HAMILTON, ON, March 27 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) is stepping
back from a process that may have led to a union for employees of
"Last week we introduced to you a new process that our union developed,"
said USW Ontario/Atlantic Director Wayne Fraser in a letter circulated to
employees via ArcelorMittal's in-plant intranet system. "It was designed to
give you a unique opportunity to actually negotiate improvements to your
current package before deciding whether you wanted to join our union.
"At the beginning of this process we pledged to you that we wouldn't
proceed to bargaining if there wasn't sufficient support to move forward.
Following up on that commitment to you, it has become clear that at this time
there is not enough support to move to the collective bargaining step."
Fraser said the union initiated the unique process of in-plant engagement
of ArcelorMittal Dofasco workers by virtue of the 'neutrality language'
negotiated with predecessor companies to ArcelorMittal in the US. Neutrality
allows access to employees without interference by the company. In the Dofasco
scenario, neutrality rights were improved to fit the unique circumstances of
Dofasco workers, whose company had a long non-union history in a
heavily-unionized Canadian steel sector.
"We pledged that collective bargaining, to be close to the timing of our
other major bargaining with ArcelorMittal, would take place only if there was
enough interest and, if so, following the election of a workers' bargaining
committee," Fraser said. "We have judged that there is not sufficient support
for collective bargaining at this time."
At the same time, Fraser said the USW will continue to work with
supportive ArcelorMittal Dofasco employees, especially as the union heads into
negotiations in the US. The major contract covering the company's steelmaking
operations expires in September.
"Of course we are disappointed that the 4,000 ArcelorMittal Dofasco
workers will not at this time be part of the 20,000-strong force of unionized
ArcelorMittal workers in North America, but we respect the wishes of former
Dofasco employees," Fraser added.
"We would like to thank all those workers who took the time to engage in
discussions with us. Our Steelworker team enjoyed the opportunity to meet with
you in your workplace. The USW door remains open to all Dofasco workers and we
will continue to answer your enquiries and work with those of you who have
shown interest in our union."
The USW represents more than 280,000 men and women working in every
sector of Canada's economy.
For further information:
For further information: Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792, or (416)