Unionized employees at the ABI aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Que., voted to reject the company’s latest contract offer and to adopt a strike mandate on Nov. 22.
“We don’t want to trigger a dispute at this time. We want to achieve a negotiated settlement,” said Clément Masse, United Steelworkers (USW), Local 9700 president.
At membership meetings over two days, USW members voted 97 per cent to reject the company’s offer. About 90 per cent of union members turned out for the vote, said the union.
The collective agreement for the 1,030 union members expired Nov. 22, at which time the workers will be in a legal position to strike and the employer will have the right to lock them out, according to USW.
In addition to the employer’s demand for a two-tier pension plan, negotiations have stalled on the issue of seniority rights, particularly with respect to widespread job transfers and mobility issues expected in coming years as hundreds of new workers are hired, said the union.
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