News, Developments and Information

Railway Medical Report

For Steel Yard members,

We received communication from the company regarding the Government of Sask guidelines that require any employee working in  the railway safety position  to meet certain minimum standards of medical fitness (mental and physical). In this context, the Company will sponsor medical examination using company doctor, Dr. Radford, on the company time and the company expense. There will be approximately 40 Steel employees  who will be required to go through this railway medical examinations between now and September 20, 2020. Those employees who want to go through their family physician have this option available to them at their own expense and time.

The Union has requested a meeting to discuss this and the company should not have started moving forward with this without discussion with the Union. We have asked them to cease until we can have a meeting which we hope is within the next week. Our position is simple, you have every right to go to your own physician and the company should be paying for the medical needed. Not in essence forcing you to go see the company contracted physician.

These Government regulations appear to have been in place for some time now so to the company, what was/is the hurry now? Why not do what is right and discuss with the Union prior as we are the sole agent for our members?

It is your right to see your physician at anytime!!

In Solidarity.

GROUP GRIEVANCE FOR JUNE 25 2020

Steel Division:
Anyone who had their shift canceled on June 25 and was asked to report anyway please contact the Union to be added to a group grievance regarding your pay.

As well anyone who had their shift canceled on June 25 but wasn’t paid for the day please contact the Union to be added to a group grievance.

Grievance Meeting Report

Yesterday your grievance committee met with representatives from the company at the 3rd step grievance meeting and responses from the company went as expected. They weren’t moving on anything. Not only were they not prepared to move on anything there was a number of grievances that upper management hadn’t even looked at until that meeting. They also refused to discuss any grievances on early shift relief, cell phones and the call in procedure. The Union has a grievance in on the call in procedure and has been moved to arbitration.

When discussing the shift relief in general, Brad Forster seems to be under some impression that he can remove the Letter of Agreement in the collective agreement. Well Mr. Forster, that is not how agreed to articles such as this are dealt with. If you want it gone, it goes through bargaining. The company also has some new interpretations of language in the collective agreement such as rate retention. For Mr. Forster to tell your President he hopes that bargaining goes smooth, they sure are doing everything in their power for the opposite.

After the grievance meeting was completed Mr. Forster gave a business update. As we all should be aware, things at this time don’t look promising. With that said, for weeks now managers in the steel division have been spreading the rumor that their will be lay-offs even down to 1 crew. A member of the shift committee confronted Mr. Forster on these rumors being spread and he said they were untrue. Well yesterday they were informed there will be upcoming lay-offs in the Steel Division starting in the middle of August down to 2 crews. The company is looking at a new shift to run on 2 crews that would incorporate running a dead shift. This would be a shift with built in overtime on it which seems odd as that was his reasoning for not running the B15 schedule. Puts into question the real reason why he wouldn’t run the B15?

Pat Eisler

Brother’s and Sister’s,

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of our Brother Pat Eisler. Pat was a member of USW 5890 since December 5th, 1989. He had just recently retired 2 weeks ago and was 59 years old.

Pat will be missed by all and our condolences go out to his family.

Rest easy brother.

Upcoming Steel Layoffs

With the upcoming layoffs to take affect at the END OF SHIFT ON JUNE 25TH, if anyone in the Steel Division has been told they are to not report to any shifts prior to their last normally scheduled shift, please contact a shop steward or executive member. We have heard some areas are being told the 25th will be used as part of article 12.13[ 3 day clause]. Under the Sask Employment Act during the notice period, the employee’s pay rate and normal hours of work cannot be cut.

In Solidarity.

Canada Life – Health and Dental Coverage Update

This is the latest information provided to the Union from the Company regarding the issues people are having with their health benefit coverage

As you are aware, an issue was recently brought to our attention that a number of our Active employees were experiencing an unexpected system error with Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life), resulting in their Health and Dental coverage to show as “Terminated” effective June 12, 2020.   As we worked through the cause of the error, it appears it was connected to a number of data transfer files sent shortly after the March 2020 cyber-attack, and unfortunately the impact of the error only came to light this past week. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused any of our employees and their families.

We can confirm the following:

  1. Canada Life has corrected employee benefit coverage records in their system to reinstating coverage for all employees affected by the error, while ensuring no break in benefit coverage.
  2. For employees who experienced troubles over the past few days at their Pharmacy, Dental office or other practitioners, and may have had an expense declined in error:
    1. For the employees who  paid for the expense, the receipts can now be re-submitted (via a paper claim submission or by using Canada Life on-line Group-Net App) for adjudication and reimbursement consideration.
    1. For employees whose practitioners held the receipt, they can now resubmit via any direct claims interfaces the practitioners may use in their offices, for adjudication and reimbursement consideration.

