Wednesday, March 10, 2010



The strike in Ontario and Newfoundland against the international mining giant Vale Inco has been ongoing since last August (over 7 months now), and there is no end in sight. This struggle will probably go down in Canadian history as one of the most hard fought labour disputes ever. Molly has mentioned this strike multiple times at this blog.

As negotiations seem to go nowhere and the company seems intend on reopening their facilities using scab labour the United Steel Workers and their supporters rallied last weekend in Toronto to keep the fight in the public eye. Here's a report from the Toronto Examiner.


U.S.W. rally in Toronto to support 3,500 workers on strike
Andrew Moran

As mediators for the United Steelworkers and multinational giant Valeco Inc. negotiate in Toronto over the weekend, USW members rallied in the downtown core to show support for the workers in Sudbury, Port Colborne and Voisey's Bay who are on strike.

Toronto, Canada - On Saturday, hundreds of members and supporters of the United Steelworkers rallied together in Toronto at the Metro Convention Center to show support of those 3,500 workers in Sudbury, Port Colborne in Ontario who have been on strike since May of last year and also for those in Voisey’s Bay in northern Labrador who launched a strike on Aug. 1.

Vale Inco, which is a Brazil-based mining corporation, sponsored a conference at the MTC to negotiate with USW representatives over the company’s rollback in pension plans, seniority rights and nickel bonuses. However, more than 3,500 miners and smelter workers are not satisfied with the company's latest cutback measures.

OFL President Sid Ryan said this battle does not only belong to the strikers in the three towns but to Canadians across the country, as Ryan called upon trade unionists and members of the public to stand up against the multinational giant Vale Inco, according to a Marketwire press release.

“We need to raise a loud and united voice to tell Vale Inco to bargain a fair contract for these workers. This strike has exacted an enormous price on these workers, their families, and their communities, and they need and deserve to see it end with a fair contract.”

There have been no formal talks between the two sides until it was announced last week that they were going to negotiate over the Mar. 6 and Mar. 7 weekend, notes the Hamilton Spectator.

CBC News reports that those at the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine have protested the company’s demands in freezing wages and rolling back on many bonuses. The two sides will meet with a conciliator between Mar. 15 and Mar. 16. Vale Inco workers, catering staff and security personnel have been on strike since the summer.

In one leaflet handed out at the rally, the Communist Party of Canada listed several demands for the workers at Vale Inco. The CPC called for the federal and provincial governments to intervene in the situation, while also calling for federal and provincial bans on “scab labor”. The Communists also want a nation-wide labor campaign to transfer natural resources and important manufacturing sectors to the public sector.

"We salute the Vale Inco workers for their courage in walking away from the bargaining table and resisting huge concessions," said the CPC in a brochure and added, "We call on all Canadian unions and working class organizations to rally around the struggle of the Vale Inco workers."
Molly Note:
The last part of the above article caught my eye. It wasn't too long ago that the communists actually held positions of power within the unions, and the "beloved" CPC would move heaven and earth to prevent their minor Trotskyist and Maoist competitors from doing what they are reduced to doing themselves in the 21st century. How the mighty have fallen. The CPC, of course, is in precisely the same position today as supporters of the Bourbons were at the turn of the 20th century. Massive nationalization today is a non-starter because it has been proven over and over to not only be inefficient but also to lead to yet another form of class domination. This sort of thing is not what libertarian socialists would advocate.

No comments: