Steelworkers Make Big Gains at Minerai de fer Québec

SEPT-ÎLES – The 465 members of the United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos who work at the Bloom Lake Mine, owned by Minerai de fer Québec, have made several gains in a new, three-year contract ratified this week. Union members voted by a 79% majority to approve the contract, which is retroactive to late last year.

“We're very happy! During the last negotiations in 2017, the company had just announced a restart of operations and the circumstances were not so good,” said Yves Lapierre, president of Steelworkers Local 9996, which represents the workers at the mine near Fermont, Que.

“Conditions for negotiations were much better this time, with good prices for iron ore, and this was reflected in the results. We succeeded in obtaining several gains in terms of working conditions and in other areas of the collective agreement,” Lapierre said.

Wages will rise by 10.15% over three years, with annual increases of 3.9%, 3.25% and 3%, while the employer’s contributions to the defined contribution pension plan also will be increased. Vacation pay has been increased and the process for allocating vacation time has been improved, allowing for a fairer and more equitable system based on seniority.

The contract also increases the allowance for northern work and travel, and introduces a recognition payment for workers’ contributions to the company’s development.

A letter of agreement calls for a joint study to be carried out by 2022 to review wage grades, in addition to improvements in the wage grades structure already provided in the new contract. The agreement also introduces a new premium for apprenticeship coaches, in addition to an existing premium for trainers.

Language improvements in the contract address issues including seniority provisions related to job postings and changes to procedures related to job transfers.

The contract also provides more employer-paid time for local union representatives to address issues affecting rand-and-file members. In addition to existing, employer-paid time for the local union’s president’s duties, additional paid time will be provided for the work of the local union vice-president and for two health and safety prevention representatives.

“The bargaining committee worked very hard over the last seven months, holding 62 meetings, and it paid off. This contract allows us to achieve our goals on several issues, and will allow the parties to proceed with a better, more harmonious expansion,” said USW staff representative Dany Maltais.

Press Inquiries

Thank You

Thank you for contacting us. We will try to get back to you in a timely manner.

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Shannon Devine
416-544-5946 or

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
234 Eglinton Ave. E., 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1K7