NEW YORK The
labor dispute between U.S. Steel Corp. and the United
Steelworkers union at the companys Lake Erie Works in
Nanticoke, Ontario, heated up July 15, when the steelmaker
asked the provincial government to intervene and order a vote
on its final contract offer, according to documents obtained by
"The union rejected
our offer and refused to submit it to the membership for a
vote. We feel strongly that our employees deserve the
opportunity to end the work stoppage now and avoid further
financial hardship," Jodi Koch, director of human resources at
U.S. Steel Canada, wrote in a letter to workers. "For that
reason, we have asked the Minister of Labour to conduct a final
offer vote pursuant to Ontario law. Under Ontario law, the
company has only one opportunity to request a
ministry-supervised vote, and we believe the timing is right
for you to end the labour dispute."
steelmaker last week offered a new labor deal to USW Local 8782
to end the lockout, which affects some 1,000 hourly workers at
the facility, a move that seemed to signal progress on
negotiations (amm.com, July 10). However, U.S. Steel
has alleged that the union refused to submit the new offer to
its membership for a vote.
The union denied the
allegations, saying it was preparing a formal response to the
company and still trying to negotiate. "It is untrue that the
union refused to take this proposal back," the union said on
its website. "After making an attempt to negotiate and the
company refusing, the response from the union was draft it all
up and we will present it for a vote."
companys new offer, employees would receive a $2,000
ratification bonus, continuation of the existing wage scale,
enhanced contributions to retirement funds and an immediate
roll-in of $1.01 per hour of accumulated cost-of-living
adjustment payments into base wage rates, the company said.
The company added that
it would conduct information meetings on July 23 and 24, and a
supervised ballot could be scheduled shortly after.
"We should also be
clear that if this offer is rejected, it will be withdrawn and
these terms will not be offered again," the company said.