Steelworkers Local 2020 represents 225 Xstrata Nickel office, clerical and technical (OCT) workers, whereas Local 598, whose members ratified a four-year deal with the company Feb. 1, represents about 900 workers.
Marc Ayotte, a staff rep with the Steelworkers, said he's met with the company every day since Feb. 4. The union's three-year deal with Xstrata Nickel expires at midnight Feb. 28.
He said negotiations are “progressing very well,” and he's confident he'll be able to come up with a deal before the strike deadline.
“We're on non-monetary, so mostly language,” Ayotte said.
A strike mandate vote has not yet been set by the union.
Local 598's recently negotiated deal with Xstrata Nickel is encouraging, he said, but adds that “our language and contract is totally different compared to what CAW has.”
In 2010, Local 2020 reached a deal with Xstrata Nickel on behalf of the OCT workers just minutes before the Feb. 28 midnight strike deadline.
Ayotte said Local 2020 is a large union with more than 2,000 members.
He personally was involved in successfully negotiating 13 contracts last year, something which he said makes company owners happy, too.
“That's the thing,” he said. “People think that unions go on strike all the time, but they don't.”
Xstrata Nickel officials were not immediately available for comment.