CAW Reaches First Agreement with Algoma Great Lakes Shipping Inc.

September 26, 2012, 9:30 AM EST

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The CAW has reached a first tentative agreement with Algoma Great Lakes Shipping Inc. CAW Local 4401 represents more than 350 unlicensed seafarers sailing on Algoma's Great Lakes bulk shipping fleet. This is the first agreement between the company and union following the 2011 sale of the Upper Lakes Shipping Fleet to Algoma Central Corporation.

Ratification will be conducted by secret ballot mail-in vote over the coming weeks. Information meetings about the new contract will be held on board Algoma CAW vessels as well as in Thorold Ontario and Clarenville & Gander Newfoundland in the near future.

"Our goals in these first contract negotiations with Algoma were to secure commitments by Algoma to renew the fleet, bargain fair compensation and preserve our health benefits," said CAW Local 4401 President Jim MacDougall. "With the support of our membership and the CAW, we were able to achieve these goals."

All members of the CAW Local 4401 Executive Committee are unanimously recommending acceptance of the new Agreement and are pleased that a first contract with Algoma was reached without a disruption to shipping.

The previous collective agreement which expired in April 2011 was set to legally terminate on September 25, 2012, and would have allowed the union to strike or the company to lock out the workforce if a new agreement was not completed by that date.

Negotiations were delayed to 2012 in order to facilitate an orderly transition of operations from Upper Lakes Shipping Inc. to Algoma Central Corporation.

The new four-year agreement provides wage increases of three per cent retroactive to April 1, 2011 and two per cent retroactive to April 1, 2012 as well as a minimum three per cent wage increase with additional cost of living inflation protection in the last two years of the contract. Comprehensive health and related benefits and an updated defined contribution pension plan have been maintained for the duration of the new contract.

Details of the agreement and the vote will be released following the completion of these meetings and receipt of the mail in ballots. 

CAW Local 4401 has a hiring hall located in St. Catharines, Ontario (905-227-7717) and represents more than 350 members sailing on the Great Lakes for Algoma Great Lakes Shipping Inc.

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