We understand the frustration caused by this issue and apologize for any inconvenience experienced by our employees.  The patience and understanding you and our employees have displayed while we worked with the insurer to resolve this issue is truly appreciated. 

We have included the same people who were notified in the original email sent last week, however please feel free to share the information in this email.  For employees who reached out to us, we have replied to them.  If you feel additional communication is appropriate,  we would appreciate suggestions as to methods of communication.

Should there be any outstanding questions or concerns regarding benefit coverage, please contact us at Benefits.pension@evrazna.com

Thank you,

Benefits Department, Canadian Operations

Call in Procedure

Brother’s and Sister’s

In recent weeks the company has been disciplining members for not following the call in procedure, specifically not calling in 2 hours before their shift starts. The Union has a grievance in on the policy being reasonable and are waiting for the date from the arbitrator. There used to be an understanding with this company that calling in 2 hours before your day shift was unreasonable. The new direction it appears, is that the company figures they should have 16 hours of your day and that is reasonable to them. They also figure if you can’t call in 2 hours before that you should still show up for your shift sick. This thought process makes us question how seriously the company takes everyone’s safety especially in the midst of a Pandemic.

The 2 hours notice was to give the company notice to find coverage for absenteeism. We guess now they expect our members to show up sick, infect others and then go home with zero notice? This is the route the HR department is going. Leaving front line managers with no coverage to run a shift, and for what? Do they believe this is building any sort of morale or is this simply HR trying to exert authority over our members? Actions like this make us wonder where the HUMAN factor is in Human Resources??

Canada Life – Health and Dental Coverage

If anyone has had problems with their Health and Dental coverage please see the below communication we received yesterday from the company’s benefits department.

We have heard from a couple of employees about an issue with their health and dental coverage at Canada Life having a benefit end date.  These employees were informed by Canada Life the last day of their EVRAZ health and dental coverage is June 11th.  We are working with Canada Life to determine the cause of the incorrect end dates in their system, and to identify all employees affected by this error so Canada Life’s system can be corrected and all inappropriate termination dates are removed from their system.

Should you have an employee contact you about their Canada Life health and dental coverage being terminated, please let them know we are aware of the issue, the termination of coverage on June 11th is an error, are working to correct the error as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience this error might create for them.  Should the employee require additional information or have any questions, please have them leave a message on the Benefit Department’s toll free phone number 1-844-924-7636 or email benefits.pension@evrazna.com. We apologize for any inconvenience the coverage end date error may cause you or our employees.  Coverage for active employees, or those who have been laid off and should have continued coverage beyond June 11th, will be corrected as soon as possible

C.O.L.A Update

The CPI figure for April was released on May 20, 2020. Per the Collective Agreement, the following calculation will apply:

                         April 2020                              138.7

                        January 2020                         140.6

                        Difference                               (-1.9)

                        Divide difference by .063 =   ($0.30)

Effective with the first pay period after the release, COLA will be $.91 per straight-time hour worked, as it was previously $1.21.

CITTnewsRelease: TRIBUNAL INITIATES REVIEW—HOT-ROLLED CARBON STEEL PLATE

Ottawa, Ontario, June 1, 2020—Following a request by the Minister of Finance dated April 30, 2020, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal today initiated a review of its finding of May 20, 2014, in Inquiry No. NQ-2013-005, that the dumping of certain hot-rolled carbon steel plate originating in or exported from the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Indonesia, the Italian Republic, Japan and the Republic of Korea was threatening to cause injury to the domestic industry.

The Minister also requested that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) review its decisions taken under subsection 41(1) of Special Import Measures Act in respect of individual exporters with de minimis margins of dumping, i.e. steel plate exported by Hyundai Steel Company. The outcome of the CBSA’s review may require that the Tribunal review its threat of injury finding. The CBSA’s notice regarding the initiation of its review can be found at cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/sima-lmsi/i-e/ad1402-1404/ad1402-1404-nr-eng.html.

On October 14, 2020, the Tribunal will make a decision, including reaffirming its threat of injury finding or replacing it with a negative finding.

