The hours are ticking down until Canada slaps tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum in retaliation to those imposed by the Trump administration last month.
Kael Dolejsi, president of the United Steelworkers Local 5917, said Friday the current poor trade relationship is having a detrimental effect on Saskatchewan steelmakers as things get heated at the bargaining table.
“It’s not good, it’s ugly,” he said. “We can’t negotiate higher wages if the company’s not doing well.”
Dolejsi added union members on both sides of the border aren’t pleased.
“It’s affecting everybody. A lot of our own members even voted (President Donald Trump) in and I think it’s kind of shooting them in the foot,” he said.
“We have a big brother (versus) little brother thing going on right now. Hopefully we can come to terms down the road, but it’s going to be some pushing and shoving for the next little while.”
However, Dolejsi noted one benefit is Canadian companies are being forced to support more national dealerships in order to save money.
“Maybe it’ll wake up Canadians eyes that we can do the same thing — you want to keep everything in the States? Well, you know we have tons of resources (in Canada) that we can use,” he said.
“(Companies) are going to have to get their salesmen out there and they’re going to have to do some work, find out the best price and where to get it from here instead.”
In addition to a 25 per cent surtax on semi-finished goods, such as steel, there will be a 10 per cent tariff on a range of consumer goods — including pickles and playing cards.
The counter-tariffs come into effect July 1.