Youth against U.S. “Steal” – We demand decent jobs!

The battle against U.S. Steel by local 1005, and its members and pensioners, is more than just a local labour dispute.

It’s a battle for the future of Hamilton’s young workers and a battle for all Canadians to protect their future. This is only the latest attack on young workers by big multi-national corporations trying to erode working conditions, wages, pensions and a quality of life that past generations fought so hard for. This so-called “labour dispute” is about the company trying to stop indexing pensions and denying new hires the existing defined benefit pension plan, without which workers will retire into poverty.

Hamilton has a long history of working class people not giving in to policies that aren’t in their interests; a history of militancy and unity. Hamilton is a community that demands a fair wage for a fair day’s work.  Hamilton workers, youth, students and all those fighting for social justice will stand up and fight for people’s needs over profits and greed.

In Canada, we have been told that the recession is over and that we have been in recovery for a few months. Repeatedly we are told this. Why is the message so often repeated by the corporate owned news? Because the people don’t believe it. We don’t see it! The “recovery” has been for the profits going to the super rich who have saved themselves at the expense of the workers, whether by massive injections of public funds or through “stimulus funds” (essentially theft from the people, in both cases). While they have restored fat corporate salaries, and bonuses, they continue to cut wages, benefits and pensions. The people’s quality of life continues to decline.

Our future as a community and as a country will be bleak indeed if we allow the multi-nationals to dictate our wages, working and living conditions according to their profit margins. We must unite and stand together against the practices of companies like U.S. Steel. They cannot pull the wool over our eyes. If a particular “foreign investment” won’t maintain our living standards – such as defined benefit, indexed pensions – then the ICA (Investment Canada Act) must be used to fix the situation, up to and including measures such as divestiture and public take-over.

Two-tier contracts, like the one US Steel is pushing, means poverty and no future for young workers.  Already, youth unemployment is at record highs. Underemployment and part-time McJobs are the only option for most youth. Now they want to gut the last unionized jobs left. This will mean further roll-backs across the board in every sector. The solution is unity and struggle!

The youth and young workers of Hamilton, Ontario and Canada, will not stay silent and watch the destruction brought about by these firms. We stand in solidarity with the over 900 members and 9000 retirees of USW local 1005 who demand nothing more than fair treatment and what they were promised when U.S. Steel came to our city.  These promises have been flagrantly broken, and the federal and provincial governments have done nothing to stand up for the workers.  A Canadian future that involves Harper at the helm means more collusion with the largest and most vicious trans-nationals and a low-wage economy for the rest of us.

The Young Communist League – Ontario demands the following immediate measures be taken by the McGuinty and Harper governments to provide a future for youth and workers in Ontario:

  • the provincial government compel US Steel to return to the bargaining table to negotiate an early and just settlement with Local 1005
  • prosecute US Steel to the full extent of the law, including for price fixing and bargaining in bad faith
  • enact foreign investment laws that protect jobs and benefit Canada – not US Steel, Vale Inco, and the rest of these corporate criminals
  • substantially increase CPP pensions and reduce the voluntary pension age to 60
  • put through tough anti-scab legislation
  • a Bill of Rights for Labour guaranteeing the right to strike, picket and organize
  • the nationalization of US Steel’s Canadian operations; put them under public ownership and democratic control
  • a $16/hr minimum wage, no more poverty wages!
  • bankruptcy protection for workers’ wages and pensions
  • end tuition fees, by rolling back and eliminating them – Education is a right!
  • massive public investment to create jobs, expand manufacturing and secondary industry; build a Canadian car, build affordable housing, expand public services and Medicare, and build a national child care program

But the solution won’t come from government without a massive and militant fight back, with organized Labour leading the way.  The YCL-O realizes that it is capitalism itself that has spawned this most recent sharpened attack on the living conditions of the global working-class.  Ultimately, socialism, which would put workers in the driver’s seat in this country, is the only way to offer an end to re-occurring crisis and struggle against capitalist regression.

As one of the chants against US Steel goes: “What do we make? Steel! What do they do?  Steal!”

Solidarity with Hamilton Steelworkers!  Youth and young workers of Ontario, unite to defend our future!


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