U.S. Steel locks out Hamilton workers

U.S. Steel has locked out 900 employees at its plant in Hamilton, Ont., according to local media.

U.S. Steel has locked out 900 employees at its plant in Hamilton, Ont., according to local media.

The Hamilton Spectator reported that the company locked the gates of the Burlington Street facility on Sunday night. Earlier, Local 1005 of the United Steelworkers of Canada said employees received letters Saturday evening saying the company would lock out workers as of 7 p.m. Sunday.

The union said the company is demanding workers put a Nov. 4 contract offer to a membership vote.

The offer, which U.S. Steel calls "final," was sent through the mediator appointed by the provincial Ministry of Labour.

Workers were scheduled to hold a rally outside the plant at 6:15 p.m.

"That'll be the start of picket duty for the lockout, so we'll have some speeches there," said union spokesman Rolf Gerstenberger.

The two sides have been without a contract since July 31. The main sticking points have been the company's call for concessions on pensions for new hires and cost-of-living increases in pension payments, Gerstenberger said.

U.S. Steel bought the former Stelco in 2007. It said the changes are needed for the plant to be competitive.

Calls to the company were not immediately returned Sunday.