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Local 2251 members vote to be consulted

Mediation talks with provincial mediator Warren Winkler are to begin next week
File photo by Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

USW Local 2251 says its members in a vote held Tuesday have indicated they expect "to be involved directly in negotiations that affect them."

2251 leadership called the vote after a judge ordered the union's negotiating committee into mediation with Essar Steel Algoma.

Local 2251 has said the order means the negotiating committee would be prevented from consulting with its membership or keeping union members informed during the course of mediation.

However, a statement subsequently released at the direction of the judge in the case said that while there be "no public announcements or discussions," regarding mediation, "there was no requirement that the negotiating committees of Locals 2724 or 2251 could not discuss the negotiations with their membership."

The statement was signed by lawyers representing Essar Steel Algoma Inc., United Steelworkers Locals 2251 and 2724, the court-appointed monitor, term lenders and the ad hoc committee of Essar Algoma noteholders.

The full text of Local 2251's news release regarding Tuesday's vote follows:

On March 14,, the members of Local Union 2251 clearly gave their negotiating committee the direction that they are to be involved directly in negotiations that affect them.  

That direction was given by a 96 per cent majority vote.  They clearly indicated they would not be put in a position to merely ratify a completed Memorandum of Agreement. 

They expect to be consulted where concessions are being contemplated.

Signed:  Mike Da Prat, President