ArcelorMittal Imposes Appalling Lockout on Backs of Retirees and Youth

Steelworkers condemn cold-hearted lockout at Contrecoeur-Ouest plant

CONTRECOEUR, QC, Aug. 7, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The United Steelworkers (USW)/Syndicat des Métallos is condemning ArcelorMittal's "appalling" lockout at its Contrecoeur-Ouest plant, imposed Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.

The lockout, which affects 300 members of Métallos Local 6951 and their families, was imposed by the company despite the union's willingness to continue negotiations, said union representative Guy Gaudette.

"They locked out the workers despite all the negotiations and proposals put forward by the union and the conciliation we requested and that was granted. Not to mention our members' willingness, every step of the way, to return to the bargaining table and find a solution after management's previous offer was rejected," Gaudette said.

"Every one of our proposals - whatever its nature - was rejected by the employer," he added. "They are not here to negotiate, but to impose their position on us."

The union has been bargaining in good faith and attempting to find solutions to pension plan issues raised by the company, even though the pension plan is almost 100% funded. The company has been making big profits over the past several years, with union members setting multiple production records, noted Denis Trottier, the union's regional coordinator.

"ArcelorMittal's fixation on the pension plan is distressing," Trottier said. "The company is healthy - as is the plant - and the union is ready to continue negotiations. What's the problem? It looks like the employer is trying to feed us a line under the guise of the current public debate about Quebec pension plans. We will not allow a lockout to be imposed on the backs of future retirees and the youngest workers in the plant."

"ArcelorMittal has no respect these days for either our members or Quebec, which saw this company come into being," added Gaudette. "Our members will maintain solidarity until we get a fair and equitable contract for all workers … and for every generation."

The collective agreement at ArcelorMittal's Contrecoeur-Ouest plant expired on July 31 this year. One key issue in the bargaining process was the pension plan, with the company seeking to introduce a defined-contribution plan that would be less beneficial to new employees.

The USW/Syndicat des Métallos, an FTQ affiliate, is Quebec's largest private-sector union, with more than 60,000 members who work in all sectors of the economy (mining, metallurgy, industrial manufacturing, security, hotels and restaurants, trucking and taxis, etc.).

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Jocelyn Desjardins, 514-604-6273, jdesjardins@metallos.ca
Guy Gaudette, 450-656-1113