United Steelworkers at TransAlta's Highvale Thermal Coal Mine Ratify Two-Year
Agreement with Prairie Mines and Royalty Ltd.

EDMONTON, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1595 members at the TransAlta Corporation-owned Highvale mine site, about 70 kms west of Edmonton, have ratified a two-year collective agreement retroactive to March 31, 2009.

The union represents over 500 miners who produce thermal coal exclusively used in TransAlta's power generation plants in Alberta. The collective agreement was negotiated with Trans-Alta's contracted service company, Prairie Mines and Royalty Ltd. (a subsidiary of Sherritt International).

The agreement includes across-the-board wage increases of 3% in each year. Tradespersons will earn $36.05 by the contract's end.

The agreement also provides benefit improvements including increased life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage, increased dental and chiropractic care, a prescription drug plan and improved pension language. Seniority provisions have been improved as well as other union members' rights, including language covering the retention of disciplinary records.

USW Local 1595 President Gary Woloszyn notes the wage package negotiated by the union exceeds TransAlta's guidelines of wage freezes in the first year and 2% in the second year for its contracted operations.

USW staff representative Jeff Kallichuk says contact talks dragged since last year because TransAlta has veto rights over Prairie Mines and Royalty Ltd. when considering the wages and benefits paid to workers on its mine sites.

"The strength and unity of our members has been the key to achieving what we believe is a fair collective agreement in challenging economic times," said Kallichuk. "We congratulate them on sticking together through the process of some very prolonged negotiations."

The Steelworkers represent over 250,000 workers in all sectors of the Canadian economy.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: Jeff Kallichuk, (780) 487-1141; Gary Woloszyn, (780) 892-3731

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