On June 24, 2016, more than 3,000 steel workers in Toronto, Ont., walked off the job after a five-year, $9.9-million lockout ended.
They won their collective bargaining rights, but not a single worker was laid off.
They say the lockout was a mistake and that their jobs should be protected.
Now, a group of steelworkers are asking the province to make the same mistake with their collective agreement.
The union says it won’t negotiate on the spot with the government.
Workers at the Steelworkers Local 821 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers are now taking a more proactive approach.
They’re now working with their members to push the province for a better collective agreement to protect workers in the steel industry.
We are now in negotiations with the Ontario government and we’re trying to push for better protections for workers, said Mike Clements, who is also a member of Local 822.
We think it is a good deal for the industry, Clements said.
The workers have not yet decided how they’re going to vote.
We’re not ready to give up on that.
They will be able to vote on their own accord at a future date, said Clements.
They have until July 31 to vote and union representatives are trying to convince the government that workers need more time to work out an agreement.
Steelworkers unions have been working on a collective agreement with the province since 2003.
We’ve had a lot of success in getting our collective agreement and a fair deal, said Chris Lefebvre, vice president of government affairs at the Ontario Federation of Labour.
That’s why we’re hopeful that we can win a fair contract that protects workers in this industry, Lefemvre said.
But the workers are hopeful that the government will make good on its promises to give workers more time and flexibility to negotiate and they’ll have a better deal for workers.
That has been the goal of the workers and their union.
We believe that the best way to move forward is for the government to deliver an agreement that protects the workers.
It’s a good agreement that’s been in place for years, said Andrew Brown, a union representative.
And that’s why it’s important that we get this done now.