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Steelworkers union vote to create temporary workforce


The Steelworkers Union in Labrador City voted on July 14 to create a temporary workforce to replace contractors being used by the Iron Ore Company of Canada.

Ron Thomas, president of the Steelworkers Union Local 5795, said the union voted on July 14 to create a temporary workforce. The goal is to cut down on the contractors used by IOC in positions the union can manage.

 

“It went through by 60 per cent,’ said Ron Thomas, President of local 5795. “We voted on a letter of memorandum on a temporary workforce so I guess the next move is the company is going to start looking for people locally to replace contractors on site.”

Tomas called the idea the lesser of two evils, since IOC was planning to put contractors on the equipment and job the union feels they have the expertise to do.

“Since we signed this deal they’re cancelling those contract and we’re going to have temporary workers do it,” he said. “The company had planned for a layoff on October 2 and as long as there’s temporary workers on site with this deal our permanent members won’t be laid off.”

The workers won't be hired on a full time basis but will have benefits such as dental and health coverage, and following a probation period they will be covered under the collective agreement.

IOC agreed to the deal before the vote so now that the union has signed on Thomas said he expects the job postings will be out in a few days. He recommended the deal and urged the members to vote for it but stressed it’s on a trial period.

“The voting members accepted it, so that means it’s a go ahead deal,” he said. “It’s a trial period for six months and at the end of six months if it doesn’t work out we can always squash the deal. IOC and the union will look at it and make sure it’s working out. Time will tell.”

The union and IOC have had a strained relationship for some time, with over 3,500 grievances lodged by the union. Thomas said this could be a step in the right direction to helping that relationship improve.

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