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USW to vote on pact at U.S. Steel plant in Canada

| Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 3:18 p.m.

U.S. Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers at the company's Lake Erie Works plant in Canada reached a tentative contract agreement in a lockout that began in April.

A vote is scheduled for Friday.

Negotiators for the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker and USW Local 8782 met in Pittsburgh last week, the union said on its website.

Union members at the Nanticoke, Ontario, plant, who have been locked out by the company since April 28, rejected a proposal on July 31 by 71 percent of 771 votes cast. They will review the new offer in meetings on Wednesday, the union said.

The Lake Erie Works employs about 1,000 and is one of two U.S. Steel plants in Canada. U.S. Steel's Hamilton Works in Hamilton, Ontario, employs about 2,000.

U.S. Steel locked out members when they rejected a contract offer to replace one that expired on April 15. It is the third lockout since the company acquired the Canadian plants in 2007.

On its U.S. Steel Canada website, the company said the contract would be for five years. Spokesman Trevor Harris could not be reached.

Last month, U.S. Steel blamed costs from the lockout for a portion of its second-quarter loss of $78 million.

Bill Ferguson, president of the local, could not be reached for comment. Ferguson has said members objected to changes in the cost-of-living allowance, a 10 percent co-payment on medical benefits and cuts in holiday pay premiums. Some expressed concern about seniority and work rules proposals.

In 2012, the plant on the north shore of Lake Erie produced about 10 percent of U.S. Steel's 23.6 million-ton global raw steel output.

John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-320-7882 or joravecz@tribweb.com.

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