Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

September 04, 2009 17:01 ET

Media Advisory: Labour Firmly Behind Striking Vale Inco Workers

SUDBURY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 4, 2009) - "Vale Inco's reckless and unprecedented plan to run dangerous mining and smelting operations using unqualified and inexperienced replacement workers during the current strike is just the latest in a series of moves the company has made which demand a rethinking of the conditions that are put on the foreign purchase of Canadian businesses," say OFL President Wayne Samuelson.

"It's very clear that when these foreign owned multinationals come into our country, they do not operate with any consideration for the well-being of hard working Canadians. They are trying to push workers out of the middle class through unreasonable concessionary demands. It is all part of a race to the bottom that we can't allow foreign companies to force us into," said Samuelson.

Vale Inco, which posted profits of $13.2 billion last year, has forced the members of USW Local 6500 in Sudbury and Local 6200 in Port Colborne to the picket lines to defend themselves against attacks on their pension plan, pay package and the seniority system.

"Working in mining and smelting operations is difficult and often dangerous," said Samuelson. "After a career dedicated to making profits for Vale Inco, these workers deserve the security and dignity provided by a defined benefit pension plan in their retirement years. That is as true for a worker hired tomorrow as it is for one hired 30 years ago. Current USW members are taking an admirable stand and refusing to sell out future generations of workers."

"By attacking the nickel bonus, which ensures that workers do well when the company does well and costs the company nothing when the industry is doing poorly, Vale Inco has shown us their true colours," said Samuelson. "The fact that they want to eliminate it now is clear proof that they are using the current recession as an excuse to stop sharing the rewards with workers, their families and the Sudbury community when the company's fortunes improve".

"Canadian workers have had enough of foreign owned companies using the economic crisis as an excuse to 'nickel and dime' them into permanent structural concessions. These rollbacks would hurt them and their families for the rest of their working lives," said Samuelson. "USW members at Vale Inco have shown that they are willing to stand up and fight back to defend their families. The OFL along with our affiliated unions and our three-quarters of a million members are here to stand with them. It's high time that Ottawa was willing to stand with Canadian workers as well".

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Wayne Samuelson, President
    p: 416-443-7678 or m: 416-571-7408
    Toll-free: 1-800-668-9138
    416.441.0722 (FAX)