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Alberta steel company fired union local president

The company has been accused of refusing to negotiate on a new collective agreement.

Earlier this week, the Alberta Labour Relations Board released their most recent New Applications Report. In the report is an application that alleges employer interference with union activity.

The application was submitted on 14 December 2022 by two parties: Local 5575 of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union—also known as United Steelworkers—and Dean Brummet, a steelworker.

Brummet is the president of local 5575, a position he has held since 2009.

The application includes several labour complaints regarding the Edmonton-based employer, Carry Steel, a division of C.W. Carry Ltd. USW and Brummet filed 5 specific complaints in their application.

The first complaint is that Carry Steel “interfered with the union’s and representation of employees by intimidating them during employee meetings”. They also say that this action breaches section 148 of the Labour Relations Code.

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall participate in or interfere with . . . the representation of employees by a trade union.

148(1)(a)(ii), Labour Relations Code

The second complaint is that Carry Steel “discriminated against employees because they are supporting the union in its collective bargaining.”

Their current collective agreement expires at the end of March 2022, and the two parties are supposed to be in negotiations for the new contract.

This violates section 149 of the Labour Relations Code, according to USW and Brummet.

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall refuse to employ or to continue to employ any person or discriminate against any person in regard to employment or any term or condition of employment because the person is a member of a trade union or an applicant for membership in a trade union [nor] seek by intimidation, dismissal, threat of dismissal or any other kind of threat, by the imposition of a pecuniary or other penalty or by any other means, to compel an employee to refrain from becoming or to cease to be a member, officer or representative of a trade union

149(1)(a)(i) & 149(1)(c), Labour Relations Code

The third complaint is that Carry Steel “discriminated and terminated Dean Brummet because he is supporting the Union in its collective bargaining”, which they claim also violates section 149:

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall refuse to employ or to continue to employ any person or discriminate against any person in regard to employment or any term or condition of employment because the person . . . has participated in any strike that is permitted by this Act

149(1)(a)(vii), Labour Relations Code

In a message to The Alberta Worker, Jeff Kallichuk, staff representative with United Steelworkers, reported that Carry Steel terminated Brummet’s employment on 16 November 2022.

The fourth complaint is that Carry Steel “used threats and intimidation to limit employee involvement with the union’s unfair labour practice complaint”, which Brummet and USW claim also violates section 149.

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall . . . discriminate against a person in regard to employment or membership in a trade union or intimidate or threaten to dismiss or in any other manner coerce a person or impose a pecuniary or other penalty on a person, because the person has testified or otherwise participated in or may testify or otherwise participate in a proceeding authorized or permitted under a collective agreement or a proceeding under this Act

149(1)(g)(i), Labour Relations Code

Finally, they claim that Carry Steel refuses “to meet and commence to bargain collectively in good faith and make every reasonable effort to enter into a collective agreement.”

Since the application notice is replaced each Monday, I’ve attached a copy below for anyone who’s interested in more information.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

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