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Algoma Steel workers get $33.1M profit-sharing payout

Steelworkers Local 2251 calls special meeting to discuss concerns about planned job reductions related to new electric arc furnaces
Work continues on Algoma Steel’s electric arc transition, as seen through forest-fire haze from the International Bridge during Saturday’s bridge walk.

It's not as much as last year's chart-busting $150.7-million payout, but Algoma Steel has issued a total of $33.1 million in fiscal 2023 profit-sharing payments.

"This cash infusion into the community comes in recognition of the hard work and commitment of our employees," said Michael Garcia, the steelmaker's chief executive officer, while announcing the payout to SooToday.

"When considered in addition to approximately $400 million in annual payroll and pension benefits, and when combined with local investments in goods and services accruing $55.2 million from the construction of our electric arc furnace facility as of quarter-end, we are pleased to deliver continued positive economic returns for our community," Garcia said.

The final 2023 profit-sharing instalment was received by eligible employees on Friday.

Last year's $150.7-million payout was the biggest payment per employee in Algoma's history.

As of May 31, the Sault steelmaker had 2,996 employees, including 2,321 represented by United Steelworkers Local 2251 and 526 who are members of USW Local 2724.

Employment levels are expected to be reduced after the new electric arc furnaces are fired up.

As SooToday's Kenneth Armstrong reported last week, the company has started issuing notices to workers whose jobs or departments will be impacted by the game-changing technology.

Local 2251 is concerned with the planned reductions and has arranged a special meeting of its members on July 27 to discuss the issue.

The following factoids about the electric arc transition work — the most costly construction job in local history — were released by Algoma Steel last week:

  • concrete poured is estimated at 15,000 cubic metres
  • electric arc furnace building foundations are 100 per cent complete
  • electric arc furnace equipment pilings are 95 per cent complete
  • electric arc furnace equipment foundations are now underway
  • fume treatment plant excavation and pilings are complete
  • fume treatment plant foundations are 50 per cent complete
  • primary steel for EAF building is estimated at 15,000 net tons (4,500 net tons erected)
  • spending as of March 31: $267 million

Garcia announced last week that the electric arc furnace conversion is going to cost as much as $175 million over its original $700-million budget.

Firing up the new furnaces is also expected to take longer than expected: to calendar year-end 2024.

— SooToday