News, Developments and Information

Trade Committee hears impacts of steel and aluminum tariffs from Industry Dept. officials

Steel and aluminum prices have jumped 30 to 40 percent due to cross-border tariffs, the Department of Industry yesterday told the Commons trade committee. Officials did not detail the impact on consumer costs and factory layoffs.

“Higher steel and aluminum prices increase costs for many users,” said Assistant Deputy Industry Minister Paul Halucha; “The impact of the current North American trade climate on steel and aluminum goes well beyond the companies and the workers in this industry.”

U.S. and Canadian tariffs are 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The duties were left untouched in a tentative United States-Mexico-Canada trade pact signed September 30.

“The benchmark monthly steel price in North America has reached heights not seen previously since 2008,” said Halucha. “Since the beginning of the year the benchmark price for U.S. Midwest hot-rolled coil has increased from US$729 per ton in January to a peak of over $1,000 in July. From that high, the benchmark has fallen to US$956 per ton. This is in contrast to 2017 and 2016 when the average monthly price was $680 and $571 per ton respectively.”

“The all-in price of aluminum has surged more than 40 percent,” said Halucha. “There is no doubt the price increases are a result of the ongoing trade action.”

“There appears to be no end in sight,” said Conservative MP Colin Carrie (Oshawa, Ont.). “Are you worried about the long-term impact this is going to have on our Canadian steel and aluminum industries?”

“I’m an optimistic person by nature,” replied Assistant Deputy Minister Halucha. The committee was told the Department of Employment has contacted more than 120 employers in the trade with “known or announced layoffs”, but did not elaborate.

“It’s killing Canadian businesses,” said MP Tracey Ramsey (Essex, Ont.), New Democrat trade critic. “Once they close, the chances of them being able to come back again are very, very slim. We are in an emergency situation.”

Steel and aluminum mills employ 33,000 Canadians, by official estimate

Profit Sharing Grievance

Brothers and Sisters

On September 20th, 2018 your President {Mike Day}, Vice President {Ryan Mckenzie} and USW Staff Rep {Patrick Veinot} met with the company to discuss the profit sharing grievance. The grievance revolves around the company not providing the Union with A copy of the Audited Consolidated Statement of Income for Evraz Inc.NA Canada. What the company has been providing is merely a spreadsheet with their numbers on them.

The Company has also informed us that they have gone away from the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles {GAAP} , also outlined in the collective agreement and switched to an   International standard. The company contended that they can’t produce just the North American aspect of the audit. They admitted that what the information they have been sending us has been incorrect and they said they have no intention of providing us with what is outlined in the collective agreement but yet stated they are willing to work with the Union. We have requested more information from the company and will keep you informed of where and how this is going.

Essar Algoma wants tariffs gone, explore quota system (USW is not in favour of quotas

Canadian steelmaker Essar Steel Algoma Inc. yesterday appealed to the Commons trade committee for help against U.S. duties. One factory owner told MPs’ tariff hearings that all Canadians are now paying for cross-border taxes.

“This has had a significant impact on Algoma’s exposure to the United States in the short period of time these tariffs have been in place,” said CEO Kalyan Ghosh. “We have seen a drop in exports to key states where we send the majority of our products – Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and others.”

American tariffs are 25 per cent on Canadian steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. Cabinet imposed comparable retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports July 1 worth more than $300-million.

“We recommend the government explore a quota-based system in exchange for tariff exemption,” said Ghosh; “Trade quotas could be divvied up between Canadian steelmakers based on historical performance”, he said. Continue reading Essar Algoma wants tariffs gone, explore quota system (USW is not in favour of quotas

LNG Canada project in BC approved by shareholders

By Canadian Press. Published on Oct 2, 2018

VANCOUVER — Investors have given final approval for a massive liquefied national gas project in northern British Columbia.

The five partners have agreed to the $40-billion joint venture that includes a gas liquefaction plant in Kitimat on B.C.’s coast and a 670-kilometre pipeline delivering natural gas from the northeast corner of the province.

The partners — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., the Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetorChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — delayed the final investment decision in 2016, citing a drop in natural gas prices. Continue reading LNG Canada project in BC approved by shareholders

NAFTA Deal a Sell-Out for Canadian Steel, Aluminum Workers

TORONTO, 1 October 2018 – Tens of thousands of Canadian families have been left in the lurch from concessions made by the Liberal government to get a deal with the Unites States on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

 

“Time and time again during the NAFTA renegotiations, the Liberal government assured Canadians that it was defending our steel and aluminum sectors and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Canadian families,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) Canadian Director.

