Worried Hamilton politicians are calling on upper levels of government for help after news that one of its largest employers, US Steel, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
City councillors voted to ask the province for an urgent meeting around the steel giant's announcement, which caught them off guard. It's also asked staff to rush on a report evaluating the economic impact on the city if US Steel was to close its Hamilton plant altogether.
The announcement raised questions about what the move will mean to the city, particularly as it pertains to the hundreds of jobs and thousands of pensioners who live in Hamilton.
US Steel’s stock has soared since the company announced it would be filing for bankruptcy protection in Canada, a move that caught the City of Hamilton off guard.
But in Hamilton, the move has again raised questions about what the move will mean to the city and it unleashed another round of criticism both over how the company has behaved since buying up Stelco and how Canadian governments have handled the US steelmaker.
Hamilton Mayor Mr Bob Bratina said that he was shocked to learn the news US Steel, formerly Stelco, filed for bankruptcy protection with the Superior Court of Ontario under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act after the market closed. The company also cancelled more than USD 800 million (US) in capital investments south of the border, in Indiana and Minneapolis.
Mr Andrea Horwath leader of Ontario NDP said that “The Premier has many options to make sure steel jobs stay in Hamilton instead of throwing up her hands. New Democrats have long proposed a job creator tax credit, getting sky high electricity prices under control, and an industrial investment tax credit, all of which could help keep industry in Hamilton and in the province.”
Mr Duvall, a Ward 7 councillor, said that US Steel is following a pattern of dumping losses on Canadian operations to make the foreign operations look good, while receiving bailouts north of the border. Big companies and corporations are taking advantage of this loophole.
He said that "They get themselves into so much debt. They're foreign owned. They suck that (Canadian) company dry and then they their (foreign owned) company can look good and then they call for creditor's protection. After everybody's been honest, giving them credit, doing what they've got to do, and saying, 'Well to get back on our feet we've got to rob you a little bit.”
(Source - www.steelguru.com)