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

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

Canada’s Exclusion from U.S. Aluminum, Steel Tariffs Clearly Warranted


TORONTO, MONTREAL, 1 March 2018 – Canada’s steel and aluminum producers clearly must be excluded from U.S. import tariffs announced today by President Donald Trump, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.


“The evidence is clear that Canadian steel and aluminum imports are not part of the problem that the U.S. administration is trying to address through its Section 232 investigation,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

U.S. President Donald Trump today announced plans to impose tariffs of 10% on aluminum imports and 25% on steel imports. Key details, such as whether fair-trading allies such as Canada will be excluded from duties, have yet to be disclosed.

“The investigation heard extensive evidence that Canada is a key U.S. ally that should be excluded from tariffs. Canada clearly is not one of the ‘bad actors’ that engage in unfair trade and dumping of aluminum and steel into the United States,” Neumann said.


“On the contrary, Canadian steel exports are part of deeply integrated supply chains for U.S. products. Imposing tariffs on Canadian exports risks causing significant economic harm and job losses on both sides of our border,” he said.


“The aim of the U.S. government’s Section 232 investigation is to respond to countries whose trade practices represent a threat to American national security. The evidence confirms that tariffs and punitive actions are warranted against ‘bad actor’ countries that engage in illegal dumping and unfair trade practices, including China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam.”


“Canada is not the problem,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.


“The United States and Canada have integrated manufacturing markets. In addition, the defence and intelligence relationship between the countries is unique and integral to our security. Any solution must exempt Canadian production,” Gerard said. “At the same time, Canada must commit to robust enforcement of its trade laws and enhance its cooperation to address global overcapacity in steel and aluminum.”


Steelworkers’ Quebec Director Alain Croteau asserted that “U.S. tariffs against Canadian aluminum producers would not serve the interests of the American economy.


“Canadian producers represent a stable, secure and environmentally favourable source of aluminum that benefits American industry and consumers,” Croteau said.


“Canadian and American workers and consumers should expect that the U.S. government will do the right thing and exempt Canadian aluminum and steel exports from tariffs or quotas,” he added.


The USW reiterated its call for the Government of Canada to act decisively to defend Canadian industries and jobs.


“U.S. tariffs threaten to increase the dumping of cheap foreign steel into Canada,” Neumann said. “The federal government must act to protect Canadian industry and jobs from this potential diversion of cheap imports into our markets.”


Teck sees strong demand for steelmaking coal in 2018

TORONTO (Reuters) – Teck Resources Ltd, the world’s second-biggest exporter of steelmaking coal, said on Wednesday that growing global steel production is expected to boost demand for its coal in 2018, though coal trade competition will also likely rise.

Vancouver-based Teck, which also mines copper, zinc, gold and oil sands, said it is “feeling pretty good about 2018” after reporting in-line financial results.

“Most of us forget what this feels like, but it’s certainly very good for commodity markets, and they are now demand driven, rather than supply driven,” Chief Executive Don Lindsay said on a conference call.

“We see continued strength in commodity prices and Teck is certainly well positioned to take advantage of that.”

Steelmaking coal demand is expected to keep climbing in 2018, Teck said, while ongoing logistics and production issues at key Australian mines support prices.

It is unclear how an expected recovery in Australian exports this year and coal trade rebalancing will affect pricing, but Teck said it can respond to changing markets.

Teck sold 6.4 million tonnes of steelmaking coal in the fourth quarter, at an average realized price of $170 per tonne.

It sees 2018 output of 26 million to 27 million tonnes of steelmaking coal. Production in 2019 to 2022 will range between 26.5 million and 27.5 million tonnes, despite this year’s closure of Coal Mountain operations.

Copper production is forecast at 270,000 to 330,000 tonnes in 2018 and 270,000 to 300,000 tonnes for 2019 to 2022. Zinc production is seen at 645,000 to 670,000 tonnes in 2018, dropping to between 575,000 and 625,000 tonnes in 2019 to 2022.

