EDMONTON, March 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Customers of steel manufacturing company AltaSteel are being warned of a possible supply disruption as a result of the company's inability to negotiate a new collective agreement with its employees, members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5220.
The union's 260 members have twice provided a strike mandate. The most recent 97% mandate expires on June 4, 2014, meaning that with 72 hours notice the union could legally strike the Arrium-owned steel mill's operations, which may seriously affect the supply of grinding rods and steel used in grinding balls, which are both used in the mining industry. AltaSteel also produces rebar and other products for the domestic market.
The USW has contacted other local unions throughout North America and advised customers of AltaSteel such as Moly-Cop (also an Arrium company) and North American mines owned by Vale, Teck, Goldcorp, Asarco and Arcelor Mittal, as well as local customers including Stanten's and Harris Rebar of the current situation.
The letter from USW Local 5220 president Paul Perreault reads: "As a valued supplier/customer, we believe it is critical that you are aware of this emerging situation that may impact your business. Our commitment to resolving this situation without any inconvenience to AltaSteel's suppliers and customers remains first and foremost, and we are hopeful that negotiations will result in a positive outcome for all parties."
Perreault says it's time for AltaSteel to get serious about negotiating a fair agreement that avoids a labour disruption.
"We have been bargaining for well over eight months and it does not look like we are close to an agreement," says Perreault. "Our customers have a right to expect seamless service, and unfortunately the desire of AltaSteel to take away benefits and long-standing contract rights from its employees is putting this at risk."
"Our plant has been here for 58 years and we have a lot of good, skilled employees. They just want a fair collective agreement so that we can keep producing our products for our customers throughout North America," adds Perreault.
AltaSteel has been owned by Stelco, SCAW Metals (Anglo-American) and was purchased by OneSteel in 2010 (now Arrium Mining and Materials). Arrium is an ASX listed company with sales revenue for the 2013 financial year of $6.841 billion, and approximately 10,000 employees. The company is a major mining and steel producer in Australia and a global leader in the mining consumables sector, providing grinding media (rods and balls) to the mining sector in North America, South America, Australia and Asia.
The United Steelworkers is the largest industrial union in North America, representing 1.2 million active and retired members. USW is a founding member of the global union, Workers Uniting, which represents workers in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Contacts: Paul Perreault, USW local 5220, 780-405-6554; Scott Lunny, USW District 3, 604-329-5308, [email protected]