Steel Mills

USW Local 8782 OKs New Labor Pact, No Work Stoppage at Stelco

Written by Michael Cowden

United Steelworkers (USW) union Local 8782 has ratified a new, five-year labor agreement with Canadian flat-rolled steelmaker Stelco.

The move effectively concludes a summer of protracted contract negotiations between Hamilton, Ontario-based Stelco and the USW.

stelcoLocal 8782 reported that 67% of its members voted in favor of the contract in update to members on Friday, Aug. 19.

Some context: A union’s negotiating committee negotiates a tentative labor agreement with a company. But that labor agreement does not go into effect unless a majority of union members vote in favor of it.

The new agreement runs until July 1, 2027, Local 87282 president Randy Graham said in an email to SMU on Saturday, Aug. 20.

“The five months of continuous negotiations were difficult. But in the end, the bargaining committee for United Steelworker Local 8782 returned with fair and equitable contract for their members,” Graham added.

The development is significant because Local 8782 represents Stelco’s sole steelmaking operation – its Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario, which employees approximately 1,200 union members. Also, Local 8782 had been in a legal position to strike as of 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22.

The union’s negotiating committee and Stelco had agreed to a tentative contract on Wednesday. The vote in favor of the new contract was not a foregone conclusion because Local 8782 membership in late July rejected a prior tentative labor agreement.

The ratification of the new deal by Local 8782 means that Stelco has agreed to new, five-year labor pacts with all the USW locals representing its operations.

USW Local 1005, which represents Stelco’s Hamilton Works, voted to ratify a new five-year contract on Wednesday.

The blast furnace at Hamilton Works has long been out of commission. But the mill continues to operate its “Z-line,” which has capacity to produce 470,000 tons of galvanized and galvannealed steel sheet per year.

USW Local 8782-08, which represents pickling operations at Lake Erie Works, narrowly approved a new deal in late July.

Stelco and the USW began negotiations on April 5, and the two sides continued negotiating deep into the summer after prior agreements expired on June 30.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday, Aug. 20.

With labor talks at Stelco concluded, the only other outstanding contract negotiations in Canada are at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario-based sheet and plate producer Algoma.

USW Local 2251 members will vote on whether to ratify a new contract at the end of this month. Leadership of Local 2251, which represents hourly production workers at Algoma, has recommended that members reject the deal.

Labor talks between the USW and US steelmakers Cleveland-Cliffs and US Steel are ongoing. Contracts between the union and the two domestic steelmakers expire on Sept. 1.

Editor’s note: Stelco executive chairman and CEO Alan Kestenbaum will sit down for a fireside chat with Steel Market Update on Weds., Aug. 24, at our Steel Summit conference in Atlanta. The agenda and details to register are here.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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