In the News
Steelworkers in Quebec Launch Strike
Eight-hundred workers at steel plants in Quebec took strike action in defence of their wages and working conditions on Wednesday, February 2. Upon the expiry of their contract with ArcelorMittal on January 31, three union locals of the United Steelworkers voted to strike if a new collective agreement agreeable to themselves could not be reached.
“We have been trying to reach a settlement with a blitz of negotiations over the past few weeks, sometimes late into the evening, in order to avoid conflict,” said USW representative Michel Courcy. “Obviously, the company was not prepared to put what was needed on the table to avoid a dispute.” This refusal made a strike necessary to back the just demands of steelworkers.
Members of USW Local 6586 at the Contrecoeur Est plant voted 99.8 per cent to launch a strike in defence of their rights as producers of the steel value at their plant; members of USW Local 8897 at the Longueuil plant voted 99.2 per cent in favour; and office workers in USW Local 8060 voted 100 per cent to strike.
USW representative Courcy, in a statement to the media, said steelworkers “are well aware of the current period of inflation.” “It is important for members to have wages and working conditions that maintain purchasing power,” he added.
On February 7, the workers almost unanimously rejected ArcelorMittal’s so-called global and final offer. Members of Local 6586 voted 99 per cent against the offer; members of Local 8897 voted 98 per cent against it while members of Local 8060 voted 98 per cent to reject it. The participation rates were very high, between 92 and 95 per cent.
“The message to the employer couldn’t be clearer: its offer does not live up to our members’ expectations. The solidarity is strong. The strike continues,” said Michel Courcy.
(Workers’ Forum, posted February 9, 2022. Photos: Métallos)