United Steelworkers to appeal debt decision in U.S. Steel proceedings

The United Steelworkers are planning to launch an appeal to overturn a judge's ruling favouring U.S. Steel in ongoing bankruptcy protection proceedings.

Appeal documents to be filed in the near future

United Steelworkers plan to appeal a Supreme Court decision made earlier this week in favour of U. S. Steel, the parent company of U.S. Steel Canada. (CBC)

The United Steelworkers will launch an appeal to overturn a judge's ruling favouring U.S. Steel in ongoing bankruptcy protection proceedings.

The union made the announcement on Friday, following Monday's Superior Court ruling where Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel decided in favour of the Pittsburgh-based corporation on claims that the more than $2.2 billion it invested in the Canadian operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke is debt to be repaid.

United Steelworkers Ontario Director Marty Warren said the appeal documents will be filed in the near future.

"Following review and analysis on the Superior Court ruling released Monday, we can reiterate that we disagree with much of what the judge decided," he wrote in a news release from the union. 

The process hasn't even started yet.-Tony DePaulo, assistant to the United Steelworkers Ontario Director

Tony DePaulo, assistant to the United Steelworkers Ontario Director, is encouraging union members not to believe the rumours and "misinformation" circulating about the Canadian operations.

In a phone interview on Friday afternoon, he said he doesn't like people on the radio or in the media surmising about what the overall outcome of the trial might be. These comments hurt workers and cause them to worry unnecessarily. 

"The process hasn't even started yet," he said. 

Not living up to fiduciary responsibilities

"The reality is that this week's court decision was just about Phase 1 of the USS claims trial," DePaulo said in the release. "In Phase 2 the court will hear the USW's objections to how USS has treated its Canadian plants and pensioners." 

The United Steelworkers have a long list of issues and concerns with the Superior Court's decision. These are outlined in their release.

The union said the ruling "largely ignored that USS knew that USSC was insolvent when it granted the secured claims."

Instead of informing pensioners, the union and other material creditors, the parent company, U.S. Steel, kept the information of U.S. Steel Canada's insolvency a secret, the release reads. The parent company secretly piled secured debt on U.S. Steel Canada "to place itself ahead of its pensioners and other USW stakeholders and other creditors."

DePaulo said the union will be making the case that its claims should be placed in front of the claims of U.S. Steel.

"We should be in front of them," he said. "They didn't live up to what they were supposed to do when they bought Stelco, and they whittled it down."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.