongoing financial strength. The MOU and the contemplated restructuring remain subject to many conditions, including acceptance by USSC, ratified collective bargaining agreements with United Steelworkers Union Locals, agreements with certain stakeholders, government approvals and the approval of the Court supervising USSC’s CCAA proceeding.
“We have been working with the company and other affected parties through the CCAA process to support the best possible outcome for employees, pension members and other stakeholders under these challenging circumstances. This MOU helps us to move forward on the Province’s priorities such as preserving jobs, protecting pensions and the environment while developing the industrial lands. We are hopeful that this will clear the way for a restructuring process that results in a viable, healthy company that supports continued operations in Ontario and in local economies.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
“The MOU is an important milestone in our efforts to restructure the former Stelco operations of USSC. We look forward to continuing to pursue the completion of these efforts with all relevant stakeholders.”
— David Cheney, Bedrock Industries
Steelworkers Encouraged by Framework Agreement on U.S. Steel Canada Purchase
HAMILTON, 21 September 2016 – The United Steelworkers (USW) welcomes today’s announcement of a framework agreement between the Ontario government and Bedrock Industries, LP for the purchase and continued operation of U.S. Steel Canada facilities in Hamilton and Nanticoke.
“We are encouraged by many aspects of the agreement announced today between the Ontario government and Bedrock Industries,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director.
“We have been briefed on the agreement and we acknowledge that the province and Bedrock have made an effort to address many of our concerns about protecting the interests of our members and retirees,” Warren said.
“It has been a stressful and painful two years for our members and pensioners,” Warren added, referring to the fact U.S. Steel Canada has been operating under Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) protection since September 2014.
The agreement announced today contemplates that Bedrock, an industrial company building its production platform in metals, will purchase and continue operating U.S. Steel Canada’s plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke.
“We have been in discussions for quite some time with the province and various potential buyers about a restructuring of U.S. Steel Canada that would be good for our members and our retirees,” Warren said.
“The deal announced today is far from perfect, given the challenges that arise from such a lengthy and complex insolvency process,” he said. “However, after two years in CCAA protection and after numerous discussions with other bidders, we believe this could lead to a good final deal for the Union’s members and retirees ”
Among the challenges to be resolved, Bedrock must complete negotiations for new collective agreements with Steelworkers Local 1005 in Hamilton and USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke, noted Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW Ontario Director.
Subject to completing negotiations for new collective agreements and resolving other details related to the transaction, we believe this agreement offers a positive step forward,” DePaulo said. Details of the framework agreement have been shared with leaders of both USW locals, DePaulo said.
“Subject to finalizing this complex deal to the union’s satisfaction, this transaction appears to be the best available way to secure jobs for our members and offer as much protection to our retirees as possible,” he said.
The USW recognizes the Ontario government’s efforts to find a resolution to the U.S. Steel Canada insolvency, Warren said.
However, the union is calling out the federal Liberal government for failing to take any meaningful action to address the steel crisis in Canada or to provide any support to workers and pensioners affected by the crisis.
“The federal government has not been engaged and has not offered any material support – neither in this case nor to help other communities across the country hurting from the steel crisis,” Warren said.
“Essar Steel Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie is operating under CCAA protection and other steelmakers have cut jobs and production, but our federal government is missing in action,” he said.
“Thousands of pensioners and working families are desperate for real support from the federal government. So far, they’re being ignored.”
For further information:
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792,
Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, 905-869-0760, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434 2221, email@example.com
August 28, 2016
The Womens Committee page has been added.
Liberals Abandon U.S. Steel Pensioners, Workers
HAMILTON, 22 August 2016 – The federal Liberal government’s “deafening silence” is sending a resounding message to 20,000 U.S. Steel Canada retirees suffering from the elimination of their crucial health benefits, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.
“Steel industry workers and pensioners were hoping for change when the Trudeau Liberals replaced the Harper Conservatives,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.
“As workers and pensioners suffer blow after blow, the deafening silence from the Liberals shows there is no real change. The Liberals continue where the Conservatives left off, leaving pensioners and workers on their own. It’s business as usual,” Warren said.
“Like the Conservatives before them, the Trudeau Liberals have failed U.S. Steel workers and pensioners. They’ve failed to support jobs, pensions and benefits, failed to expose the secret deals and failed to reform Canada’s antiquated and damaging corporate bankruptcy laws,” he said.
More than 20,000 U.S. Steel Canada pensioners suffered another brutal blow with Friday’s Superior Court ruling that denied a motion to reinstate the pensioners’ drug, dental, vision and other health benefits. The pensioners’ benefits were suspended last fall, when the same court, overseeing U.S. Steel Canada’s bankruptcy protection case, granted a request by the company.
In addition to rejecting the reinstatement of pensioners’ health benefits, the judge in the case agreed to the company’s request to pay a special bonus to managers – the second such bonus awarded to management during the restructuring process.