The Tribunal is an independent quasi-judicial body that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Finance. It hears cases on dumped and subsidized imports, safeguard complaints, complaints about federal government procurement and appeals of customs and excise tax rulings. When requested by the federal government, the Tribunal also provides advice on other economic, trade and tariff matters.

Steel Dumping Investigations Must Proceed Without Delay: Steelworkers

OTTAWA – The United Steelworkers union (USW) will take an active role in investigations being launched by Canadian authorities into illegal dumping of foreign steel into Canada by several countries.

“Our union will continue to aggressively defend the jobs of steelworkers across Canada who for too long have been harmed by steel imports dumped into our country and sold at unprofitable, below-market prices,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

“Over the last two years, after our union won the right to participate in such trade cases, the majority of rulings have gone in our favour, helping to push back against illegal dumping of foreign steel and aluminum products,” Neumann added.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) is launching a preliminary inquiry into the potential damage to Canadian workers and producers of alleged dumping of hot-rolled heavy steel plate and high-strength low-alloy steel plate from Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, Malaysia and Turkey. If the CITT’s inquiry confirms steel dumping by the identified foreign producers, it can impose duties for an initial period of five years.

The CITT decided to launch an inquiry as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) simultaneously investigates the alleged dumping by the five countries. The investigation followed a dumping complaint by Algoma Steel of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where workers are represented by the USW.

“Our members know better than anyone the damage that unfair and predatory trade practices have caused for working families and communities in our country,” said Marty Warren, Ontario Director of the USW, which represents workers at Algoma.

“Too many jobs have been lost due to foreign steel dumping. As we struggle to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, we will fight back against further threats to our domestic steel industry,” Warren said.

Local union leaders representing Algoma Steel employees are expected to present evidence during the CITT inquiry. Algoma already has announced layoffs due to the market impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Workers and their families are already suffering during this crisis. We can’t allow illegal dumping to threaten more jobs in our community,” said Mike Da Prat, President of USW Local 2251, representing production and maintenance workers at Algoma.

“It will be a disaster for Steelworkers in Sault St. Marie and for workers across Canada if, in addition to the pandemic, our steel industry also is hit with a surge of dumped foreign imports,” said Rebecca McCracken, President of USW Local 2724, representing office, technical and professional staff at Algoma.

Given that Canada may be increasingly targeted by foreign dumping due to contracting global demand, it is critical that the CBSA investigation and the CITT inquiry proceed without delay, Neumann said.

“We know that foreign producers and importers are looking at the Canadian steel market as a destination for dumped steel products like heavy plate,” Neumann said.

“The Government of Canada must ensure that the CBSA continues to do prompt investigations during the pandemic and the CITT must continue to meet its statutory deadlines so that that the Canadian market is protected from unfairly traded goods.”

USW International President Thomas M. Conway said Steelworkers in Canada and the U.S. are leading the battle for fair trade and to preserve manufacturing and middle-class jobs in both countries.

“This fight is fundamental to our economies and to our way of life. Canadian and American Steelworkers can compete with anyone in the world if we’re on a fair playing field. So we are demanding that our governments sanction the bad actors and defend our workers and our domestic industries to ensure they remain on a long-term, sustainable course,” Conway said.

PENSION UPDATE

A Pension Investment Committee meeting was held on May 22,2020

Due to the current economic conditions, as of March 31, 2020, the Funded Status of our pension has dropped from around 100% to 90.1%.

It is estimated that from the end of March to the end of April it has bounced back roughly 2% which would make it around 91.9% funded.

It is projected to remain flat at that rate through to the end of May.

We are in much better shape than many of the other pension plans out there. Some suffered way greater losses than we did.

We are optimistic that our funded status will continue to improve over the next short while. 

In regards to the “Pension Freeze” that was recently implemented, we have been assured by the Company that they are working diligently to have that “Freeze”  not apply to our pension. 

This does not affect a person applying for or receiving a monthly pension but only to those who qualify for, and wish to receive a commuted value pension. We will provide any updates on this issue as we receive them from the Company. 

