Former Vale worker vindicated by OLRB ruling – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – February 25, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Brian Miller has lived in Sudbury since 1979, but, for the last two years, he has felt like an outcast. Miller, 42, was one of nine Steelworkers fired during the union’s year-long strike against Vale Ltd. from July 2009-2010. (One retired after the strike.)

Miller worked his last shift as a development miner at Frood Mine on May 28, 2009. He had 13 years with the company when his union went on strike July 13 of that year.

He was fired Feb. 23, 2010, in the midst of the most bitter labour dispute to rock the Nickel City in decades.

Miller was pleased to learn Friday the Ontario Labour Relations Board had ruled his dismissal, and those of Steelworkers Ron Breault, Mike Courchesne, Adam Cowie, Dan Labelle, Mike French, Jason Patterson and Patrick Veinot, will go to arbitration.

There, an official with the Ontario Ministry of Labour will decide if the firings were justified.

“This could go on another two years and this is difficult,” Miller said Friday.

“It’s difficult, it’s very difficult because it’s a page that’s not closed. I just want the end, the finale of it.”

Miller has felt like a pariah, and feels as if he’s been cheated out of the opportunity to work in his home city.

He won’t say where he has been working since his dismissal.

“I’m happy that we got (the ruling) and the other guys probably are, too,” said Miller. “We’re cautiously optimistic on the process and when the dates will be set.”
Miller expressed confidence in union lawyer Brian Shell, who went to bat for him and his seven union colleagues.

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