History of Local 5328

History of United Steelworkers 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 200.

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.



Anthony Ciaramella (2018- present)

Darren Green (2007- 2018)
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.

Joe Crugale Scholarship Winner 2022 Essay by Lindsay Tait, August 25th,2022

History Of USW Local 5328

The USW Local 5328 of the Steelworkers' Union has a long and rich history. Beginning in 1956 with a charter received from the United Steelworkers of America, the union has had many records, updates, presidents, name changes and merges in its list of achievements. 1031 Barton St. E., Hamilton, Ontario, is where you can find the United Steelworkers Center, the meeting place of many 5328 discussions. Right next to The Hearty Hooligan, The Centre on Barton and Ottawa Street, the Centre feels right at home next to popular landmarks of this Hamilton neighbourhood. There is no better location to come together to celebrate more than 66 years of advancing social and economic justice in the city of Hamilton and at thousands of workplaces.

The Steel Company of Canada, later called Stelco, was the largest fully integrated steel producer in Canada, and the new plant, “Parkdale Works” was built to reflect this prestige. Parkdale Works would process steel rods into wire of various grades and sizes. Aside from this plant, Stelco had unionized many others, including, 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. The union has experienced significant fluctuations in membership, from a record high of 510 in 1989 to the 200 it now has. (1)

The first president of USW Local 5328 was Alex Sharpe, elected in 1956. Of all the presidents since then, Bill Stetson, Doug Mcpherson and Danny Baird all served 3 years. Cliff Ormerod, John Stevenson, Scott Duvall, and Darren Green each served 6-, 12-, 6- and 11-year terms, respectively. Joe Crugnale served the longest, elected in 1988 and was president until 2001, a staggering 12 years. A scholarship in his honour is now awarded to children and grandchildren of USW Local 5328 current or retired members. Two other notable presidents are Scott Duvall and Darren Green, who were elected in 2001 and 2007, respectively. They both serve as members of the Negotiating Committee, alongside Anthony Ciaramella, the current president of USW Local 5328. Green has made statements about 5328 such as, “We work with community partners such as the United Way, churches, social groups etc. We are coaches, referees, mentors; we rally others to causes important to our communities. It’s great training if we decide to pursue politics.” (2)

There were many attempts to create unions in Stelco, due to the demand for higher wages, a 40-hour work week, and a safer and more productive work environment. These attempts were unsuccessful until 1946, with the creation of the United Steelworkers of America, Local 1005. The strike lasted for 81 days (about 2 and a half months), and paved the way for many other steelworkers' unions, like Local 5328 and Local 8782.

The steelworkers' unions of Canada have always had strong bonds with each other. Local 5328 has a significant relationship with USW Local 1005, the first successful union strike under Stelco in 1946. In 2011, Darren Green released a statement in support of Local 1005 saying, "On behalf of the Executive and membership of Local 5328 I am sending greetings and
congratulations to you, your members, and retirees as you mark the 65th anniversary of Local 1005. Here at Local 5328, we have always looked upon Local 1005 as our big brother in the Stelco chain. Since being commissioned in 1956 as Parkdale Works, we have had many shared experiences, been at the same negotiating table and fought the same or similar fights. History shows that we have benefited from our relationship with your local.” (3)

On January 29th, 2004, Stelco made the announcement that they were applying for court protection under the federal Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, which would grant them protection while they restructured financial affairs through a Plan of Arrangement. Some lower companies owned by Stelco, including Alta Steel, Norambar, and Stelfil were excluded from this protection. In order to combat Stelco's need for this protection, the Local 5328 Negotiating Committee collaborated with the committees from Local 1005 and 8782. There were many court challenges by Local 5328 and the Steelworkers over the span of nearly two years. The agreement was finalized on December 1st, 2005, when the parties signed a memorandum of understanding. (4)

USW Local 5328 has been involved in many charity projects. In 2008, a member of the Local reached out to ArcelorMittal Hamilton East to inquire about a way to help United Way provide backpacks for inner city kids. After providing 92 children with much needed school supplies, Local 5328 and ArcelorMittal Hamilton East decided to make this an annual effort, continuously increasing the number of backpacks donated. The union participation has increased as well. The effort is now supported by the Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council, the Hamilton Chapter of USW Women of Steel, and USW Locals 16506, 4752, 1005, 7135, and 4153. (5) In 2019, 1500 backpacks full of school supplies were donated. As a result of COVID-19, the campaign could not up their previous record, but still donated a staggering 1272 backpacks. (6) The campaign still continues to this day. (7)

Anthony Ciaramella is the current president of Local 5328, elected in 2018. He regularly updates members and retirees on the official Local 5328 website, with his “President’s Messages.” Recent and upcoming events include the 2022 USW Constitutional Convention, Labour Day, and several membership meetings. The Local steelworkers' unions join in on the annual Labour Day parade by marching alongside the parade route. A meeting place is decided before the parade starts, and shirts are handed out to the members, retirees, and family members of the unions to wear as they march. After the parade, there is commonly a barbeque for each Local to enjoy. (8)(9).

(1), (4) USW Local 5328. (2020, March 16). History of local 5328. usw5328.com. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://usw5328.com/usw-local-5328/history-local-5328/history-local-5328

(2) Green, D. (2015, February 2). A biased attack on union leaders. thespec.com. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.thespec.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editors/2015/02/02/a-bias...

(3) Green, D. (2011, July 23). Congratulations 1005! Information Update Local 1005. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://cpcml.ca/images2011/InformationUpdate/USW1005-InformationUpdateS...

(5) Green, D. (2015, September 14). Hamilton Steelworkers did it again! usw.ca. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/hamilton-steelworkers...

(6) Operation backpack 2020 to help 1,272 kids. USW Canada. (2020, August 27). Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2020/operation-backpack-20...

(7) Hnatjuk, M. (2021, September 21). Operation backpack 2021. USW District 6. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://usw5328.com/operation-backpack-2021

(8) Hamilton and District Labour Council. (2022, May 27). Labour Day 2022. Hamilton and District Labour Council. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.hamiltonlabour.ca/labour_day_2022

(9) USW Local 5328. (2019, October 27). Labour Day. USW District 6. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://usw5328.com/local-5328/events/labour-day