More than 200 office and clerical staff at Vale could hit the picket line Friday night after the company put forth its “final offer of settlement” to USW Local 2020-05 on Wednesday.
Stuart Harshaw, vice-president of Vale’s Ontario operations, informed staff in a letter that the union’s bargaining committee would present the settlement proposal at a meeting Wednesday evening and voting would take place that night and Thursday morning.
The collective agreement between Local 2020-05 and Vale is set to expire at midnight on Friday. The final offer of settlement typically means the union’s leadership is not recommending its members accept the company’s offer. That occurs only when the two sides reach a tentative agreement. In his letter to employees, Harshaw said it’s now up to members to decide.
“The negotiations process has been productive and respectful, and we believe the offer that the company has put forth appropriately balances the needs of both the company and our employees,” Harshaw wrote. “In the spirit of the collective bargaining process, it is now up to our employees represented by USW Local 2020-05 to decide if they agree.”
Attempts to reach the Local 2020 executive for comment have been unsuccessful.
However, union members have told The Star they are concerned about Vale’s desire to introduce a new benefits package, and are prepared to strike over it.
The current round of negotiations is in contrast to 2013, when the two sides reached a new collective agreement three days before that contract expired.
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