 

“Given the Liberal government’s rhetoric throughout the process, it was inconceivable that it would agree to any deal that harms Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors,” Neumann said.

 

“Instead, the Canadian government struck a deal with the U.S. that fails to remove the senseless and damaging tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium imposed by the Trump administration in June,” he said.

 

“Canadians expected that an agreement on NAFTA would result in the U.S. lifting the bogus national-security tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium. Instead, it appears Canadian steel and aluminum workers are among those being sacrificed in the concessions made by the Liberal government in this deal,” he said.

 

“Rather than give-and-take negotiations that would generate new provisions to improve Canada’s trading position with the U.S., the Liberal government engaged strictly in concession bargaining,” Neumann said.

 

“The Liberals made concession after concession, until the Trump administration got the deal it wanted. In the process, Canadian government sold out Canadian steel and aluminum workers. So much for the ‘win-win-win’ deal promised by this government,” he said.

 

“Canada’s government must draw a line on this issue. The U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum must be lifted immediately.”

 

Steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place despite new trade deal, Ross says

Commerce Secretary Ross says the new trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico – to be known as USMCA going forward, not NAFTA – will not result in the removal of steel and aluminum tariffs, which he says will be handled separately and have no timeline.

“There are problems specific to steel and aluminum relating to our national defense, and at this point of time, those stay the same,” Ross tells Fox Business Network. “For that matter, there’s also a provision in here that if we put in a [Section] 232 on automobiles in the future, there will be an exemption of current levels from within the Canadian, Mexican manufacturing.”

Ross says a benefit of the new agreement is that 40%-45% of auto content will be produced at wages more than $16/hour, “meant to assure that the U.S. gets its fair share

Ford CEO says Trump’s metal tariffs cost automaker $1-billion

Steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have cost Ford Motor Co about $1-billion in profits, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday, while Honda Motor Co said higher steel prices have brought “hundreds of millions of dollars” in new costs.

“From Ford’s perspective the metals tariffs took about $1-billion in profit from us,” CEO James Hackett said at a Bloomberg conference in New York, “The irony of which is we source most of that in the U.S. today anyway. If it goes on any longer, it will do more damage.”

Hackett did not specify what period the $1-billion covered, but a spokesman said the automaker’s CEO was referring to internal forecasts at Ford for higher tariff-related costs in 2018 and 2019. Continue reading Ford CEO says Trump’s metal tariffs cost automaker $1-billion

Privacy Group Grievance

Brothers and Sisters

Your Union has filed a Group Grievance regarding what we believe is a violation of Privacy regarding the company’s Medical Report of Injury/ Illness Form. We feel that too much information is being asked for by the company regarding your medical information.

If you are returning to work and need this form completed, please call the office @306-569-9663 to discuss the form and our concerns around the privacy of what they are asking for.

 

In Solidarity.

Grievance 16/20-142

Brothers and Sisters,

On August 15th, 2018 your Union filed a group grievance under article 15.06{profit sharing}. It has come to our attention that the company has not been sending us the proper information when it comes to statements of income. After bringing it to the company’s attention and getting no response the grievance was filed. This was discussed at the 3rd step meeting held on Aug 21,2018 and the company has 15 days to respond.

Grievance 16/20-141 Group

Brothers and Sisters,

It has come to the attention of your Union that the company has been making employees use their vacation days for Personal Leave of Absences. On August 15th a grievance was filed with the company on this matter. Members are encouraged to contact a shop steward or executive member or email m.day@usw5890.com if this has happened to you.

Duties on Canadian Made Pipe

The United States has opened a new battleground in its trade war with the world, announcing preliminary anti-dumping duties on large-diameter welded pipe from Canada and five other countries.

The U.S. is to immediately begin collecting 24.38 per cent cash deposits on imports from Canada that were worth almost US$180 million in 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday.

The other countries being hit with duties are China, Greece, India, Korea, and Turkey, with penalties ranging from 3.45 per cent for Turkey to more than 132 per cent for China.

