Sudbury, Port Colborne – United Steelworkers (USW) members in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ont., voted today to end their year-long strike against mining giant Vale, approving a new collective agreement.
USW Local 6500 members in Sudbury voted 75% in favour of the new contract, while Local 6200 members in Port Colborne ratified the deal by a 74% margin.
“Our members have spoken and I believe everyone respects the decisions they have made in extremely difficult circumstances,” said Wayne Fraser, the USW’s District Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
“We congratulate our members for the determination, spirit and solidarity they demonstrated over the last year in their unprecedented struggle against this huge multinational corporation,” said USW Local 6200 President Wayne Rae.
“We also extend our sincere appreciation to our community for its tremendous support throughout the last year and to the countless people, unions and other groups around the world who demonstrated incredible international solidarity with our members,” said John Fera, President of USW Local 6500.
Highlights of the new collective agreement, which runs until May 31, 2015, include:
- Across-the-board, hourly wage increases with cost-of-living increases each of the five years. Thus, bringing the wage hike to between $2.25 and $2.50 an hour over the life of the agreement.
- Improvements to the existing Defined Benefit Pension Plan increasing to $41,400 per year, with cost-of-living indexing for life, along with life-time health care benefits.
- A Defined Contribution Pension Plan for new hires that provides for Company contributions equal to 8% of employees’ regular basic earnings. As well, employees will be able to make additional contributions ranging from 2% to 6% of regular earnings, with matching contributions from the Company subject to certain limits. The new plan also will include Long Term Disability coverage for employees.
- As a result of sustained, hard-fought negotiations, the nickel bonus program will allow employees to earn up to $15,000 annually in addition to regular earnings.
“For the last 12 months our members have stood together in the face of incredible adversity,” Fraser said. “They demonstrated tremendous character and they can hold their heads high as they return to work.”
“As our brothers in Voisey’s Bay NLF head into negotiations, our members in Sudbury and Port Colborne will remain in solidarity with them as they continue to fight for the fair deal they deserve,” said Fraser.