Hamilton, ON – Brant Federal New Democratic Candidate Marc Laferriere joined hundreds of workers from Brantford at the Hamilton Day of Action rally denouncing the U.S. Steel lockout on Saturday, an event which drew several thousand people to the downtown core and saw speeches from Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton, Provincial Leader Andrea Horwath, Sid Ryan, Leo Gerrard and many others.
“I was very proud to join the families from Brantford to help support Brantford area U.S. Steel workers,” said Laferriere. “Like the workers at ECP here in Brantford, they are struggling to deal with a company who wants to unfairly deny employees the benefits and pensions they have earned. We need to support the workers at U.S. Steel just like we need to support the workers at ECP and all working families in Brant and beyond.”
When U.S. Steel was given federal approval to purchase the former Stelco in 2007, they made promises to the Canadian government that there would be a ‘net benefit’ to the agreement, including keeping jobs and production at a certain level for 3 years. Within 24 months, the plant had been closed twice, and the company is looking for concessions to be made on pensions and benefits.
“The fight that the U.S. Steel Workers are facing is the same fight that we are facing at ECP in Brantford and all over the province if the turnout here today is any indication,” said Don Guest 1st Vice President of the Brantford & District Labour Council.
Brantford was represented at the rally by local CUPE 181 & 5100, CAW 504, the OSSTF and the Grand Erie Elementary Teacher’s Local of the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario. USW representation came from USW Local 1-500 & 733 as well as from USW 1005 members who live in Brantford. All of these workers came together to support the workers from U.S. Steel, and to continue to draw attention to the nearly two and a half year strike at Engineered Coating Products on Henry Street.
“Today was about decent jobs, secure retirements and holding foreign companies to the agreements they make for the net benefit of Canadians,” said Laferriere from the rally site.