CAW Council Supports Striking Vale Inco Workers
December 4, 2009, 5:25 PM EST
CAW Council delegates voted unanimously to provide $20,000 in financial support to striking Vale Inco workers in Sudbury, Ontario.
John Fera, President of United Steelworkers Local 6500 representing the over 3000 striking miners, delivered an impassioned address to council delegates in Toronto on December 4, highlighting the challenges his members are facing in trying to negotiate a new collective agreement.
Fera said that the company has been relentless in its demand for workers to abandon their defined benefit pension plan, weaken seniority provisions and transfer rights and increase the use of contract workers, among other concessionary demands.
The Brazil-based mining giant Vale purchased Canadian mining company Inco in 2006, one of the largest foreign takeovers in Canadian history. Fera said the change in ownership has resulted in a increasingly hostile workplace environment, a shift he attributes to cutthroat and profit-driven globalization in the mining industry.
"The way this company has treated our community and our members has so far been despicable," Fera said.
Despite historic tensions between the Steelworkers and CAW/Mine, Mill and Smelter workers unions in Sudbury, Fera said the support his local has received from CAW leadership in the community is commendable.
"We have established a pact to join together to fight the same companies that have joined together to fight us," Fera said.
Vale Inco workers in Sudbury have been on strike since July 2009.