Steelworkers claim Hamilton MP swore at union reps, demand apology

Two steelworkers unions claim that Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina used strong language during a visit to the MP's office in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Rennison

Two local steelworkers unions are demanding a public apology from Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina after they claim union reps were ejected from his office in Ottawa on Tuesday following an expletive-laden tirade.

Steelworkers Local 1005 president Gary Howe alleges that when union officials challenged Bratina on “his promise to advocate on behalf of Hamilton steelworkers to get the laws changed, he lost his temper.”

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Howe told CHML that Bratina said he was tired of the “(expletive) steelworkers” and told them to get out of his “(expletive) office” before slamming the door on them.

Local steelworkers were in Ottawa as part of an effort sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress to lobby members of Parliament to change bankruptcy and insolvency laws as well institute a universal pharmacare program.

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Tony Ciaramella, president of Local 5328, which represents employees of ArcelorMittal Hamilton East, says Bratina’s reaction was “completely irrational” and added that he’s “deeply insulted.”

For his part, Bob Bratina sees the encounter differently.

“During the course of this meeting, the conversation became personal,” said Bratina via email. “It was clear that a productive conversation was not going to take place and I ended the meeting. As they were leaving, I assured them that we would continue to work hard for steelworkers and their employers despite this meeting.”

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