India is the only country on the list that had greater exports of the pipe to the U.S. in 2017 than Canada, at $295 million US.

The decision is “disappointing” but it affects only one of his members, said Joe Galimberti, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, which represents the $15-billion primary steel production industry here.

He said the Canadian arm of Chicago-based Evraz North America is the only manufacturer of large-diameter welded pipe in Canada. Continue reading Duties on Canadian Made Pipe

Cola

 

The CPI figure for July was released on August 17, 2018,  Per the Collective Agreement the following calculation will apply:

 

July 2018                                            138

April 2018                                          137.5

 

Difference                                           .5

(Divide difference by .063)  =           $0.07

 

Effective with the first pay period after the release, COLA will be $0.80 per straight time hour worked as it was previously $0.73.

 

Quebec gov’t setting aside $900-million for companies affected by tarifffs

The Quebec government is setting aside almost $900 million for companies affected by tariffs recently imposed on Canada by the United States.

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years in direct investments, tax subsidies and training.

U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed 25 per cent tariffs on imported steel and 10 per cent tariffs on imported aluminum from many countries including Canada, which has retaliated with tariffs of its own.

The provincial money will go towards offering companies liquidity to continue their activities, and to reduce contributions small and medium-sized companies have to make to the province’s heath services fund.

Quebec’s plan also aims to increase investment in the agricultural sector and it sets aside $55 million for labour-related programs.

Couillard says the five-year financial package is expected to spur $3 billion for the Quebec economy over the same period.

“We are living an exceptional experience that demands an exceptional response,” Couillard said.

Evraz’ response to Government actions

 

“Evraz North America welcomes the actions by the Government of Canada towards initiating a domestic Safeguard action.  This Safeguard is essential to stabilize Canada’s domestic steel market, especially for energy tubular products, with the goal that Canadian producers and steel workers are not further harmed by dramatic increases in offshore steel imports. “

 

Federal Steel Measures a Needed Step

Federal Steel Measures a Needed Step: Steelworkers

Aug. 14, 2018 – “The United Steelworkers union (USW) welcomes today’s announcement by the federal government commencing consultations on steel safeguards and protection measures our union has been requesting for months,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

“In addition to consultations, the USW continues to call for Canadian trade unions to have the right to initiate trade complaints,” emphasized Neumann.

The dumping of steel on the international market by countries including China, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam has been a problem for the North American steel industry and workers for a number of years.

Once U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum earlier this year, it was obvious the Canadian government would need to take strong action to avoid increased and specific dumping into Canada as a result.

In addition to fighting the imposition of U.S. tariffs onto Canada, the Steelworkers have consistently insisted that measures need to be taken by our federal government to protect Canada from further dumping as an indirect avenue into the American market.

“Today the federal government has taken a needed step towards aiding and safeguarding the Canadian steel industry. We welcome it and look forward to further measures to aid this essential Canadian industry,” added Neumann.

 

Feds to announce consultation Tuesday on cheap foreign steel

OTTAWA — The federal government will announce the start of consultations Tuesday on how best to address concerns that cheaper foreign steel is entering the Canadian market, industry representatives say.

Jesse Goldman, a lawyer representing the Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel, says the group has been informed by federal officials that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will make the announcement during an event at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco steelmaker’s offices in Hamilton, Ont.

Goldman, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais, says the federal consultation period on safeguards will last for 15 days and he expects the government to study the information for a few weeks before making a decision. Continue reading Feds to announce consultation Tuesday on cheap foreign steel

Canada investigating Taiwan industry for steel sheet dumping

Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA) released a statement on Aug. 10 that they have begun an investigation into dumping of “corrosion-resistant steel sheets” (COR) by Taiwan and other nations onto the Canadian market.

According to the announcement, the CBSA received a formal complaint from the company ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P. on June 5 alleging that imports of COR were being unfairly dumped onto the Canadian market by the Taiwan, in addition to China, Hong Kong, Macau India and South Korea.

Referring to Taiwan as a “Separate Customs Territory,” the Canadian Border Services Agency even uses the terminology of the International Olympic Committee “Chinese Taipei” to refer to the country in the document.

According to the CBSA, there is “a reasonable indication that the dumping of (COR) has caused injury and/or is threatening to cause injury to the Canadian industry producing like goods.”

The CBSA subsequently began an investigation into the matter on July 28, and is now requesting information from all potential importers and exporters of COR for the period between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 to be analyzes by the agency.

