United Steelworkers Members Vote for New Deal, Despite Pandemic Restrictions

Members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) at Ottawa-based Power Precast Solutions have ratified a new collective agreement that provides significant wage increases, opportunities for skills training, better winter clothing, along with improvements to sick days and control over mandatory overtime.

A tentative agreement was reached with the company in March but, because of restrictions due to of COVID-19, a virtual meeting to review the deal replaced the usual face-to-face membership meeting, followed by electronic voting.

The 30 workers make pre-cast concrete products for infrastructure projects, with some components weighing up to 40 tonnes.

Wage increases are a minimum of 7.5% over three years, with several job classifications receiving special adjustments, the highest reaching 13.9%.

“This is a very good agreement reached under trying circumstances,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren. “It shows that it’s possible to adjust the way workers’ rights can be maintained, despite restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

“Beyond that, these workers make components for enormous infrastructure projects that are increasingly important in a changing world and aging physical infrastructure.”

Power Precast Solutions was founded in 1974. Employees are members of USW Local 8327 and only joined the union in 2018.