Union wary of Vale move – by Sebastien Perth (Sudbury Star – November 7, 2012)

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

Union leaders say they are suspicious of a move by Vale to house temporary workers dur ing construction of the company’s $2-billion pollution reduction project in Sudbury.

“I think its 90-10,90% towards the labour issue, 10% towards housing contract workers,” said Dennis Theriault, vice-president of Steelworkers Local 6500. “I think our community of 160,000 can handle an influx of 1,3001,800 workers, particularly when a great deal of those workers are supposed to be from our local community.”

Vale has applied to the city’s planning committee to amend a zoning bylaw to allow the company to house temporary workers working on its massive Clean AER project. Theriault, however, said the application is a charade to hide Vale’s real plans of housing replacement workers during a future labour dispute.

“I’m very disappointed and very concerned about this. The timing of the application reeks of an opportunity to house workers around the date of our contract ending. That would definitely have a huge impact on our bargaining position,” Theriault said.

The collective bargaining agreement between the USW and Vale expires May 31, 2015.

Vale’s application seeks to allow workers to be housed on a number of Vale’s operating sites for up to three years.

The Brazil-based mining giant used replacement work-e rs during a bitter, almost year-long strike in 2009-10. It was the first time replacement workers had been used during a Local 6500 strike.

Vale’s application seeks to allow housing at the Nickel Refinery, Clarabelle Mill, Copper Cliff Smelter and Oxygen plant, Copper Cliff North Mine, Copper Cliff South Mine, Coleman Mine, Creighton Mine, Frood-Stobie Mine, Garson Mine, Totten Mine and Victor Mine.

The number of locations Vale is applying to rezone is a major point of contention with Theriault.

“With the company saying they need to house workers for their (Clean) AER project, it doesn’t really make sense when you look at their application. If it’s for the AER project why are they applying to house workers at the Nickel Refinery, at North Mine, at Coleman Mine or Victor Mine, where they would be hours away.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/11/07/union-wary-of-vale-move