Locked-out ABI workers to vote Monday on company offer

About 1,000 employees off the job since Jan. 2018

Locked-out ABI workers to vote Monday on company offer
Hydro-Qu├ębec recently reported that the lockout resulted in revenue losses for the public utility of $165 million in 2018, said the union. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Locked-out employees of the ABI aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Que., will meet on March 11, to discuss and vote on a contract offer from the company.

Members of United Steelworkers (USW), Local 9700 will review and discuss a company offer that includes three collective agreements covering more than 1,000 workers, as well as a return-to-work protocol, said the union.

An analysis by the union’s bargaining committee confirmed that the company’s offer proposal is very similar to what was on the table when ABI broke off negotiations in mid-February, said Clément Masse, USW, Local 9700 president, and a return-to-work protocol was not part of previous discussions between the parties.

“In the interest of transparency, the union executive has chosen to submit the employer’s offer to a secret-ballot vote,” said Masse, while denouncing the company’s decision to unilaterally present a comprehensive offer rather than pursuing a negotiated settlement.

ABI’s 1,030 workers were locked out by smelter co-owners Alcoa and Rio Tinto on Jan. 11, 2018. Negotiations were stalled over the financing of the pension plan and respect for seniority in labour movements. Hydro-Québec recently reported that the lockout resulted in revenue losses for the public utility of $165 million in 2018, said the union.

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