Cooperation in the Canadian Steel Industry

July 1 st 1989

The United Steelworkers of America is known as a tough union. Nevertheless this union and the Canadian steel industry have established a joint organization called the Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress.

The Congress (CSTEC), established in 1985, serves as a meeting ground for the two sides to tackle the problems of the industry together. It has been active in protecting the steel industry's interests against imports from other countries and in warding off U.S. protectionist measures.

The free trade agreement with the United States remains a touchy subject for CSTEC. The United Steelworkers union was a strong opponent, while the Canadian steel industry supported the deal. Nonetheless, the union and management have found areas of cooperation notably in the areas of joint contact with the government and training and adjustment programs for laid-off steelworkers.

Not all US W locals are part of this venture. Local 1005, at Stelco's Hilton Works in Hamilton, has dropped out because according to local president John Martin, the working people were not getting enough benefits out of their participation in CSTEC. On the other hand, US W National Director Gerard Docquier supports this kind of cooperation. He believes that it has brought about a change of attitude in management that is beneficial for the workers. (The Financial Post, April 24, 1989)


Harry Antonides came to Canada in 1948, initially working as a farm hand and railway labourer. After over a decade working in a chemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Harry joined the newly forming Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) in 1962 as a field representative. By 1970 Harry became director of research and education. In 1974, he was a founding member of the Work Research Foundation (now Cardus) and publisher of their sole publication, Comment magazine. A prolific writer and dynamic speaker, Harry delivered lectures all over North America and published numerous articles, reviews, and essays. He is author of several books on Christianity, labour, and economics, including Multinationals and the Peacable Kingdom (1978) and Stones for Bread: The Social Gospel and its Contemporary Legacy (1985). Harry is retired and lives with his wife Janet in Willowdale, Ontario.