Ontario steelworkers ratify key agreements in Stelco restructuring

15,000 pensioners receive partial reinstatement of benefits: Union

United Steelworkers (USW) members at Stelco operations ratified new collective agreements which are key steps in the company plan to emerge from almost three years of bankruptcy protection, said the union.

Members of USW Local 1005 — employed at Stelco's operations in Hamilton — voted June 6 to ratify a collective agreement with U.S.-based Bedrock Industries. Members of USW Local 8782 — employed at Stelco's operations in Nanticoke — ratified a collective agreement with Bedrock June 6.

"This has been a difficult and challenging process for thousands of workers and pensioners. While these agreements represent a step forward, there are still hurdles to overcome before Stelco's restructuring is completed," said Marty Warren, USW district 6 director.

Ratification of the collective agreements was a key requirement for Bedrock to obtain court approval of its plan to purchase the former U.S. Steel Canada operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke that are now operating under their original name Stelco, said USW.

The new contracts maintain wages, benefits, pensions and other terms for 540 workers. Health benefits will be restored for 800 pensioners from the Nanticoke plant, but approximately 15,000 pensioners and dependants from Local 1005 will receive only partial reinstatement of their benefits, according to the union.

"These collective agreements are not perfect, however, our members have decided they are the best-possible option in a fundamentally unfair system that does not prioritize the interests of workers, pensioners and communities," said Warren.

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