Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

May 30, 2012 16:18 ET

CLC Wants Rio Tinto 'Off the Podium'

CLC President writes to Canadian Olympic Committee

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 30, 2012) - The Canadian Labour Congress wants Rio Tinto "off the podium" for this summer's London 2012 Olympics.

CLC President Ken Georgetti has written to Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee. "With Rio Tinto supplying the metal used to produce the Olympic medals," Georgetti says in his letter, "we believe the Games are tainted by the company's reprehensible labour practices in Canada."

Georgetti was referring to Rio Tinto's five-month lockout of 780 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) in Alma, Quebec. "Workers in Alma were literally thrown out in the cold for resisting Rio Tinto's attempt to replace retiring unionized workers with precariously-employed subcontractors earning half the wages, no pension and no benefits," he writes.

Georgetti writes that the company, which is the principal employer in Alma, is seeking to cut costs by eliminating good jobs and reducing the community's standard of living. "Workers, families and an entire community are being harmed as a result of Rio Tinto's actions."

Georgetti adds in his letter to Aubut, "we feel it is abhorrent that Rio Tinto would be allowed to associate itself with the Olympic principle of fair play and with the London Games' commitment to sustainability."

Georgetti requests that Aubut act to prevent bringing negative attention to Canada and its athletes in London. "We urge you to uphold the ethical standards promoted by the Olympic Games and ensure that this summer's Olympians can wear their hard won medals with pride by getting Rio Tinto Off the Podium." (Please see www.offthepodium.org).

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Website: www.canadianlabour.ca. Follow us on Twitter: @CanadianLabour

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