USW signs 2 new contracts at manufacturing plants in Niagara region

Bargaining signals turning point away from economic downturn

The United Steelworkers union has inked two new collective agreements at manufacturing plants in Ontario’s Niagara region.

On May 27, the USW announced the ratification of a new three-year contract at Johnson Matthey Precision Castings in St. Catharines, Ont., which includes a 5.75 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract. As well, those workers will get improvements to their benefits, pensions, shift premiums and an additional $1.65 hourly increase to the entry-level wage for new workers.

In Welland, Ont., the union negotiated a deal at PanAbrasive Inc., which sees a 5.25 per cent salary hike over the three-year agreement. As part of that deal, the company agreed to increase its contributions to the retirement plan by 20 per cent, in addition to benefit improvements and stronger language surrounding workers’ rights provisions.

“Over the last several years our members have been asked by their employers to share in the pain of the economic downturn,” said Frank Arcuri, a USW staff representative. “This year, our members asked to share in the profits, and through their bargaining committees they achieved providing improvements that they earned.”

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