A preliminary ruling is expected to be made before Oct. 24, 2018, according to the announcement. If the imports indicate harmful dumping of COR, a subsequent determination on the scope and potential anti-dumping duties will be announced within 120 days of the preliminary ruling.

 

Stelco set to benefit from steel tariffs due to large Canadian market

Stelco Holdings Inc. is poised to benefit from the steel tariff battle between Canada and the United States because as much as 85 per cent of the steel it makes is sold in Canada and not subject to tariffs.

“Trade cases are tightening the market here in Canada and giving us a good opportunity,” Stelco chief executive officer Alan Kestenbaum told analysts on the company’s second-quarter financial results conference call on Wednesday. “We will continue to focus on Canada. That includes potentially benefiting from demand created by declining sales of U.S.-produced steel into Canada due to Canada’s recently implemented 25 per cent tariffs against U.S.-made steel.”

Stelco, which emerged from protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act about a year ago, will also gain from trade cases Canada has launched against China, South Korea, Vietnam and other countries on cold rolled steel and corrosion resistant steel, Mr. Kestenbaum said.

Safeguard trade actions that the federal government is considering to block countries from shipping steel into the United States through Canada will also help, he said.

“These safeguards seal the border” and should convince the United States that cheap steel is not being diverted to the U.S. market through Canada, he said.

He noted that Stelco’s upgrades of its cold mill coincide with the trade actions and “will expand our presence and product capability in the cold rolled steel market – now the most profitable market on a per ton basis in our portfolio.”

The tariff war on metals began on June 1 with the United States imposing levies of 25 per cent on steel imported from Canada and several other countries and 10 per cent on aluminum imports from Canada and elsewhere. Continue reading Stelco set to benefit from steel tariffs due to large Canadian market

Full impact of tariffs remains uncertain

Effects of a trade war sparked by the Trump administration’s recent tariffs on various imported materials and products continue to unfold.

The U.S. imposed tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods from Canada, Mexico and the European Union in early June and on China in early July. These countries imposed tariffs on U.S. goods in retaliation.

The impact of steel and aluminum tariffs is particularly strong and far-reaching. Media reports say there is little foreign steel and aluminum coming into the U.S. now, allowing domestic producers to hike their prices.

Corey Sheets, co-owner of Meadows Mills Inc. in North Wilkesboro, said American steel manufacturers started raising prices when tariffs were simply mentioned. Plate steel prices are up 30 per cent and structural steel prices rose 20 per cent recently, he said.

Meadows Mills makes sawmills, agricultural implements, grain mills and other products, with mostly domestic sales currently. Sheets said the company’s sales are strong and costs may be leveling off. Continue reading Full impact of tariffs remains uncertain

U.S. Trade Representative insists that Canadian steel is a security threat – oh, but Canada isn’t an unfriendly neighbour/neighbor

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s point man on trade is doubling down on the decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel, calling Canada’s industry a national security threat to the United States.

Under pointed questioning from a Senate committee, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer is testifying today about the administration’s trade policy and 2019 budget.

Lighthizer is adamant that Canadian steel remains a national security threat to the United States requiring the tariffs imposed earlier this year.

He says no one in the administration is declaring war on Canada or calling the country an unfriendly neighbour.

If the Americans want to protect their domestic steel and aluminum industry, he says the administration can’t exempt one country like Canada and allow steel to flow through its borders and into the United States.

Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs on a slew of American products this month after Trump slapped tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Investigation launched into corrosion-resistant steel sheet from China, Chinese Taipei, India and South Korea

OTTAWA, July 26, 2018 /CNW/ – The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that it is launching an investigation into whether or not certain corrosion-resistant steel sheet originating in or exported from China, Chinese Taipei, India and South Korea is being sold at unfair prices in Canada.

The investigation is the result of a complaint filed by ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P., located in Hamilton, Ontario. The complaint is supported by Stelco Inc. The complainant alleges that the Canadian industry is facing increasing volumes of dumped subject goods, lost sales, price undercutting, price depression, negative financial results, underutilized production capacity, reduced employment, and threat to continuous investments.

Currently, there are 101 special import measures in force, covering a wide variety of products, from steel to refined sugar. These measures have directly helped to protect the Canadian economy and jobs in Canada.

