Essar Steel Algoma and Local 2724 Duke it Out in the Press
Earlier today (Tuesday) Essar Steel Algoma put out a post on the steel mill's blog which clearly identified a standoff in the negotiations with one of their unions: Local 2724. This evening the union struck back with the following press release:
UNITED STEELWORKERS ALGOMA STEEL SALARIED LOCAL 2724
We feel it necessary to respond to the recent “negotiations update” issued by Essar Steel Algoma Inc.
The release states that there is a need to amend work terms to make Essar Algoma competitive.
It was only a few short years ago that Algoma was one of the most profitable North American operations with the same work terms that exist today.
The only change is that we are now owned by a foreign, family-run company.
The update also speaks of Essar guiding their employees’ respective career paths.
We believe that our members should have the right to choose their own career path; even if this is against Essar’s patriarchal philosophy.
The issue of “shared services” is simply one of exporting good paying Canadian jobs offshore.
The entire update is one of Essar trying to put a pretty face on some very ugly, regressive proposals.
We believe the issue of contracting out (shared services); mobility of employees, creation of operating efficiencies and providing opportunities for professional development can be addressed through existing language adjustments that we have offered to discuss at the negotiating table.
The owners of Essar are attempting to turn back the clock on employee rights.
Canadian workers have fought hard to obtain a 40-hour work week and the ability to enjoy a reasonable home life.
Essar is trying to take that away by increasing the work week to 48 hours and having employees on call at any other time; plus numerous other equally abhorrent proposals.
The bottom line is the Ruia family and Essar bought Algoma Steel to make money and they are making it clear that if it means taking away employees’ rights, curtailing their family life and exporting jobs from the community, then that price must be paid in Sault Ste. Marie for Essar’s increased profit.
Our aim is to attain a fair collective agreement across the negotiating table.
- Ian Kersley, president - USW Local 2724
Stay tuned to Steel Market Update for more information regarding the status of negotiations and any potential work stoppage at the Algoma mill in Canada. We publish a newsletter about the North American flat rolled steel market three times per week. You can register for a 4-week trial to our newsletter as well as full access to our website by going to www.steelmarketupdate.com and clicking on the free trial logo.