Union negotiators begin new round of talks with strong showing of solidarity for a strike
Chances of an immediate strike at Algoma Steel have been delayed 15 days, but just-released results from last week’s strike vote demonstrate strong resolve by members of United Steelworkers Local 2251.
The vote was taken Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Results released late last night by Local 2251’s negotiation committee show 91 per cent of the local’s membership voted for a strike.
That would have placed the local’s 2,000 members in a strike position early Monday morning.
On Friday night, Michael Garcia, Algoma’s president and chief executive officer, announced that without an agreement, the company would be forced to start idling its local steelmaking operations today.
“We have no choice but to commence preparations Sunday morning for the safe and orderly shutdown of operations,” said Algoma president and chief executive officer Michael Garcia.
That, Garcia said, would involve banking the blast furnace, low-idling the coke batteries and implementing fire and flood protection measures.
Once the blast furnace is banked, it would take 10 to 14 days to return the facility to production, he added.
But on Saturday, company and Steelworker negotiators addressed a key sticking-point related to COLA [cost of living adjustment] and then agreed to extend their collective agreement by 15 days, allowing them to pursue further discussions.
“We are urging all of our members to report to work as scheduled as we have an extension to our collective agreement,” the local told its members.