Agreement a 'win-win,' Steelworkers rep says
In Marc Ayotte's words, Steelworkers Local 2020 bargainers “went into overtime” to get a deal for 225 office, clerical and technical (OCT) workers at Xstrata Nickel.
In the end, the union reached a tentative deal with the company at around 4 a.m. March 1, several hours after its midnight Feb. 28 strike deadline.
The bargaining committee is unanimously recommending its members accept the deal, said Ayotte, a Steelworkers staff representative.
When asked if the union got a good deal, he said he believes so, but can't release details of the agreement until it's presented to members.
“It should satisfy most of the needs of our members,” he said. “It's a win-win situation, put it that way.”
A ratification meeting is being held at 6 p.m. March 1 at the Howard Johnson Hotel.
Sometimes strike deadlines need to be extended in order to get a deal, Ayotte said.
“If you're talking, keep talking,” he said.
As the bargaining team hammered out the last details of the tentative agreement, several of the union members set up a fire barrel at the entrance to Xstrata Nickel's operations.
Local 2020 also posted a picket line schedule on its website in advance of the strike deadline.
There's also a letter of support from Mine Mill Local 598/CAW president Richard Paquin posted on the website. Local 598 inked a deal with the company Feb. 1 on behalf of its 900 members.
“This letter is to advise you that should a Labour Dispute between USW Local 2020 and Xstrata Nickel occur, your members will have the full support of the executive board and membership of Mine Mill, Local 598/CAW,” Paquin said, in his letter.
“In the event of a labour dispute, please note that our members are required to report for work and will, rest assured, exercise extra caution in safety and will not, in any way, be performing OCT bargaining unit work.
“We would like to wish you and your committee the very best in attaining a collective agreement that fulfils the requirements of your membership body.”
Marc Boissonneault, vice-president of Xstrata Nickel's Sudbury operations, said in a press release that the company is pleased with the outcome of the negotiations with Local 2020.
“The successful conclusion of these negotiations was the result of dedication and commitment on both sides of the bargaining table, and I congratulate both teams,” he said.
“Our belief is that the tentative agreement is fair and balanced for the company and the union, continuing the positive trend we established with the last agreement. We look forward to working together to pursue our goals in Sudbury, positioning our business for future success.”