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Old Posted Nov 1, 2007, 12:56 AM
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Welcome Back, Stelco

It’s the end of an era as Stelco name disappears

October 31, 2007
BY NAOMI POWELL

Goodbye, Stelco. Hello, U.S. Steel Canada.

On its first day as Stelco’s new owner, U.S. Steel replaced the corporate name that’s been inextricably linked with Hamilton for decades.

By Wednesday afternoon, Stelco’s website and the glass front door of its Hamilton head office were already emblazoned with its new handle: U.S. Steel Canada.

The switch came as Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel closed its $1.1-billion purchase of Stelco and swiftly installed a new Hamilton management team, led by industry veteran Douglas R. Matthews.

“United States Steel Canada, United States Steel Serbia, United States Steel Slovakia (that’s) the way we name subsidiary companies within United States Steel,” Matthews said in an interview.

“Of course we wanted to respect the history and heritage of Stelco, the Steel Company of Canada. We thought it would be nice to merge the two names.”

For Terrie DeMelo, who watched a worker scrape the Stelco logo off the glass door of its headquarters yesterday, the change is bittersweet.

“How can you talk about Hamilton and not mention Stelco?” said the Hamilton native and former employee of the steelmaker.

“In the long run (the sale) is probably a good thing for the company. But the thing about it being a Canadian company just feels like it’s gone.”

The Steel Company of Canada was formed on June 8, 1910, through the incorporation of five individual screw, steel, bolt and wire manufacturers.

It officially changed its name to Stelco in 1980, partly to satisfy new French-language requirements.

The name Stelco, it was found, worked well in both French and English.

The Stelco moniker soon became synonymous with Canadian steelmaking.

By the time industrial giant U.S. Steel came calling this year however, Stelco and its workforce had been dragged through years of financial problems and a difficult restructuring.

Against that background, some workers found it hard to shed a tear for the retired name.

“I don’t care,” said Tony Liota, an industrial mechanic in Stelco’s cold mill.

“I’m probably better off with these guys as a worker than I was with Stelco because of the size of the organization. I’m now part of a worldwide company versus one little company that was trying to make a go of it.”

Matthews said most remaining Stelco signage will be replaced with the U.S. Steel Canada logo.
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