“Our members, our pensioners and people throughout our community are outraged to see benefits that categorically belong to retirees simply taken away with the stroke of a pen, while managers receive bonuses,” said Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005, representing U.S. Steel Canada employees in Hamilton.
"Just about everybody sees this for what it is – the theft of pensioners’ benefits. Everybody except our courts and our government, who don’t seem to care,” Howe said.
“Giving more bonuses to management at a time when our pensioners are still going without benefits, it’s ridiculous that this is still happening,” said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782, representing U.S. Steel Canada employees in Nanticoke.
“Our pensioners shouldn’t be forced to live off emergency government funds while managers give each other raises and bonuses,” Ferguson said.
In its motion to the court seeking reinstatement of pensioners’ benefits, the USW noted U.S. Steel Canada, while operating under the Companies' Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA), has a positive cash flow of $150 million.
Furthermore, documents that were inadvertently made public have revealed that U.S. Steel Canada has paid its American parent, U.S. Steel, $123 million above market prices for steelmaking supplies such as coal and iron ore.
Restoring the pensioners’ benefits, meanwhile, would cost $3.5 million per month.
“This sums up the disgrace of the CCAA process and the federal government’s silence in this scandal,” said Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW Ontario Director, who submitted affidavits to the court revealing the suffering of pensioners who have lost their benefits.
“It’s a process that allows a corporation to take away retirees’ benefits while it sits on $150 million in cash and overpays its parent company another $123 million for supplies,” DePaulo said.
“Not only is the Trudeau government’s silence deafening, it’s hurting thousands of workers and pensioners.”
For further information:
Assistant to the USW Ontario Director, 905-869-0760,
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 19, 2016
July 18, 2016
As you are all aware, the restructuring is ongoing. The Senior Level Committee is and has been attending meetings with bidders and other stakeholders in an effort to reach a successful restructuring agreement.
When there is something concrete to report back to the members we will arrange meetings accordingly. The process in ongoing and fluid. Don't listen to rumours and don't assume the press is always factual when reporting. There is a sensitivity to the restructuring process and what we can report is, we are working hard on your behalf in an effort to reach a successful outcome for the business, the employees and retirees.
Transition Fund Update for Retirees
What’s new with the Transition Fund?
Availability of the Transition Fund after March 31, 2016
The Transition Fund has not yet run out, and funding for coverage is still available for prescription drug benefits, and dental and other health benefits. The fund will continue until it reaches the $3 million cap. Up to $2.5 million is available for prescription drug benefits coverage (Tranche 1) and up to $500,000 is available for emergency coverage for urgently required dental and other health benefits (Tranche 2). Once the Transition Fund is exhausted under either Tranche 1 or 2, no claims will be processed under that tranche.
Changes to prescription drug eligibility
As of March 14, 2016, the parameters of the fund were expanded and began providing coverage for repeat refills of 30-day prescription drugs.
Once you have claimed 30 days’ worth of prescriptions you will have to wait a period of time before processing your next refill. The next claim will be allowed when the beneficiary is 80 per cent of the way through their current prescription (e.g., day 24 of a 30-day claim). The 30-day repeat refills will continue until the fund runs out.
Claims for more than a 30-day supply will be rejected (e.g., if you claim for 90 days of prescriptions, the claim will be rejected. The pharmacy will have to resubmit for a 30-day supply and you will have to return once the wait period is done.)
Retroactive payments for 30-day repeat refills purchased before March 14, 2016 will not be issued.
The other provisions of the Transition Fund (e.g. the dental and other benefits) remain the same.
On September 16, 2014, US Steel Canada (USSC) filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)
As the result of the Court’s decision on October 9, 2015 regarding USSC’s cash conservation and business preservation plan, prescription drug and other health benefits (“OPEBS”) were suspended for eligible USSC retirees and their eligible spouses and dependents (“OPEB Beneficiaries”). Life insurance coverage was not suspended.
Following the Court decision, the Ontario government committed to establishing a $3 million Transition Fund to help support retirees and beneficiaries impacted by the suspension of their OPEBs. The Transition Fund is not a continuation of the USSC OPEBs but is meant to address urgent and critical health needs of affected retirees as they transition to other supports and programs available such as the Trillium Drug Program.
In December 2015, a Transition Fund letter was distributed to OPEB Beneficiaries, outlining how the Transition Fund would be used, and how to apply for coverage from the fund. The fund has been operational since January 1, 2016.
Further Information on the Transition Fund
The December 2015 Transition Fund letter, as well as details about the fund’s parameters and process for submitting claims are available through the websites of the representatives of the union and salaried retirees, and the Monitor, as follows:
· Ernst & Young - www.ey.com/ca/ussc
· USW Local 1005 – www.uswa1005.ca
· USW Local 8782 - www.uswa8782.com
· Koskie Minsky LLP – www.kmlaw.ca/cases/usscrepcounsel/
· Stel Salaried Pensioners Organization - www.stel-salaried-pensioners.org
If you do not have access to the internet, please refer to the following contacts provided for your convenience:
Non-USW Members: Koskie Minsky LLP at their toll-free phone number at 1-866-777-6341.
