Update # 2 January 26, 2007
In order to clarify some of the mixed messages that are being reported in the media, here is a synopsis of what happened.
At 3:25 p.m. Thursday, January 25th 2007, the Company gave your Bargaining Committee an offer titled “An early offer of settlement”. The Company stated this was their best and final offer and we should treat it as if it was given on January 31st. The company stated this offer had to be agreed to by the Bargaining Committee by 12:00 midnight and it had to be ratified by the membership by the 27th. If the offer was accepted they would give a second signing bonus off $4000 dollars. The offer included a $4000 signing bonus (for a total of $8000), wages increases of 60 - 20 - 20 cents, pension increase to 3300.00 and a couple of benefit improvements. The bargaining committee informed the Company we would review it and return with a counter proposal.
We thoroughly reviewed the offer and we felt it fell short in a number of key areas. The job postings and vacation issues were not settled, our members should have better access to the apprenticeships, we believed based on the enormous profits over the last three years, the Company should have put more money in the wages increases (we proposed (4%-3%-3%), we want all lost pension service back for anyone who retires during the CA, we proposed an increase in pension for current retiree’s who make less then $700 a month; some only receive $210 dollars a month. We proposed an increase of 2 job classes for the Skilled Trades with a minimum of rate 20. INCO just received increases of 2 to 5 job classes and we just bargained 2 job classes at First Nickel. We also made some proposals to increase benefits such as eye glasses, L.T.D and Paramedical.
We met with the company at 11:15pm and presented the counter proposals, the company’s chief negotiator spokesperson did not even show us the dignity of bringing a piece of paper to write down our counter offer. After we were finished, the Company spokesperson stated the company’s offer was off the table and when asked what it meant, she stated that all agreed to issue’s including language were off the table. The meeting ended.
Throughout this negotiation the company has stated they want a better relationship, they want to turn the corner. At the same time during the entire course of negotiations their attitude has not changed as evidenced by their actions yesterday.
Your Bargaining Committee has not left the Hotel and will try to bargain a fair collective agreement that respects the value of our members. We still believe we have plenty of time to reach an agreement without a strike, if the Company wants to.
For this to happen, the Company has to realize that bargaining is about both sides putting forward constructive ideas and proposals, listening and responding to each others proposals, not dictating, or making offers with threats and when you don’t get everything your own way “picking up your ball and going home”. You cannot reach an agreement with these tactics.
Over the course of the last few months everyone including your Bargaining Committee hoped this negotiations would be different, the Company said they would. If the Company continues to use the same people and the same tactics, no one should expect different results than we have seen in the past.
We will continue to keep you informed through the website www.minemill598.com , the media and your union Representatives.
Your Bargaining Committee:
Richard Paquin Rick Grylls
Tom Dattilo Jack McGrath
Jan Romo Gord Lamothe
Rejean Berthiaume Jeff Mullally