SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, QC, Nov. 27, 2017 /CNW/ - Following a 9½-month strike, 371 workers at the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield will be returning to work Dec. 3 after ratifying a new collective agreement.
On Saturday, Nov. 25, the members of United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos Local 6486 voted 82% in favour of accepting the new contract. They declared mission accomplished in the preserving their pension plan for current and future workers.
"Our members will be returning to work with their heads held high. They fought for more than nine months to preserve decent pensions, not only for themselves, but for the next generations of workers as well," said Steelworkers staff representative Luc Julien.
"The pension plan has been kept intact. The labour movement has a duty to preserve good working and living standards for future generations – that's what the strikers at CEZinc have done. They waged a battle of principle," Julien said.
A single concession was granted in the negotiations – the elimination of a holiday premium.
Following Saturday's ratification vote, Julien recognized "the exceptional work of the bargaining committee and the exemplary solidarity demonstrated by the 371 members.
"We would like to thank the entire labour movement, which supported the strikers financially and morally. Donations poured in from all over Quebec and Canada, from Steelworkers and other labor organizations. This allowed us to fight to the end."
The strikers benefited from incredible local and international support, said Steelworkers Local 6486 President Manon Castonguay.
"Thank you to all the families of the strikers; without you, this fight would not have been possible," Castonguay said.
"We would also like to thank the Steelworkers in Quebec and North America, IndustriALL Global Union and other trade union organizations like the Australian CFMEU that made our global campaign possible. And, above all, the merchants of the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield region, the restaurateurs and all the citizens of the region who supported us throughout the dispute. When you feel supported, it makes a difference."
The 371 workers had been on strike since Feb. 12 of this year.
The United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos, affiliated with the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL-FTQ), is Quebec's largest private-sector union, with more than 60,000 members working in all sectors of the economy.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Clairandrée Cauchy, United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos Communications, 514-774-4001, [email protected]