Two-tier pension demand dropped
SEPT-ÎLES, QC, May 11, 2017 /CNW/ - The 2,000 United Steelworkers (USW) members at ArcelorMittal operations in Fermont and Port-Cartier, Quebec, have ratified a four‑year collective agreement with gains that include maintaining and improving their defined-benefit pension plan.
"It's an excellent contract. Thanks to the mobilization and determination of our members, they have ensured younger workers will benefit from the same pension plan that previous generations fought for and, in fact, they have improved the plan for all current and retired workers. There's reason to be proud," said Nicolas Lapierre, Steelworkers Area Coordinator for Quebec's North Shore region.
Late last week, the 2,000 workers voted almost unanimously to reject a contract offer that included a two-tier pension concession and to issue a 72-hour notice of a strike. During intense negotiations over the weekend, the employer dropped its two-tier pension demand and a tentative agreement was reached. The agreement was ratified by union members today.
In addition to pension improvements, the deal provides workers at ArcelorMittal's Fire Lake Mine with contract parity with their colleagues at the company's Mont‑Wright mine. Previously, the wage gap between workers at the two mines was as high as $8 an hour.
The agreement includes annual wage increases ranging from 2.2% to 3%, an increase in basic pension benefits and restrictions on subcontracting that will bring back unionized jobs. Improvements also will be made to health benefit plans and to non-monetary clauses. Office employees will return to a 40-hour work week, reversing a cut in hours last year.
"There are clear improvements and no concessions. This was made possible by very strong mobilizing and solidarity on the workers' part. I would also like to tip my hat to members of the negotiating committees, who spent long days away from their families in past weeks and who did an outstanding job," Lapierre said.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Clairandrée Cauchy, Syndicat des Métallos/USW Communications, 514-774-4001, firstname.lastname@example.org; Steelworkers' office in Sept-Îles, 418-962-2041