Quick Facts

  • The subject goods are corrosion-resistant flat-rolled steel sheet products of carbon steel including products alloyed with certain elements. For more product information, please refer to the CBSA’s website.
  • Corrosion-resistant steel sheet is commonly used in the production of a range of goods such as farm buildings, grain bins, culverts, garden sheds, roofing material, siding, floor decks, roof decks, wall studs, drywall corner beads, doors, door frames, ducting (and other heating and cooling applications), flashing, hardware products and appliance components. Corrosion-resistant steel sheet for use in automobiles and automobile parts is not included in this investigation.
  • The CBSA and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal(CITT) both play a role in the investigation. The CITT will begin a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the imports are harming Canadian producers and will issue a decision by September 24, 2018.
  • Concurrently, the CBSA will investigate whether the imports are being sold in Canadaat unfair prices, and will make a preliminary decision by October 24, 2018.
  • A copy of the Statement of Reasons, which provides more details about the investigation, will be available on the CBSA’s website at cbsa.gc.ca/sima-lmsiwithin 15 days.
  • To address the evolving nature of trade and to ensure the well-being of industries like steel that are essential to the Canadian economy, Canadais modernizing its trade remedy system. As part of our commitment, the CBSA is working to strengthen our trade remedy systems, improve transparency and coordinate our efforts against unfair trade practices.
  • In 2017, the Canadian steel industry employed more than 23,000 Canadians and contributed $4.2 billionto Canada’sgross domestic product (GDP). The Canadian aluminum industry employed 10,500 workers while contributing $4.7 billion to Canada’s These industries are vital suppliers to the Canadian manufacturing, energy, automotive and construction industries.

Court against company that fired worker over drug test results

An appeals court has ruled against a company that fired an employee for failing a drug test. The judgment by the Newfoundland & Labrador Court of Appeal is the first since Parliament voted to legalize marijuana.

Justice Gale Welsh dismissed an appeal by the Hibernia Platform Employers’ Organization over the firing of Gary Carroll, a longtime helicopter deck hand on a Hibernia rig. Carroll tested positive for banned tranquilizers under a company Drug And Alcohol Policy permitting tests “after a significant incident or a safety incident as determined by management.” The test followed repeated complaints of misplaced luggage aboard choppers that ferried crew from the offshore platform.

Unifor Local 2121 challenged Carroll’s firing as disproportionate, and the drug test as unnecessary. An arbitration board and lower court agreed, ruling misplaced luggage was not so serious a “safety incident” that it justified testing all eight helicopter deck hands on duty. Unifor argued managers conducted so many drug tests after trivial incidents that it “amounted to random drug testing” in breach of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that tests could only be performed with cause and consent.

“The employer submits that the board’s decision was unreasonable because the interpretation of the Drug And Alcohol Policy resulted in an interference with management’s right to order drug testing,” wrote Justice Welsh. The Court dismissed the company’s appeal.

The Senate by a June 19 vote of 52 to 29 passed into law Bill C-45 An Act Respecting Cannabis. The legislation to take effect October 17 legalizes recreational marijuana, including public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. Employers’ groups unsuccessfully appealed to Parliament to amend the bill to permit random workplace drug tests. Continue reading Court against company that fired worker over drug test results

Top American brands say trade war is eating into their profits

Some of the largest companies in America are reporting that they are suffering the sting of the Trump administration’s trade war, sounding alarm in an otherwise prosperous economy.

Midway through the corporate earnings season, companies across a broad array of industries are citing tariffs, particularly those imposed on aluminum and steel, as the culprit for lower profits, higher prices for consumers and even sweeping changes in their planning and operations, such as moving production out of China.

Goods as varied as whiskey and My Little Pony, washing machines and Maseratis are caught in the crossfire of a trade war that has brewed for months. Since March, Trump has levied tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of steel and aluminum imports from China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Japan and other nations. He is also threatening to impose tariffs on cars and uranium.

Some worry that the tariffs could disrupt a healthy economy that, so far, has kept an even keel amid President Trump’s Twitter storms, a rise in oil prices and anticipation that the Federal Reserve will keep notching up interest rates. Despite Washington’s chaos, reliably strong corporate earnings have provided a ballast in U.S. financial markets since the prospect of a trade war emerged. Continue reading Top American brands say trade war is eating into their profits