Striking Vale workers praised for their resolve on the picket line
SUDBURY -- Workers at Sudbury's Vale operations continue their strike against the company after turning down the latest contact offer.
Vale workers hit the picket lines after voting down the company’s offer by a margin of 70 per cent.
Late last week, local MPPs and the retired Steelworkers International president showed up at the picket lines to offer their support.
They said the strike shows the resolve of the union membership, since they are willing to go on strike during such an uncertain time for workers and the economy.
“I believe in the collective voice of many and people have had enough and I think this was a good showing of that," said striking worker David Johns. "Seventy percent rejection in today’s economy and I’m very proud of everybody for checking no.”
Former Steelworkers leader Leo Gerard said he is proud of the stance the workers are taking in defending the benefits of future retirees.
"Vale’s had its best quarter in history since it’s came to Sudbury and for it to come to take benefits away from future retirees and say well we can’t predict the future, we’ll that’s the reason you can’t predict the future is the reason we need those benefits," Gerard said.
Two Sudbury area New Democrat MPPS were also at the picket line in copper cliff and later in Levack to show their support. They said they know first-hand that being on strike is never easy, especially during a pandemic.
“After a year and three months of COVID, there are a lot of families that are having a tough time -- add a strike on top of this and I know that for some families, it will put them over the edge," Said Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas.
"So, I come, I try to talk to as many strikers as possible and let them know if you need help, call me.”
The last word from the union was that bargaining talks with vale are continuing and that pensions for younger workers is the main stumbling block.