Members of Algoma Steel's largest union have granted a strike mandate to their negotiating committee.
Mike Da Prat, president of United Steelworkers Local 2251, announced late Monday night that members had voted 99 per cent in favour of strike authorization.
The vote was taken by secret ballot on Monday at GFL Memorial Gardens.
Local 2251 represents about 2,000 hourly workers.
A strike authorization vote isn't a vote to go on strike immediately, but it places the Steelworkers in a legal strike position.
The current collective agreement expires at the end of this month.
The Sault steelmaker recently announced fourth-quarter net profit of $243 million, up from $100 million in the same period last year.
It also announced the largest per-employee payout in its 121-year history: $151 million in total profit-sharing payments for the 2022 fiscal year.
Da Prat argues that Algoma's current fiscal fitness indicates the company needs to distribute some of that wealth with workers who over the years have repeatedly made concessions to ensure Algoma's survival.