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Hamilton steelmaker gets 'a little more time' to find a buyer

Hamilton steelmaker gets 'a little more time' to find a buyer
From CBC - February 13, 2018

A judge has extended a sale deadline to Feb. 28 to allow beleaguered steel company Hamilton Specialty Bar a little more time to find a buyer who would keep the company running.

In the balance hangs the fate of close to 200 unionized workers, about 50 salaried workers, 400 retired workers and their familiesmore than 1,000 people in Hamilton.

"Our working world, the one that we have known literally for generations, will be fundamentally destroyed by a closure and liquidation of HSB," wrote United Steelworkers Local 4752 president Mickey Mercanti in a court filing, pleading for the judge's approval Monday to extend the deadline, which was Friday.

"We are very optimistic that, with a little more time, we will be able to once again bring a successful going-concern bidder to the table with a viable plan to operate HSB," he said.

Work drying up

The company got the extension, but not all is good news at the plant. Though 167 unionized workers were called back to keep working after the company exploded financially last month, the work for them is coming to an end.

Wednesday is the last day the melt shop will be running. The majority of workers there will be paid through tomorrow. Some of the most senior of them might be able to pick up shifts in shipping, but only a few. The rest will be gone, with no benefits.

"I do not believe the judge would have granted an extension if he did not think a deal to save us was possible." - Mickey Mercanti, president, USW local 4752

The rolling mill will either close up this Thursday or next.

Shipping will keep going, but only until it's not needed anymore.

"It looks like we will all be laid off within the next couple of weeks," Mercanti said. "Hopefully by the 28th, we have a buyer in place. I do not believe the judge would have granted an extension if he did not think a deal to save us was possible."

The layoffs come sooner than the Feb. 27 date until which many workers believed they'd have work, and benefits.

In his filing, Mercanti pointed out that many of the workers at the company are in the second or third generation of families that have been employed there.

A sudden receivership

Veteran steelworker has work through this week, maybe next

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