Tony McLaughlin Ron Wells
(905)547-1417 ext. 4 (905)547-1417 ext. 3
Terry Barnard Mark Talbot
519-587-2000 ext. 225 519-587-2000 ext. 301
Greenshield Canada call centre at their toll-free phone number at 1-888-711-1119.
Is Ontario Steel Too Big to Fail?
March 14, 2016
Transition Fund Update
As of March 14, 2016, the Transition Fund will cover repeats of 30-days supplies of prescription drugs until March 31, 2017, or until the fund runs out.
This means that once you have claimed 30 days' worth of prescriptions you will have to wait a period of time before processing the next prescription. The next claim will be allowed when a plan member is 80 per cent of the way through their current claim (e.g., day 24 of a 30-day claim) and this will continue until March 31, 2017 or until the funds runs out.
Claims for more than a 30-day supply will be rejected. (E.g., if you claim for 90 days of prescriptions, the claim will be rejected. The pharmacy will have to resubmit for a 30-day supply and you will have to return once the wait period is done.)
The other provisions of the Transition Fund remain the same.
Transition Fund Update
As we are sure, everyone is aware by now that the Judge presiding over the CCAA restructuring granted the Company a request for a business preservation plan as the Canadian Operations transitions into a stand alone business. The order allowed the Company to suspend retiree benefits, suspend payments of past service for the pensions and to not have to pay their Municipal taxes. The Union put forth that there were other cash conservation measures that could have been taken within the operations before taking these drastic steps.
There is still a substantial amount of dollars remaining in the Transition fund, so we continue to ask that 30-day supplies of prescriptions be given each month for those that require them until the fund expires on March 31 or the fund money runs out.
Emergency hardship (Tranche 2) is still available on an individual basis. We have proposed reviewing the criteria for accessing the emergency fund. We can assist you at the Union Hall in the process or you can send it in directly to the monitor. Forms are available to print off on our website.
We understand your frustration in this difficult time and understand that you earned your benefits by deferring your wages. Our position is to have our Benefits reinstated at some time in the future. We anticipate that we will have more information next week.
February 2, 2016
Benefit Transition Fund
The prescription drug portion of the transition fund that was funded by the government and administered by Greenshield and the monitor, was for there to be a one time 30 day maximum supply for a prescription. We have asked that this policy be reviewed with a view to provide for 30 days at a time for each prescription until the fund either runs out or until the end of March when the transition fund is scheduled to end.
We hope to know in the coming weeks whether it will get approval. If you require filling a prescription again prior to the decision maybe the pharmacy will give a few days worth until the decision is made. We have also requested that if people have already filled this months prescription, that there be a avenue for reimbursement.
December 23, 2015
Transition Fund Update
The Court approved the Retiree Benefit Transition Fund motion and signed the order today, so the fund will come into effect January 1. For more information see the documents listed below. The retirees will receive a mail out to inform them as well.
December 18, 2015
Government $3 Million Transition Fund for Retirees
Here are the Letters, Guidelines and Required Documents for the Transition Fund that has been announced for retirees. Please keep in mind that these are subject to the courts approval on December 23, 2015
September 3, 2015
For people wanting to view copies of Court Documents including the Monitors report which relate to the CCAA proceeding you can access them on the Court appointed Monitors website http://www.ey.com/ca/ussc.
Grievance Form Package
Here is a package to assist the steward body on the grievance procedure and process. To view the guideline click on the link below
Family Services Employee Assistance Program
The intent of the program is to assist troubled employees in arranging for appropriate private outside resources. If you have questions on the extent of assistance or require help please don't hesitate to call 1-800-668-9920 or for more information go to the website at http://www.myfseap.com/english/myeap/home.asp and login, user name is ussc and password is steel.
September 18, 2013
Group Home and Car etc. Insurance for
Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act. To view Click Here
This will explain your rights under the act as it relates to Hours of Work, Pregnancy and Parental Leave, Family Medical Leave or Personal Emergency Leave etc.
Go to the Meetings and Public Events page for upcoming meetings Updated September 5, 2016
We are trying to establish a database of e-mails for news bulletins etc. for our members and retirees. If you have an e-mail address and would like to be added to this list please click on one of the links below.
Members: Please be sure to include your full name or it will not be used. We need
to know we are only sending to our members. Send to email@example.com.
Retirees mail to: Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Local 8782 was first chartered in 1978. We negotiate collective agreements for our members at U.S. Steel (former Stelco) Lake Erie Works, Pickling Division, Harsco Services, and ESM. Since our members are directly employed in the Steel Industry, it is our responsibility to be involved in the fight to save the steel industry in Canada. For this reason we are launching this web site to communicate the latest developments that affect you.
We hope to use this site as another avenue to communicate to our membership on past, present and future initiatives. If you have any suggestions of what you would like to see, please use our feedback page and we will review all suggestions.
Send mail to email@example.com with questions or comments about this web site.