• February 5, 2014 1:53 PM
  • - General

Steelworkers Union Renews Strike Mandate at AltaSteel at 97%

EDMONTON, AB, Feb. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Members of United Steelworkers Local 5220 have voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewing the strike mandate against their employer, AltaSteel. The secret ballot vote was held Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2014, prior to the expiration of the original 120-day mandate obtained on Oct. 10, 2013.

AltaSteel, formerly owned by Anglo American, was purchased in 2011 by Australian steel maker One Steel, which became Arrium in July 2012. Arrium is a world leader in the production of grinding media for the global mining industry. AltaSteel product supplies many mining companies such as Canadian mining giant Teck Corp., as well as other Canadian and foreign mining companies such as Vale, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

After months of strained negotiations, which began in April 2013 between the Steelworkers and AltaSteel, an impasse was again reached in mid-December.

In front of a packed hall at two separate membership meetings prior to the vote, Local Union President Paul Perreault stated, "There has never been such an aggressive attack on our collective agreement by an employer in the 50-plus-year history of the Local."  

Mr. Perreault hoped the Employer would take the opportunity to reflect on the path it has chosen at the bargaining table and added, "The voice of the USW 5220 membership remains steadfast and needs to be respected by the employer." He went on to say that the company's latest offer was "simply not good enough."

The Local Union bargaining committee's priority remains, as always, to reach a fair and equitable collective agreement for its members, an agreement that is representative of the hard work that the members do day in and day out for the company. The Union is further committed to continue forward with negotiations without having to exercise the mandate it has been given, but has no hesitation in using the mandate if necessary.

USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt says the entire union is standing behind Local 5220.

"When global companies attack the gains we have made, our entire union stands shoulder-to-shoulder to protect the strong quality of life our members have built for themselves and their families."

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Paul Perreault, USW Local 5220 President, 780-487-1141 (office), 780-405-6554 (mobile).