Steel Mills

Lake Erie Works Union Ratifies Contract with U.S. Steel

Written by Sandy Williams

With a turnout of 79 percent of the membership on Friday, USW Local 8782 voted by a 57 percent margin to accept the contract offered by US Steel. Ratification of the contract ends a contentious battle between the Lake Erie Works union and US Steel and will get Canadian steel production rolling once again.

In a note posted on the union website, the negotiating committee thanked the membership for attending meetings and for their “support through these trying times.”

Trevor Harris, US Steel Canada spokesperson said in an email quoted by the Hamilton Spectator:

“Today, the employees of Lake Erie Works expressed their desire to put an end to this labour dispute and return to the business of making steel,” he wrote. “We are pleased to be in a position to begin the recall of our workforce in the coming days. We anticipate that all employees will return to work in the next 30 days.

“While it is unfortunate that circumstances led both parties into this labour dispute, we are pleased that we are emerging with a fair contract that will help to make Lake Erie Works sustainable and competitive in both the Canadian and global marketplace for the next five years,” he added. “At U.S. Steel Canada, we are looking forward to our future and working with our employees to deliver the high quality steel products our customers demand.”

Preparations to restart the plant will begin immediately. The blast furnace is expected to take three weeks to restart but an excess of coke at the Lake Erie and Hamilton facilities may delay start-up of the coke ovens by six to eight months.

The Lake Erie Works blast furnace/basic oxygen furnace (BOF) combination has the ability to produce 2.9 million tons of steel on an annualized basis. The plant produces slabs, hot rolled and hot rolled pickled & oiled products which can then be sold or transferred to their sister facility in Hamilton which can then cold reduce the substrate for cold rolled or galvanized products.

One week ago, Steel Market Update (SMU) took our Price Momentum Indicator to Neutral from higher in anticipation of a settlement being reached between U.S. Steel and the Lake Erie Works union as well as other supply coming back into the market during the month of September.

We will have more information in our upcoming issues of our Executive and Monthly issues of Steel Market Update newsletters. You can receive samples of each by registering for a free trial by clicking on the link below.

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