Friday, March 12, 2010

Steelworkers, members of Local 6500, in Sudbury overwhelmingly rejected an "offer" from multinational mining giant Vale Inco to wind up the long and bitter strike by essentially surrendering to the company's demands. The final vote was 88% for rejection of the offer. In Port Colburne, also in Ontario, the vote for rejection was even greater- 98%. Here's the union press release from the strike support site Fair Deal Now. Watch that site for news of this important labour struggle.
Steelworkers Overwhelmingly Reject Vale’s Cynical, Substandard Offer:
Sudbury, Friday, March 12, 2010 — USW Local 6500 President John Fera today announced the results of yesterday’s ratification vote by members of Local 6500.

After holding three meetings with our activists and members on Wednesday night and Thursday morning and evening, the membership voted by secret ballot to overwhelmingly reject Vale Inco’s latest proposal of settlement.

Chief Teller for Local 6500 Lyle Young announced the official numbers:
Total votes cast: 2,371
Total votes to accept: 266
Total votes to reject: 2,105
% of membership to reject: 88.7%

“While no one is happy that the strike will continue,” said Fera and members of the Bargaining Committee, “it’s gratifying to see the support of the membership and the determination to get a fair deal.

“It’s our hope that Vale Inco will understand the need to negotiate a fair contract for our members and ensure that this strike gets resolved. It is our position that we should be looking at a new date to start negotiations again and get this strike settled.”

Both United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and District 6 Director, Wayne Fraser acknowledged and praised the solidarity of Local 6500 members and the tremendous support that continues to pour in from the community.

“Vale Inco has to know that proposing an unacceptable proposal to our members is not going to cut it,” said Fraser, “and the sooner they realize this, the sooner the strike gets resolved. If Vale Inco is serious about getting a fair contract then let’s agree to binding arbitration and move forward to a positive outcome.”

“In a world of globalization, many of these large super companies believe that they have the ability to re-invent the rules of order when it comes to labour relations,” said Gerard. “Our stand has always been consistent – if your company wants to be successful, then it must start in the workplace and workers have to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s a simple rule, but one that allows all involved to win and move forward. Let’s get back to the table and negotiate a fair deal”.
John Fera, President, Local 6500 USW
Phone: 705-675-3381 Ext. 232

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