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The History of Local 5328
The History of Local 5328



In June 1956 the new Local 5328 received a charter from the United Steelworkers of America.

The new plant "Parkdale Works," was intended to be the showpiece of "The Steel Company of Canada" the largest Canadian fully integrated steel producer.

The new plant would process steel rod into wire of different grades and sizes.

The green-rod coils coming from the Rod Mill and Bar Mill and weighing from 400 (the first few years) to 1600 pounds (some years later) would be stored in the Rod Shed or in the Yard until needed. It would then go trough the Cleaning Line where it would be freed of dirt and rust and coated with phosphate and/or various amounts of lime depending on the ultimate finish or coating of the wire. Once cleaned, the rod would be transported to the various Wire Drawing frames where it would be cold drawn trough a carbide die, after passing trough a lubricating soap box, to achieve the desired size and finish .

In 1956 Stelco had several other plants unionized by the Steelworkers in the city of Hamilton, across Ontario, in Quebec and in Alberta involved in the making of steel (Basic Steel) and the processing of steel (Fabricators): Hilton Works, Canada Works, Frost Works, Canadian Drawn Works, Brantford Works, Swansea Works, Gananoque Works, St.Henry Works, McMaster Works, Dominion Works, Edmonton Works and Camrose Works.

All the plants totaled a workforce of about 18,000 people. Eventually two new plants were added: Lake Erie Works and Burlington Works and later on many of the plants were sold or permanently closed.

Originally the new "Parkdale Works" was crewed up mainly with workers from Canada Works, Frost Works and from other works transferred to the new plant.

From a starting unionized workforce of approximately 180, it grew to a high of 510 in 1989, to the present 160.

Negotiations were conducted on a chain wide basis with all the Local Unions representing the various Works meeting the Company at a common location.

There was a Central Negotiating Committee, composed of the full negotiating committee of Local 1005 and representatives of the other Locals, that dealt with common issues like wages, vacations, holidays, pension, group insurance and contract language that affected all the plant.

Various Local Committees dealt with issues specific to the particular plants.

This pattern of Chain bargaining ended in 1990. The division was more definitive with the formation of several separate companies in 1993 and the subsequent splitting of the common Pension Fund achieved with the blessing of the Pension Commission of Ontario.


Presidents



Darren Green (2007-)
Scott Duvall (2001-2007)
Joe Crugnale (1988-2001)
Danny Baird (1985-1988)
Doug McPherson (1982-1985)
John Stevenson (1970-1982)
Bill Stetson (1967-1970)
Cliff Ormerod (1961-1967)
Alex Sharpe (1956-1961)



Work Stoppages at Parkdale



In 1966 there was the so called "lemonade strike". The Membership of Local 1005 walked out when the Company refused to give the employees some relief in the Summer by making lemonade available in the Iron-Making and Steel Making divisions of Hilton Works.

Eventually groups went to the various Stelco plants in Hamilton and took the unionized employees out on a wild-cat strike. Eventually the brothers at Hilton Works got lemons in coolers spread trough the plant.

The first legal strike took place in August 1st 1969 with a settlement reached at the beginning of November.

In October 1976 approximately one hundred and thirty Parkdale Works employees participated in the day of protest against the price and wages control program enacted by the then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

The Company sued the Union and the redress sought was part of the settlement of the next contract.

In 1978 all the Stelco plants ratified the terms of a new collective agreement except Parkdale Works.

The President, at the time John Stevenson, and the Committee had a hard time convincing the workers that the agreement reached was a fair one and that there was nothing more to be gained by a strike.

At the third ballot, the contract was ratified by a slim margin.

In 1981, with tempers flaring under the incitement of Cec Taylor, president of Local 1005, all the plants struck Stelco on August 1st.

Lake Erie Works, Canada Works, the fastener division of Burlington Works, Swansea Works and some of the other plants reached an agreement on August 24 and went back to work.

The remaining plants, including Parkdale Works, remained on strike till the last week of October.

In 1990 the majority of the Locals had new leaders, elected in 1988 and a confrontation with the Company was inevitable in view of the intransigent position of Fred Telmer, President, and Bob Melbourne, C.E.O.

It almost bankrupted the Company.

In late October Local 1005 at Hilton Works reached a settlement. Most of the other works settled in early November and Lake Erie Works in mid November. That would be the last time that all the Locals representing the Stelco plants negotiated together.

In 1996 Local 5328 struck Stelwire-Parkdale Works to the astonishment of the Company that underestimated the resolve of the Membership of the Local. The strike was of short duration and, gains aside, a strong point was made with the Company.

A settlement was reached on August 12 and by the end of the month everybody was back to work.


Stelco's changes



Throughout the years The Steel Company of Canada Ltd. became Stelco Inc.

Stelco Wire Products was a division of Stelco and included Parkdale, Burlington and Frost Works.

The Name was later changed to Stelwire, Stelco Inc.

In 1993 incorporated subsidiary companies, fully owned by Stelco, were formed and Stelwire Ltd. comprising Parkdale Works and Burlington Works became one of them.

In September 1999 , in view of the community of interests of their Members and the interaction of the two plants Parkdale Works' Local 5328 and Burlington Works' Local 8460 amalgamated.

On January 29, 2004 Stelco announced they were seeking court protection under CCAA (Comapnies' Creditors arrangement Act). The protection would affect Stelco Inc. and its subsidiaries Stelpipe, Stelwire, CHT Steel and the previously closed Welland pipe. Other subsidiaries , including Alta Steel, Norambar, and Stelfil were not included in this protection.

The Negotiating Committee (Scott Duvall, Darren Green, Tony Ciaramella) of Local 5328 worked along with the committees from Local 1005 and 8782 in challenging Stelco's need for this protection. There were many court challenges by us and the Steelworkers and a year later after meeting with several companies we started to negotiate with Mittal Canada. On December 1, 2005 a memorandum of agreement was signed by the parties and the deal was struck.

Mittal Canada purchased Stelwire (Parkdale and Burlington), Norambar and Stelfil. They took over on February 1, 2006. Since that time the Burlington facility was closed and under an early retirement agreement many of the members from both plants retired.

The Surface furnace and the Holcroft furnace were brought to the Hamilton facility and are today in full production.

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