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Steelworkers union secures 98% strike mandate at AltaSteel

The union says AltaSteel is making extreme demands and trying to undercut union representation.


EDMONTON – Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5220 have voted overwhelming in favor of strike action against their employer, AltaSteel after a secret ballot vote was held Oct. 10.

The union says the company has made extreme demands regarding scheduling and attacking seniority for long-time employees, including undercutting union representation.

An impasse between the Steelworkers and AltaSteel was reached in late August followed by unproductive mediation in September.

The USW says it’s looking to achieve a fair agreement, while AltaSteel looks for significant rollbacks.

“There has never been such an aggressive attack on our collective agreement by an employer in the fifty plus year history of the Local,” says Paul Perreault, President of USW Local 5220.

Perreault hopes the employer takes the opportunity to reflect on the path they have chosen at the bargaining table and added, “the voice of the USW 5220 membership needs to be heard loud and clear”.

AltaSteel, formerly owned by Anglo American, was purchased by Australian steel maker, One Steel in 2011, who became Arrium in July 2012, a worldwide producer of grinding media for the global mining industry. AltaSteel product supplies many mining companies, including Teck, Vale, Barrack Gold, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.