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Algoma Steel talks to resume on Friday

The deadline for talks is 11:59 p.m. Monday
20170511 Essar Steel Algoma KA 02
File photo. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

With a deadline looming early next week, contract talks between Algoma Steel Inc. and United Steelworkers Local 2251 will resume on Friday.

"Please be advised that Local 2251 is meeting with the company tomorrow at 11 a.m. to continue discussions and negotiations in an attempt to arrive at a memorandum of agreement," the local's negotiating committee said in a communique to its 2,000 members on Thursday.

"We will keep you informed," the committee said.

Local 2251's contract expired July 31, but the two sides agreed to extend the agreement 15 days.

The deadline for talks is now 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15.

The steelmaker says it's offered wage and cost-of-living increases totalling 15.2 per cent over four years, plus $6,000 signing bonuses for established employees and $1,000 for non-established employees.

Local 2251, on the other hand, argues that part of that increase was actually rolled in from a previous collective agreement and the real increase was just 5.5 per cent.

"The company is taking $1.54 out of our pockets and giving it back to us as an increase," the negotiating committee said.

"There is no collective agreement in existence that uses negotiated wage increases from a previous collective agreement to enhance the bad wage increases in a currently negotiated collective agreement."

Cost of living adjustment (COLA) is always calculated retroactively, the union says.

"It has never been calculated through a projection for purposes of simply enhancing a bad offer."

— SooToday