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Algoma Steel says steelmaking will continue as employees vote

'Operations will continue in the ordinary course during the voting process' - CEO Michael Garcia
20220719-Algoma Steel President Michael Garcia-DT
Michael Garcia, Algoma Steel president and CEO.

In an announcement that appears to rule out the possibility of a lockout next week, Algoma Steel confirmed Friday evening that operations will continue until Local 2251 vote on the company's final offer later this month.

"Operations will continue in the ordinary course during the voting process, and the union has agreed to provide advance notice to the company to allow for a safe and orderly shutdown of operations in the event the union instructs employees to go on strike," the company said in a news release.

As SooToday reported earlier tonight, the 2,000-member Local 2251 says contract negotiations with the Sault steelmaker stalled after the two sides couldn't agree over who was supposed to present an original offer.

The union also said the company would be in a legal lockout position as of 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16 and there was a possibility workers could be locked out.

The following is from the company's statement tonight:

Algoma Steel confirms USW Local 2251 agree to take offer to employees for a vote

Operations continue in ordinary course during voting process

Algoma Steel Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTL; TSX: ASTL) (“Algoma” or the “company”) announced today that United Steelworkers Local 2251 (“2251” or the “Union”) have agreed to take the company’s last offer to a vote by employees in the affected bargaining unit.

Operations will continue in the ordinary course during the voting process, and the union has agreed to provide advance notice to the company to allow for a safe and orderly shutdown of operations in the event the union instructs employees to go on strike.

Algoma president and chief executive officer Michael Garcia commented: “We respect the collective bargaining process and are pleased that our employees will have their say on a matter of such critical importance to their livelihoods, the lives of their families, and fellow community members."

"The company has offered a non-concessionary, top-of-market wage and benefit package which includes a 5.5 per cent wage increase, continuation of COLA, significant improvements in pensions and benefits for employees, and enhanced retiree benefits over a four-year term that delivers the stability needed to ensure a successful transition to electric arc steelmaking. A signing bonus is also included contingent upon no disruption to operations and uninterrupted shipments to our customers.”

He went on to say, “If ratified, this agreement will help to secure our collective future, provide for sustained profitability even at the bottom of the steel cycle, and allow us to maintain the phenomenal momentum we have generated together since emerging from CCAA.”

On a transformation journey. Algoma is investing in its people and processes, optimizing and modernizing to secure a sustainable future. Our customer focus, growing capability and courage to meet the industry’s challenges head-on, position us firmly as your partner in steel."

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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