CHALK RIVER, Ont.—Employees at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW), the union announced.
According to the USW, almost 900 workers at AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) in Chalk River, Ont., near Ottawa, will join the union after a vote last month.
Members of the Chalk River Technicians and Technologists union (CRTT) voted by a margin of 82 per cent to merge that union with the larger Steelworkers.
“Our members are facing change,” CRTT president Vickie Hulley said in a statement.
“As a union we recognized the need to expand resources and capacity to best represent our members. This is an excellent step forward.”
The CRTT, which represents members in three bargaining units at AECL, chose the USW as its merger partner following a two-year process.
“We initiated a comprehensive search for the right merger partner,” Hulley said. “The USW was our choice because of its range of services and its outlook on positive bargaining.”
Before choosing the USW as its merger partner, the CRTT looked at a number of other unions as well as other options such as remaining independent or hiring additional expertise on a case-by-case basis when required.
“The USW had the right mix for our members,” Hulley said. “It has the right balance of autonomy and the support we need. And the USW history of being prepared for complex situations such as ours is important to us.”
The USW and the CRTT will now arrange successorship proceedings at the Canada Industrial Relations Board and then begin preparations for collective bargaining.
“We are honoured and excited to welcome these hard-working people into our union,” said Marty Warren, the USW’s Ontario director.
“Our first priorities will be pending negotiations and how AECL employees will be affected by future changes in the operations.”