May 31, 2017 12:42 pm

Hamilton Stelco workers reach tentative deal with Bedrock Industries

A 1954 photo by George Hunter shows the Dofasco and Stelco steel mills, in Hamilton, Ont.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Art Gallery of Ontario

This could be the final piece needed for Bedrock Industries to take over Stelco.

United Steelworkers Local 10-05 has reached a tentative agreement with Bedrock, a privately held Miami-based metals and mining company.

The 500 workers and 10,000 retirees in Hamilton will get a chance to take a look at the offer Thursday with voting set for June 6.

Nanticoke’s 2,000 workers in Local 87-82 are voting this week on their tentative agreement that was reached last week.

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Job security, benefits and pensions were considered key issues for the union.

READ MORE: Steelworkers say more work needed before deal reached with Stelco, Bedrock

McMaster University business professor, Marvin Ryder, says that a week ago, “the union leaders for Local 10-05 and Bedrock Industries seemed far apart on those issues, especially on job security.”

The union wanted an ironclad guarantee that its members’ jobs would be secure, while Bedrock said it could only promise one year of job security.

But Ryder says it would appear that both sides have “eased off ” on their positions.

The details won’t be released until workers’ ratification is complete.

The labour deals are a critical piece in the effort to bring Stelco out of creditor protection.

Other stakeholders, including Stelco’s parent company U.S. Steel, major creditors and the province have already given their approval of the takeover.

READ MORE: Stelco creditors vote in favour of deal

If the bankruptcy court judge endorses the plan June 9, Bedrock is expected to become the owner of Stelco at the end of the month.

Ryder says “that maybe, the last piece of this puzzle has come true.”

READ MORE: Stelco may soon be one step closer to emerging from creditor protection

He says if the unions approve the deal, it will “set the stage” for the court to say, “We have an agreement from everybody and Bedrock — you are cleared to take over this company, the creditor protection is gone, you are back as a full functioning company.”

On Sept. 16, 2014, U.S. Steel Canada announced that it would apply for court protection from its creditors.

In November 2016, a deal was struck to sell U.S. Steel Canada to Bedrock Industries.

On Dec. 2, 2016, the company took the “Stelco” name again.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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