Stelco workers in Hamilton will be in a legal strike position on August 16

Local Stelco workers will be in a legal strike position starting next Tuesday unless their union and the Hamilton-based steelmaker settle a contractual stalemate.

The last contract of nearly 600 local unionized Stelco workers expired on June 30 and negotiations with United Steelworkers Local 1005 for a new contract began in April.

Negotiations so far have resulted in “little progress”, according to local union president Ron Wells, who has scheduled a briefing for members on August 15, the day before a legal strike position.

So far, no date or deadline has been set for a possible strike. “With many important issues still unresolved, we are unable to tell you today whether we will bring back a contract to vote or hire members for a picket line,” he said in a statement. recent memo to members.

The viewer has reached out to the steelmaker for comment.

In Hamilton, Stelco workers run steel finishing operations, including a zinc coating line, as well as an 83-furnace battery that makes coke for the company’s integrated steel mill on the lake. Erie.

About 1,000 unionized workers at this Nanticoke plant also appear to have reached a bargaining stalemate.

A United Steel Workers online update from Aug. 5 says unionized Stelco workers at the Lake Erie plant will be in a legal strike position on Aug. 22 if no new contractual agreement is reached.

Earlier union statements said “key issues” at the bargaining table included wages, benefits and pensions – especially given soaring inflation.

The union’s latest memo to Hamilton workers says COLA protection is one of the bargaining team’s “top priorities” given soaring inflation and the “erosion” of wages.

The update also argues that Stelco has been “extremely successful and profitable” of late, highlighting its recent sale of its Hamilton land to a developer, its investment in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and its announced intention to buy 1 billion dollars worth of stocks to investors.

“We are only asking that our members, who have been deemed essential during the pandemic, be compensated relative to other steelworkers in Canada,” reads the union memo.

The Hamilton union local is negotiating a change in historic ownership of Stelco’s 324 hectares of bayfront land. Earlier this summer, Stelco sold its Hamilton land to potential developer Slate Asset Management, which agreed to lease the steelmaker the property needed to continue local operations.

But The Spectator found that the company’s lease for coking operations was due to end no later than 2029, leaving the future of that facility and its jobs hanging in the balance.

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