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Nanticoke steelworkers look at US Steel final contract offer in Jarvis
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Saturday, 20 Apr 2013

The Spec reported that Nanticoke steelworkers will get a detailed look at US Steel’s final contract offer in a series of meetings at the Jarvis Community Centre.

How they react to that offer could start the final clock ticking toward a strike or lockout affecting almost 1,000 workers.

Mr Bill Ferguson president of United Steel Workers Local 8782 said that “I fully expect the members are not going to be happy with this offer. We’re going to lay it all out and whatever the members decide to do is what we will do. We will make sure the members have all the information and then we will make a decision about what we are going to do.”

Mr Ferguson said that he could not talk about details of the offer until members have had their first look, but promised to make the entire package public Thursday after the first meeting.

After Thursday’s meetings members have the option to decide whether or not they will even put the company’s offer to a vote or to vote to accept or reject that offer. They have already given union leaders a 99.6% vote to call a strike if necessary.

Refusing to vote on the offer, or flatly rejecting it, opens the ways for one side or the other to deliver the 72 hours final notice required to call a strike or lockout.

A US Steel spokesperson could not be reached for comment. The situation is a mirror image of the dilemma that faced Hamilton steelworkers in October 2010 when the company made a final offer to them demanding pension concessions. Union leaders refused to put that offer to a vote, triggering a lockout that kept the former Stelco plant out of service for 11 months.

Talks aimed at reaching a new contract settlement for the steel plant reached an impasse earlier this week although neither side has identified the stumbling block.

In a note on its Internet site this week, the union urged members to stay calm and wait for official information.

The note said that “The Local 8782 bargaining committee has reached an impasse on reaching a new collective agreement with the company. Please don’t listen to any rumors as we will update you with the most current information and facts at the meeting. As we stated at our last meeting, the negotiating committee will meet with the membership and inform you of our progress and make recommendations on how to proceed. We will make a collective decision on how we proceed at that time.”

The last time Nanticoke’s Local 8782 tried to negotiate a settlement with the company the members were locked out for eight months until they accepted a package of sweeping changes to their pension plan demanded by the company.

Source - The Spec


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