“We're disappointed in the ruling, but that's how it goes I guess,” Richard Paquin said. “The arbitrator's ruling is final. We are looking at whether we can appeal or not.”
Nickel bonuses are a share of company profits workers receive after the nickel price has reached a certain level. Paquin said he didn't know off hand exactly how much each member is losing out on.
Xstrata Nickel, which has since been taken over by Glencore, claimed it didn't have to pay out the nickel bonus for those quarters under the terms of the collective agreement because it wasn't turning a profit.
However, Local 598 disputed Xstrata's claims, saying the Sudbury operations were profitable, even if the overall company wasn't, and filed a grievance against the company through the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
The matter was then handed over to an arbitrator, with 17 days of hearings wrapping up last November. The decision wasn't released by arbitrator Howard Brown until July 24.
Paquin said it's not uncommon for complex arbitration cases to take this long.
The union also filed a grievance against Xstrata Nickel for not paying out the nickel bonus for the last half of 2010.
This case has not yet gone before an arbitrator, as the union was waiting for the results of the 2009 nickel bonus grievance, Paquin said.