Union rejects proposed SMC contract
USW International Union Local 11-0001 members rejected a proposed contract from the Stillwater Mining Company following two days of voting.
Union President Scott McGinnis confirmed the vote as did SMC through a news release issued early this morning.
The union negotiating committee had unanimously recommended that members approve the tentative agreement.
"All we can say now is that it failed," said McGinnis.
SMC CEO Mike McMullen said the company is disappointed the agreement was not ratified
"Based on this decision by the union members, company management is considering all alternatives to create a situation that will best promote the long-term economic viability of operations at the Stillwater Mine and Columbus processing facility," said McMullen in the news release. "The company will meet its obligations and work with the negotiating committee for the union and the representative for USW International in an effort to find a solution that is reasonable for all stakeholders."
The current contract expires at midnight Friday, June 12.
A tentative agreement was reached two weeks ago with the initial vote dates being set for last Thursday and Friday. Those were bumped back, as was the current contract that was to have expired on June 1. The proposed agreement affects the Nye mine site and the Columbus processing facility, commonly referred to as the smelter.
The Union and SMC have been in negotiations since March with trouble arising over the launching of an advertising campaign and first quarter profit reports of $23 million, coupled with a pay raise for SMC CEO Mike McMullen. That trouble became visual when several wives of miners took to the corner of Pratten Street and Pike Avenue in Columbus on a regular basis, holding signs that read “If Provoked We Will Strike” and “CEO Gets Raise! Miners Take Paycut? Unfair!”
Union President Scott McGinnis has previously said SMC had proposed a cumulative 25 percent cut in pay, incentives, benefits and retirement. SMC Public Affairs Manager John Beaudry had said the “current proposals represent less than 5 percent reduction from the current contract with an opportunity to make that back and more with productivity improvements.”