Friday October 9, 2015
Decision on U.S. Steel Canada benefit, tax cuts Friday
The judge presiding over U.S. Steel Canada restructuring hearings says he will render a decision Friday on a controversial plan to sever the subsidiary from its parent company and relieve it of tens of millions of dollars in pension benefit and municipal tax obligations.
Justice Herman J. Wilton-Siegel said it is one of the toughest decisions he has had to make from the bench. He said he will give a short written summary of his decision tomorrow and then follow it up with a detailed explanation next week.
Dozens of USSC retirees bused into Toronto again today and packed the courtroom where lawyers representing stakeholders gave their final submissions.
A lawyer for the steelmaker reiterated the company’s position that USSC was a victim of circumstances and changing market conditions that turned the business into a crisis requiring the difficult measures of the transition agreement.
Pension benefit obligations were estimated to be $40 million before the end of this year and the company does not have the funds, he said.
He refuted arguments from United Steelworkers lawyers that savings could be found elsewhere — making the pension benefit hit unnecessary — and that the company’s grim fortunes were the result of steel orders being moved from the Canadian subsidiary to other U.S. Steel operations.
United Steelworkers 1005 President Gary Howe said after the hearing that he expects the judge to go along with the company plan because it has the backing of the monitor overseeing the proceedings. In its most recent statement, the monitor said “a near-term cessation of operations will be necessary” if the company plan isn’t accepted. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)