Negotiations continue between Algoma Steel and its workers

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Negotiations continue between Algoma Steel and its workers

The Algoma plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. (Archives)

The more than 2,000 workers at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie have agreed to an extension of the bargaining period with their employer in hopes of reaching agreement on a new collective agreement.

Members, who are represented by Steelworkers Local 2251, voted in favor of a strike scheduled to begin on Sunday. They have, however, decided to extend the trading period by 14 days in an attempt to avoid this.

The workers' current collective bargaining agreement expires on July 31.

In a brief statement issued shortly after the vote, the union's bargaining committee said a key item dealing with the cost of living adjustment has been addressed by Algoma Steel during recent discussions.

This will allow us to continue negotiations with an extension that will prevent the closure of the facility. factory, says Local 2251 President Mike Da Prat.

“We're going to take a break, it was very intense”

— Mike Da Prat, President of Steelworkers Local 2251

For a proposed three-year deal, the union is asking for increases of 6% for the first two years and 4% for the third.

But the union says Algoma Steel was instead offering cost-of-living allowances, along with a wage increase of 0.5% in the first year and $1.35 a year. hour for each of the next two years.

Union members have been called to report to work as scheduled over the next two weeks. Negotiations will resume on Tuesday following fierce negotiations earlier in the weekend.

According to University of Ottawa law and management professor Gilles LeVasseur, this development demonstrates that people are willing to compromise because they understand that every side loses.

M. LeVasseur adds that Algoma Steel seems to have the will to move the file forward, without neglecting its main objectives. He points out that both parties want to avoid a strike or a lockout. Should steel production be affected, the consequences would be significant for the supply chain.

The professor at the Department of Law of the University of Ottawa Gilles Levasseur

When we breaks the supply chain, it means that the whole structure will be modified in the long term for local companies that receive products and for steel suppliers in North America, he explains.

They want it to work. But what they also want are conditions that make them feel like they have a more equal share of the company's profits, he says of the workers.

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Mr. LeVasseur expects the progress of the negotiations to be determined by forecasts over the next three years, particularly in terms of orders, the price of steel and the transition to greener technologies.

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