Final Steelworker local accepts latest ArcelorMittal offer

New agreement increases pension benefits substantially
By Gordon Sova
||Last Updated: 04/04/2011

The final local of the United Steelworkers ratified a new contract with ArcelorMittal Mines by 75 per cent on April 3 after rejecting a previous deal last week.

On March 30, three of the four locals at the operation, an iron mine at Fermont and port facilities at Port-Cartier, Quebec with 2,000 unionized employees, ratified the agreement.

The average wage increase over the six years of the agreement is just 4.1 per cent.

The bigger fight, according to the union, was over pensions. “Everywhere, large corporations are taking an axe to their defined-benefit pension plans. At Fermont and Port-Cartier, not only have we refused to create two classes of workers, but we have also achieved a substantial improvement to the existing pension plan,” said Alain Croteau, the Steelworkers regional co-ordinator.

The monthly pension for new retirees with 30 years of service will increase by $210 or 18 per cent. Existing pensioners will have their pensions increased by six per cent, the union reports.

Management spokesman Alain Cauchon felt the agreement was a good one for both parties. He claimed it improved on four important business “levers:” attraction of employees, retention of employees, pursuit of a culture of performance improvement and laying a foundation for business development.

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