On behalf of the Local 2251 Negotiating Committee,
- In 2015 the Local Union sent out surveys to the members to identify member’s concerns with a view of preparing proposals for negotiations.
- In mid-2016, the Local Union negotiating Committee held meetings with the members and ratified the proposals that would be put forward for negotiations.
- When the Union approached the Company to exchange proposals, the Company’s position was that they were not in a position to negotiate and that the Union would have to negotiate with future owners.
- On or around November of 2016, the Local Union was approached by a bidding group to enter into negotiations. The Union exchanged proposals with the bidders. On December 5, 2016, the Local Union received a letter from the bidding group suspending the negotiations.
- On January 9, 2017, the Local Union received notice to bargain from the employer, Essar Steel Algoma. The Union was informed at the time that the Company was prepared to negotiate for a short period of time and would ask the conciliation officer for a no-board report if they did not receive the terms that they were looking for. The Union was further told that the no-board report was for purposes of imposing terms on our members.
- The Local Union held special general membership meetings for the purposes of informing the members on January 20, 2017 for the purpose of updating the members on bargaining. On February 23, 2017, the Local Union held special general membership meetings to inform the members with respect to obtaining a strike mandate. On February 28, 2017 the strike vote was held with a 98% majority vote. There was a record turnout and a record high mandate for a strike.
- On March 6, 2017, Justice Newbould ordered the Local Union into mediation with Justice Winkler, and the bidding group. The ability to obtain a no-board report for the purposes of locking the workers out, imposing terms or engaging in a strike were suspended pending mediation.
- The Union was ordered into mediation commencing March 22 – March 31, 2017. The Local Union travelled to Toronto and engaged in mediated talks on March 22, 2017 and continued the negotiation discussions until March 30, 2017.
- Justice Winkler adjourned the mediation on March 30, 2017. The negotiating committee is returning to Sault Ste. Marie on Friday March 31, 2017. We are now awaiting further word from Justice Winkler.
There is no doubt that a number of rumours will start to circulate regarding the outcome of negotiations. The truth of the matter is that most of the proposals between the parties remain outstanding. We will have to wait to hear from the mediators what the next steps are. We will keep you informed as events unfold.