Strength is in the numbers as both unions fight for common ground


Knowing that power is in numbers, the two largest unions announced today they are joining forces in their contract negotiations with Essar Steel Algoma.

At a news conference following an information meeting at the  Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre for members of Local 2251, President Mike Da Prat told media the two unions now have a mutual support agreement and will  negotiate monetary issues together. The company is not in favour of that idea.

Members of 2251 will vote on a strike mandate next week, but regardless of the turmoil currently within the plant and the uncertain future Da Prat expects they will receive a strong mandate from its members.

“we were going to negotiate under the labour relations act with the employer, they were going for a no board report and they gave us a timeline , that’s what they told 2251, when that happened we had to take a strike vote” Da Prat said.

At this point Da Prat is not sure if negotiations will be under the Labour relations act or through the CCAA process. Warren Winkler, formerly a Chief Justice of Ontario has been appointed to mediate the Essar Algoma contract talks, Da Prat said. “he’s on his way to the Sault”

Mike Da Prat checks his messages following an information meeting with union members

“we have very common concessions as a request from the company but of course we have separate collective bargaining agreements but when it comes to monetary side of it I can assure you it’s very familiar

“This set of negotiations the union has not received the information or the co-operation from the management” Da Prat said.  Both unions claim the company is not communicating or disclosing technical information during the back and forth process of obtaining each parties position during talks.

This time around, it’s a complete guessing game.

United Steel Workers Local 2251 represents Essar Steel Algoma’s hourly workers while Local 2724 represents salaried workers.