B15 Update

Brother’s and Sister’s

Yesterday morning your grievance committee met with the company to discuss the 3rd step grievances. The meeting roughly ended at 10:30 and at the end of that meeting the company expressed that they wished to discuss the B15 schedule. The Union listened to Mr. Forster and his concerns. We pointed out that we brought forward our own proposal last week that would have met his operational needs based on the numbers he provided to us and he didn’t even look at it. We directly raised the concern that this is an attack on overtime in general. Mr. Forster then promised this was not an attack on overtime or nothing to do with eroding the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He gave his word. The company said it was already Thursday and any changes needed to be done today. At 4:05 Thursday afternoon your executive received the below proposal which IS an attack on overtime and erosion of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. To this executive , management has not been completely honest with us and with the timelines involved are not serious about coming to an agreement without concessions. This attack on overtime, plant wide as this letter shows, is a non- starter for this executive.

RE: Working Schedule B15 – Rotation Period and OT

All Parties to this Letter of Agreement recognize that the majority of employees prefer to work the rotation as outlined in Schedule B15 over the rotation that is outlined in Schedule B3 of the Collective Agreement between USW 5890 and EVRAZ INC. NA.  In order to implement the preferred schedule the Parties agree to a special amendment to the Collective Agreement as per the following terms and conditions:

  1. “28 day period” and “hours over 160” in Article 8.03(c) will be replaced by “21 day period” and “hours over 120” respectively.

In addition, there would be no overtime involved or cost to the employer when switching employee(s) from one crew to another, and /or switching employee(s) to Schedule B15 rotation.  This letter can be terminated by either Party by giving 6 week notice to other Party.

Steel Scheduling

Brothers and Sisters,

Today members of your Steel Shift and Seniority Committee met with the company to discuss the current layoff situation, bumping, production levels and schedules. The Union proposed the B15 schedule to the company based on what the company told us was their tonnage requirements. We proposed the B15 schedule with options to run that schedule through the language in the collective agreement and based on the number of days the company said they require plus 1 designated 8 hour dead shift in a 28 day period per 3 crews and Mr. Forster FLAT OUT REFUSED.

The union brought up the issues surrounding Overtime, 3 day layoffs, stats, shift changes, the pandemic. We proposed things that would both make the membership happy and save the company money. To the extent when an individual receives a 3 day layoff on the B15 they lose 36 hours and under his B3 the loss is 24 hours. This is clear it is not about saving money as we heard  a resounding NO from  Mr. Forster. We gave him every opportunity to manage this schedule and work with them, again to a NO.  Mr. Forster even agreed with the Union that there will be more overtime on the B3 schedule. We clearly can see this isn’t about having a happy and productive workforce. This is about a grudge , that much is clear.

The Union brought up that we may advise our members under the B3 schedule to do shift trades, in essence creating their own B15 schedule. Mr. Forster then said “employees will not create their own shift”.  Shift Trades are an option under the collective agreement. The company will have t address each request as they were to come in. So another words making the managers actually manage, something they will not do under the B15 schedule.

The fact is, every creative idea the Union proposed, the company said NO.  

We also proposed shuffling the Days/Afternoon/Nights to Days/Nights/Afternoons on the B3 schedule. At first glance the company didn’t see any issues in that but will look at it further before agreeing to it.

The Union is very disappointed in today’s outcome and the responses given by Mr. Forster.

Tubular Layoffs

Yesterday afternoon the Union was informed the company will be issuing Layoff notices for roughly 45 people in Tubular on Friday May 8th. The list is to be out today and once we have it it will be posted.

Evraz Update

With the struggles in today’s economy, Evraz is facing some difficult times and difficult decisions. The attached letter is a clear indication of what we face ahead.

Although times maybe uncertain, please continue to work safely.

DAY OF MOURNING

This year’s Day of Mourning will be different due to COVID-19. April 28th one of the most important days on our calendar. It’s when we remember those we’ve lost and recommit ourselves to fighting for the health and safety of every worker.

While it’s unfortunate that Steelworkers won’t be gathered in their Communities for the Day of Mourning, it is still very important that we connect and commemorate the Day of Mourning. That’s why we are doing a

District 3 Telephone Town Hall.

  • We encourage all members to  participate. Please register to join USW District 3 for our Day of Mourning Telephone Town Hall on Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 pm.

            Click now to REGISTER. Select the Tuesday, April 28 option for the District 3 Telephone Town Hall on the registration page.

            You’ll get to hear from USW District 3 Director Steve Hunt and National Director Ken Neumann and some of our members on the front lines. You can participate in honouring those injured and killed on the job over the last year,

            as well as participate in the discussion and ask questions.

            After you have registered, all you have to do is answer the phone when we call you on the evening of Tuesday, April 28. You simply stay on the line to join the telephone town hall.