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Strike resolved at Russel long products plant

Keywords: Tags  Russel Metals, Acier Leroux, Quebec plant, strike, union contract, long products, distribution plant, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — A nearly five-month-long strike at Russel Metals Inc.’s Acier Leroux long products plant in Boucherville, Quebec, has been resolved, the company and the union said separately Feb. 8.

A majority of the facility’s employees voted in favor of a new five-year labor contract and will be returning to work at the steel distribution center Feb. 11, Mississauga, Ontario-based Russel Metals said.

"We are pleased to have a five-year agreement in place and now our management and union members can concentrate on providing our Acier Leroux customers with the high standard of service they expect," Russel Metals president Brian R. Hedges said in a statement.

The Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux union didn’t return calls seeking comment, but according to its website 92 percent of employees at the facility voted to ratify the deal.

Shipments continued from Acier Leroux at a reduced level during the strike, vice president and chief financial officer Marion Britton told AMM, although she declined to discuss specific volumes.

"Management kept product flowing as best they could, (but) we obviously didn’t ship as many tons as we normally would," she said.

The company usually operates on a "hub and spoke" system, Britton added, meaning that it ships products to local branches in northern and eastern Quebec through the Acier Leroux facility. It revised that process during the strike, but expects to return to normal now that a deal has been reached, she said.

"(Acier Leroux) would help keep the inventory at those (smaller) locations lower," Britton said. "But once we can’t ship out of (Acier Leroux), we can’t do that."

The Acier Leroux facility primarily ships long steel products, including bars, beams, hollow structural sections and angles, she added.

The company declined to disclose the terms of the new labor agreement.

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