The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Vale Ltd. officials still believe they had reason to discipline Creighton miner Mike Courchesne for his behaviour on a United Steelworkers picket line in August 2009. But the mining company says it will accept the decision of an arbitrator and give Courchesne his job back.
The company issued a statement Wednesday after arbitrator Wes Rayner ruled Tuesday that while Courchesne exhibited some bad behaviour, it didn’t warrant his dismissal.
“Although we stand by our view that Mr. Courchesne’s conduct warranted discipline — something the arbitrator concluded as well — we will follow through on the decision as directed,” Vale said Wednesday.
United Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand would like Vale to reinstate five more members fired during the year-long strike whose cases are also in arbitration.
When asked about that, Vale spokeswoman Amanda Eady said the other hearings are currently underway, and didn’t indicate the company had any intention of halting the proceedings.
Courchesne, who worked for a mining contractor out of Timmins, will be reinstated provided he passes a standard medical examination.
Bertrand said Courchesne, who worked for Vale for about 15 months before the strike, was “very, very happy” about Rayner’s decision.
“He just wants to move on with his life and go back to work. That’s something they all want to do,” said Bertrand about five remaining Steel-workers who have grieved their dismissals.
The dismissals of Steelworkers Ron Breault and Brian Miller are being dealt with separately, while three other members of Local 6500 are having their cases heard together by the same arbitrator.
Jason Patterson, Patrick Veinot and Mike French were fired for allegedly assaulting a Steelworker who crossed the picket line and worked during the strike. They also faced criminal charges, although only French was convicted. Patterson and Veinot were cleared of wrongdoing. French was ordered to write a letter of apology to the man he assaulted and received one year of probation.
Bertrand said he hoped the decision about Courchesne “reflects a positive outcome for all other fired workers.”
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