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Labrador Steelworkers Ratify 5-Year Contract with IOC

LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – United Steelworkers (USW) members in Labrador City, N.L., have ratified a five-year collective agreement with the Iron Ore Company of Canada, ending a nine-week strike.

More than 1,300 members of USW Locals 5795 and 6731 will return to work over the next several days, following ratification votes in which approximately 80% of members approved new contracts.

USW Local 5795 members voted 79% in favour of their agreement, while Local 6731 approved their contract by an 89% majority. The workers at IOC’s Labrador West operations had been on strike since March 26.

More than 300 members of USW/Syndicat des Métallos Local 9344, based in Sept-Îles, Que., will vote on a similar contract offer tomorrow. Local 9344 members work at IOC’s port and railway operations in Quebec.

The new collective agreements include increases in medical benefit coverage, wages and pensions, as well as other improvements, said Ron Thomas, President of the 1,300-member USW Local 5795.

“Our members can be proud that we stood together in solidarity for the last nine weeks to achieve a fair collective agreement that our families and our community deserve,” Thomas said.

“We are very grateful for the tremendous support we received throughout the strike from our friends, our neighbours, local businesses – the entire community,” he said.

“I am very proud of my membership and the solidarity they showed with our sisters and brothers in Locals 5795 and 9344,” said Tony Record, President of USW Local 6731.

“It is time to get IOC back up and producing so that our members and our communities can get some normalcy back into their lives,” Record said.

The collective agreements include an increase in the cap on medical benefits – the first such increase since the 1990s. As well, any union member or dependent who exhausts the cap will still be covered for the duration of the five-year collective agreement.

The contracts provide for significant increases in pension benefits under the hybrid pension plan which will further provide for retirement security for members.

Over the five-year term, wage increases will amount to an average of 2.4% annually, including cost-of-living allowances.

The new contracts include improvements to contract language, while the union also fought back management demands for concessions on pensions and the creation of a temporary workforce.

“Our members are the people who work hard every day and who make the greatest contribution to the success of the company,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Atlantic Canada and Ontario. “They have earned this collective agreement that will benefit their families, their community and the company.”

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Ron Thomas, USW Local 5795 President, 709-280-0068, ronthomas@crrstv.net
Lawrence McKay, USW Area Coordinator, Atlantic Canada, 506-232-8472, lmckay@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
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