June 1, 2017 7:57 am
Updated: December 29, 2017 2:38 pm

COMMENTARY: Will Stelco rise from the ashes?

U.S. Steel Corp.'s former Stelco plant has been a fixture on Hamilton's industrialized shoreline for decades.

Frank Gunn/Canadian Press
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We’re told that the proposed new owner of Stelco operations in Hamilton and  Nanticoke has an agreement in principle with the creditors and the two unions involved which could pave the way for finalizing the divorce from US Steel and getting back to the business of making steel.

It’s been a long and rocky road for steelworkers and pensioners from the two plants since US Steel took over operations some years ago.

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READ MORE: Stelco creditors vote in favour of deal

Promises of long-term employment and re-investment into plant operations never materialized and it seemed that union officials spent more time in the courtroom that on the shop floor.

But the court overseeing this gut-wrenching bankruptcy procedure likes the proposal from Bedrock Industries, and if the unions give their deal a thumbs up, it seems that Stelco may rise like a phoenix from the ashes and be a player in the steel industry again.

READ MORE: Stelco may soon be one step closer to emerging from creditor protection

But let’s not kid ourselves: there are still some concerns.

It’s unlikely that retirees will see full value for their pensions and benefits, and then there are the companion issues of job security and stability.

Most observers agree that Bedrock will likely hold on to Stelco for five or six years at the most and then attempt to find a buyer for the steel maker.

That presents the rather ominous possibility that this whole process could repeat itself.

For everyone’s sake, let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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