Union workers OK pact with Canam Steel

151-31 vote ends lockout at Canadian-owned plant in Point of Rocks

April 09, 1999|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Union workers with Canam Steel Corp. in Point of Rocks overwhelmingly approved a three-year contract yesterday morning that ends a lockout at the Canadian-owned company's U.S. headquarters.

By a 151-31 vote, members of the United Steelworkers of America Local 7952 approved the deal, which grants hourly pay increases in each year of the agreement and ends the lockout that had started Tuesday.

Steelworkers will return to work Monday at Canam Steel, the country's second-largest maker of steel joists used in construction.

"We're satisfied," said Stanley Biggus, staff representative for United Steelworkers of America District 8, which represents the union local.

Said Bob Causer, Canam Steel's U.S. manager of human resources: "It's a pretty positive outcome."

The lockout came at a time when business has been brisk for Canam. But hourly workers wanted more money in their pockets, and union negotiators devised a plan to shift money destined for profit-sharing plans or one-time bonuses into hourly increases of 40 cents in the first year, 35 cents in the second and 30 cents in the contract's final year.

"The union felt they had more control" over their income this way, Causer said. "We weren't that far apart."

Workers make between $11 and $15 per hour, with the average $12 an hour.

Canam Steel is owned by Canam Manac Group, which is based near Montreal. The company also has plants in Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Lafayette, Ind.; Sunnyside, Wash., and Washington, Mo.

"We have a contract," said a relieved-sounding Biggus, whose territory of responsibility encompasses three states in addition to Maryland.

Pub Date: 4/09/99

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