Teck expects its share of production from Fort Hills oils sands mine at 7.5 million to 9 million barrels of bitumen in 2018 and 14 million barrels in 2019 to 2022.

It holds a 20.89 percent stake in Fort Hills, which produced its first oil in January, with partners Suncor Energy and Total SA. Production is seen reaching at least 90 percent of capacity by year-end.

Lindsay said he hopes Teck will build up cash reserves from high commodity prices and see copper supplies tighten before moving ahead with its US$4.7 billion second-phase Quebrada Blanca project. Permits are expected in the first half of 2018 and a decision in the second half.

Shares of Teck, up nearly 15 per cent year-to-date, were about 1 per cent higher at C$37.72 at mid-session.

Reporting by Susan Taylor and Shubham Kalia; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli


3 Day layoff’s

With the high number of 3 day layoff’s being implemented in this last month, please make sure your total time lost has not exceeded 3 calendar days in this month. If so, please contact a shop steward.

Tubular Division Layoff Update

The union has been informed by management that the pending layoff for January 20th will be extended by one week to January 27th as a precautionary measure in accordance with Article 12.12(b) of the current CBA. Rail cars are now arriving daily with CP and CN rail assuring continued supply for demand. We are cautiously optimistic that shipments will no longer be interrupted and hopeful that members will not experience any layoff through this period. The local will continue to keep information current and accurate as we move through this process. 

In Solidarity!

3 Day Layoff Update

Tubular Division – Management has confirmed late this afternoon that an anticipated 3 day layoff planned for January 13th-16th inclusive for the Spiral Mill has been cancelled. Notice for the January 20th indefinite layoff is still in effect.

Steel Division – Management has notified the union that due to a lack of proper scrap material, they are preparing to implement the 3 day layoff clause that will effect members in the Rolling Mill on January 11th & 12th. Members working in the Melt Shop will be effected January 13th & 14th with operations resuming to full capacity in both areas on January 15th. Some members will remain working during this time to assist with maintenance projects.

CBA Expiry Date One Year Away

What will the next year bring for the members of this local? After yesterdays announcement of 0.00% profit sharing. Layoffs in the last quarter. The clamp down on overtime in recent months and the lack of preventative maintenance in the mills. All apparent cost cutting measures we are witnessing and feeling, are glaring examples of just a few of the band-aid solutions the company is using on the backs of our members because of it’s mismanagement and continued financial troubles.

What’s in store for us as a union? As the company dreams up more cost cutting measures for our next CBA?

One thing is for certain Brothers and Sisters. A year from now, we cannot not and we will not, allow ourselves to even think of accepting anything but a fair and decent Collective Agreement. Don’t tell me that some executive share holder didn’t receive stock dividends this last quarter on your back breaking work. Remember a year from now Brothers and Sisters, remember. We are a world class workforce, that deserves a world class contract.

We will not submit

We will not lie down

We we not roll over

We will not comply without question

We will not go quietly

We will not shut up

We will not sit down

We will stand Up! Fight back!

Solidarity Forever!

Corey Liebrecht, President


Bargaining Update and Order Picture

The Bargaining Committee just met for two days with the Company on non-monetary issues. There were two articles settled with improvements (Article 6.04 and Article 8.00). The Company and the Union have moved closer on a few other issues.

After the session was completed the Company informed the Executive Commitee of the order picture in coming months. According to the Company by  mid October welding in spiral will be complete which will affect coil prep, the spiral mills, and yard employment levels. Two weeks after welding is complete the finishing lines should be done finishing the order. This is all expected to cause layoffs.

According to the Company the 2′ mill  should go back to full production (4 shifts)  when the steelmill can provide coils.

According to the Company the 24″ mill will be  unaffected.

Steel side employment levels will depend on new orders of steel to replace the spiral orders (eg. service center orders)

According to the Company (today) the level of cutbacks  will be up to 250 people in tubular. The Steel numbers as of today are uncertain.

We want to remind all members to remember that these types of events have happened in the past when orders  are complete and that this is not just happening during or because we are in bargaining.