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* NOTE: USW Native 6500 representatives will maintain a media availability tomorrow, Tuesday, June 15, at 9:00 a.m. EDT, within the car parking zone of the Steelworkers Corridor, 66 Brady Avenue, Sudbury.
SUDBURY, Ontario — For a second time in two weeks, United Steelworkers (USW) members in Sudbury have soundly rejected contract concessions demanded by mining big Vale, prompting the union to name on the corporate to decide to good-faith negotiations to settle a strike by 2,500 employees.
USW Native 6500 members voted by an 87% majority right now to reject Vale’s second supply, which maintained comparable concessions to the corporate’s preliminary supply that provoked the strike on June 1, the union stated.
“Vale’s staff have stated emphatically that they need this employer to cease attacking their advantages, to cease eroding the usual of residing for the subsequent era, to cease taking an increasing number of away from our households and our neighborhood, particularly throughout good occasions,” stated USW Native 6500 President Nick Larochelle.
“The message from our members is obvious: ‘Again off the concessions, get again to the desk and negotiate a deal that places folks earlier than earnings – then the earnings will stream.”
The contract supply rejected by the strikers right now had maintained Vale’s calls for to weaken well being advantages for present employees and to eradicate the retiree well being and medical profit plan for all future hires. The corporate had proposed a post-retirement $1,000 “health-care financial savings account” for future hires which might take away almost 80% of the protection presently offered beneath the prevailing plan. Protection for some medicines and medical provides could be solely eradicated.
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Vale’s supply offered little to nothing when it comes to pension enhancements and annual wage will increase of 1% after accounting for cost-of-living changes. A menial improve was proposed for employees within the defined-benefit pension plan, whereas Vale supplied no improve in its contributions to members within the defined-contribution pension plan.
“The phrases of Vale’s concessionary supply had been unacceptable given the wealth our members are producing for the corporate and the brilliant prospects for the longer term,” Larochelle stated.
Vale paid its shareholders a whopping US $3.88 billion (CAN $4.7 billion) in dividends within the first three months of 2021 alone, and complete dividends of US $13.55 billion (roughly CAN $16.4 billion) since 2015. The corporate additionally has stockpiled US $12.9 billion (CAN $15.6 billion) in money, as of the top of March this yr.
Union members additionally had been angered to be taught that Vale took $67.7 million from Canadian taxpayers final yr – within the type of pandemic-related subsidies from the federal authorities – but the corporate has revoked a pandemic bonus beforehand supplied to its Sudbury staff.
The $2,500 pandemic bonus was supplied by Vale in its first contract proposal two weeks in the past.
“Withdrawing the pandemic bonus, after stating explicitly that our members deserved it for his or her efforts over the previous yr, looks like retribution,” Larochelle stated. “It’s a slap within the face to employees who accepted an unprecedented one-year contract with zero will increase final yr, who endured COVID-19 outbreaks of their workplaces and who stayed on the job all through the pandemic.”
Union members additionally referred to as out “empty phrases” expressed publicly throughout earlier phases of negotiations by a prime Vale government, North American chief working officer Dino Otranto.
“A lot of our members have informed us they really feel betrayed by Mr. Otranto,” Larochelle stated.
“Mr. Otranto informed our complete neighborhood that the longer term was very vivid for Sudbury and that his company wanted to embrace alternative ways of considering, to shed the know-it-all angle and begin participating, listening, and caring for its staff with a view to construct a future that each one Sudburians need,” he stated.
“As an alternative, our members are as soon as once more on the picket strains, resisting extra calls for for concessions from Vale. Our members and the neighborhood are nonetheless ready to see a brand new method from this company.
“Negotiating a contract that exhibits Vale is listening, that it actually cares for its staff, could be a very good begin.”
Nick Larochelle, USW Native 6500 President, 705-675-3381, email@example.com
Pascal Boucher, USW Workers Consultant, 705-675-2461, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), email@example.com