Sudbury Steelworkers Local 6500 rejects Vale's second offer
SUDBURY -- Update:
After an 87 per cent majority vote Monday evening, United Steelworkers (USW) members in Sudbury have rejected contract concessions by mining giant Vale.
"Vale's employees have said emphatically that they want this employer to stop attacking their benefits, to stop eroding the standard of living for the next generation, to stop taking more and more away from our families and our community, especially during good times," said USW Local 6500 President Nick Larochelle. "The message from our members is clear: 'Back off the concessions, get back to the table and negotiate a deal that puts people before profits - then the profits will flow."
The union is calling on the company to commit to good-faith negotiations to settle the strike by 2,500 workers.
Vale and the United Steelworkers Local 6500 continue to struggle to reach a deal.
Vale expresses "disappointment" that the union bargaining committee is recommending rejection of a new offer tabled June 12.
Officials say the new offer addresses union concerns over wages, pensions and benefits for new hires.
"Our efforts at the table have focused on reaching a deal that benefits employees and the community while addressing challenges in the business. We feel our revised offer does that," said Chief Operating Officer, North Atlantic Operations Dino Otranto in a media release.
Adding, "While it is disappointing that the union has chosen not to endorse the company’s offer, our commitment to finding a path forward to a ratified deal has never wavered."
Around 2,500 members of the USW walked off the job on June 1 to "protect health benefits and proper compensation during good times" according to the union.
"Vale knows it provoked this strike by demanding concessions, yet it continues to attack health benefits," said USW Local 6500 President Nick Larochelle in a statement. "We want to be clear – our members want to get back to work, but they expect a good-faith offer from Vale that respects their concerns."
A union meeting will be held Monday following by online voting on the latest offer.
The union claims that Canadian taxpayers have been subsidizing Vale’s operations, despite the company’s massive profits.
"Taxpayers gave the company $67.7 million last year, in the form of pandemic-related subsidies from the federal government," Kim Kmit said in a post on the USW Local 6500 website.
Vale responded with a statement to CTV News when asked about the subsidies:
"At the onset of the pandemic, specifically Q2, all of Vale’s base metals markets experienced significant demand shocks resulting from global COVID-19 related shutdowns. Further, Vale’s Voisey’s Bay operation in Labrador was placed into care and maintenance for three months to reduce risk of transmission to neighboring Indigenous communities. Vale was the first mining company in Canada, perhaps the world, to shut down operations voluntarily in the interests of health and safety. The Canada Employment Wage Subsidy allowed us to continue to pay employees and contractors who were not working due to concerns about the virus being potentially transmitted to vulnerable communities."