Sandvik Materials Technology Canada

Sandvik Materials Technology Canada

August 02, 2011 15:59 ET

Strike Update for Sandvik Materials Technology Canada, Arnprior, Ontario

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2011) - This press release is being issued to update workers and interested parties on the ongoing dispute between Sandvik Materials Technology Canada (SMTC), Arnprior and the membership of CAW Local 2228.

On Monday, July 25 a meeting was held in Toronto at the request of Mr. Bob Chernecki, Assistant to the President of the CAW. At the meeting the Company was advised that there were two roadblocks to achieving an agreement - COLA and bereavement. The Company was further advised that it was the Union's position that they were not prepared, in any way, to assist with an offset of the pension funding deficit resulting from the most recent valuation and that no concessions would be made regarding COLA. Mr. Chernecki indicated he was not prepared to bargain and merely wanted to meet and find a way to bring the parties back to the bargaining table. Mr. Chernecki and Mr. Ghadban were advised that the demands being made by the Union Committee were unrealistic and there needed to be some willingness on their part to reconsider those demands.

In considering the two issues identified by the Union as major roadblocks, Management withdrew its counter to the initial Union proposal regarding bereavement. The demand regarding COLA roll-in would effectively push the average wage, already the highest in the local employment market, even higher, compromising SMTC's ability to remain competitive. However, in an attempt to achieve resolution and limit further damages to the employees, customers and the company, we prepared to re-enter the discussions in good faith, with an enhanced proposal.

On Friday July 29th, a new proposal was submitted to the Union and included all previously agreed language changes and monetary provisions put forward as well as a full COLA allowance with a partial roll-in. The Union rejected this proposal and, in contrast to what we had been led to believe, retabled all items, including full COLA roll-in, improvements to the Pension Plan, a general wage increase, additional Union representation in the Plant, payment of Union Committee wages during negotiations, increased tool allowance, safety shoe allowances, call in pay, banked time entitlements, reduced drug card for retirees, revision of the Severance article and bereavement leave entitlement as submitted at the end of discussions on July 12th., as a requirement for settlement.

The Union Committee was advised that we were extremely disappointed and had entered these discussions in good faith based on an understanding that consideration of the two key issues put forward by Mr. Chernecki and Mr. Ghadban would lead to resolution. Disregarding this cavalier and irresponsible approach being taken by the Union Committee, we nevertheless submitted one final offer. We emphasized our belief that, in putting forward our best and final offer, the company's ability to remain competitive and viable in the long term was a serious concern. This final offer provided for full COLA roll in and quarterly adjustments consistent with previous contracts, resulting in a wage increase every year over the next three years and Cost of Living (COLA) wage protection during this period. This offer also required agreement for a return to work protocol.

Late Friday night, we were advised that the Union was rejecting our final offer and holding on their demand for improvements to the pension plan and several other financial demands. The Union Committee was advised that our final offer would not be further revised and, in particular pension plan improvements would not be considered. As a result an impasse was reached and discussions were concluded shortly after midnight on Friday.

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