A strike at Tenaris Tubes has been averted.
Tube mill workers, represented by United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9548, voted 81 percent in favour Thursday of the latest contract offer put forward by Tenaris Tubes, ratifying a new, three-year contract.
The old contract was set to expire June 1, but the union and the company, on May 30, agreed to extend talks until June 8 to hammer out a new deal.
Union representatives weren’t immediately available for comment Friday.
“It was a good outcome and it’s a good contract for our employees,” Guillermo Moreno, Canadian Managing Director for Tenaris Tubes told SooToday.com.
Details of the agreement were not available, but Moreno said “they are getting wage increases, an increase to their pension, additional benefits, we are paying a lump sum for the first year, we’re extending the vacation period from four weeks to five weeks, so it’s a good agreement for the employees and the company.”
The contract is effective June 1, 2014.
The agreement means Tenaris, a major employer in Sault Ste. Marie, can get on with manufacturing seamless pipes for various industrial uses for its many customers.
“It’s very important for us to focus on manufacturing with this agreement…we need to look at the future, continuing to improve and grow and invest in our facility to remain competitive and develop our products that are needed in the energy industry,” Moreno said.
Referring to the state of the industry in Canada and the outlook for Tenaris, Moreno said “activity in Canada is good, opportunities are there.”
“We‘re optimistic about the future.”
However, Moreno said challenges exist.
“There is an oversupply of pipe mainly because of imports coming into Canada and the U.S. from other countries, which has affected pricing, but we’re working to address this issue.”
Nevertheless, “I see a good future,” Moreno said.
Tenaris Tubes employs approximately 640 people in Sault Ste. Marie (about 520 hourly-paid labourers and about 120 salaried management employees).
Moreno said in 2013 alone, Tenaris generated $240 million in economic activity in Canada, $90 million of which was in Sault Ste. Marie.