Standing strong to demand long-overdue, significant improvements to their working conditions, Steelworkers across the country are achieving some of the best collective agreements in a generation.
Leading the way are some of our union’s largest industrial locals, where members are demanding – and winning – a fair share of the pie from corporations that are reaping massive profits.
Locals 2251 and 2724 – Algoma Steel, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
In separate agreements, two locals with a combined membership of nearly 2,800 workers won five-year contracts with 3% wage increases annually, as well as annual cost-of-living adjustments, annual pension improvements and numerous improvements to contract language and benefit plans, including improved health benefits at retirement. Local 2251 represents some 2,200 production and maintenance workers at Algoma, while Local 2724 represents roughly 550 salaried employees, including office, technical and front-line supervisory staff.
Local 480 – Teck Resources’ Trail Operations, Trail, B.C.
The 1,300 Steelworkers in two bargaining units at Teck’s smelting and refining operations in Trail, B.C., made monetary gains in five-year agreements. New contracts provide 2% annual wage increases, a $12,000 ratification bonus and a $2,000 bonus in each subsequent year, for total bonuses of $20,000 per member. The contracts include annual pension improvements, increased LTD, maternity leave top-up and an increase to the group RRSP.
Locals 8782 and 8782-03 – Stelco Lake Erie Works and Pickle Lines, Nanticoke, Ont.
Two locals, representing a total of 1,150 members at Stelco’s steel-making and pickling operations in Nanticoke, ratified five-year contracts with big gains including annual wage increases of $1.50 per hour, as well as cost-of-living adjustments, a $6.50-per-hour market adjustment for skilled trades, pension and benefit improvements, improved profit-sharing provisions including a new annual profit-sharing plan, and a new domestic violence leave clause.
Local 1005 – Stelco Hamilton Works, Hamilton, Ont.
A five-year deal covering 600 workers at Stelco’s steel-finishing operations in Hamilton meets members’ demands for significant improvements, including annual wage increases of $1.05 per hour, cost-of-living adjustments, a $6.50-per-hour market adjustment for skilled trades, pension and benefit improvements, improved profit-sharing provisions including a new annual profit-sharing plan, layoff protections and a new domestic violence leave clause.
Local 9449 – Raglan Mine, Nunavik, Quebec
Demanding respect from their employer, resource giant Glencore, 630 members at the Raglan Mine waged their first-ever strike and stood tall for 15 weeks until they achieved a five-year contract with numerous gains. The workers at the isolated, fly-in, fly-out mining camp won total wage increases of nearly 20%. A previously negotiated 10% wage bonus was rolled into the general wage structure and improvements were made on issues including vacations, work schedules, travel stipends and contracting out.
Local 8922 – Industry-wide agreement benefits 16,000 security guards
Some 16,000 USW-represented security guards across Quebec have a new contract with total wage and premium increases ranging from 19.2% to 27.8% over five years. The contract increases existing premiums and introduces new ones, which vary from 50 cents to $2 per hour each. The agreement covers several professional development training courses. All security guards are covered by the agreement under a Quebec government sector-wide decree.
Local 4297 – PTI Transformers LP, Winnipeg
A five-year agreement will provide 130 Steelworkers at PTI Transformers with total wage hikes of 16.15%, as well as a $3-per-hour average increase for new hires, improved wage protection language and increased premiums. The contract also improves sick leave, adds massage therapy to the benefit plan, introduces a vacation pay bonus for senior employees and revises the agreement to be gender-neutral.
Local 9400 – Aer Rianta, Montreal Dorval Airport
The 90 members working for Aer Rianta in shops located throughout Montreal’s Dorval airport ratified a four-year contract with total wage increases of 20%. Other gains include an additional stat holiday for Remembrance Day, an additional paid sick day and a sixth week of vacation granted after 20 years of service, rather than 25 years.
Locals 6673 and 5890 – Evraz, Calgary and Regina
Despite challenges created by uncertainty over the ownership of Evraz PLC, members at the steelmaker’s Western Canada operations succeeded in negotiating four-year contracts with the company. Through joint bargaining, Local 6673 in Calgary and Local 5890 in Regina reached agreements, retroactive to August 2020, providing wage increases of 7.5%, cost-of-living adjustments amounting to $2.35 an hour, pension contribution increases of $3.25 per hour worked, and benefit and language improvements.
Local 2010 – Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont.
Constrained by the Ontario Conservative government’s regressive law restricting wage and benefit increases to 1%, 1,400 administrative and support staff at Queen’s University achieved several gains on working conditions and quality-of-life issues. The three-year agreement improves language on issues including workloads, flex time, job evaluations, pay equity, parental leave, remote work and tuition and child-care benefits.
Local 1-207 – Tempur Sealy Canada, Edmonton
Steelworkers at the Tempur Sealy Canada mattress production facilities in Edmonton reached a four-year collective agreement providing a $450 lump-sum payment on ratification, annual wage increases in each of the contract’s last three years. The agreement includes annual improvements to language and members’ pension and benefit plans, vacation entitlement and health spending accounts.
Local 9599 – Micro Bird, Drummondville, Que.
The 350 Steelworkers at Micro Bird, who manufacture school buses, commercial buses and multi-purpose vehicles, reached a five-year contract with a 16% wage increase retroactive to Jan.1, total increases of 11% over the following four years, and annual cost-of-living adjustments. One-third of members will receive additional wage increases. The contract improves holidays, sick days, shift premiums, contracting-out provisions and creates a new, defined-benefit pension plan.
This article was featured in the Winter 2022 edition of USW@Work. Click here to download and read the full magazine.
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