The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
A joint team of three people each from KGHM and United Steelworkers Local 2020 is working to reduce the number of union members who will be laid off when Podolsky Mine ceases production March 29.
Poland-based KGHM posted a notice Wednesday at the mine, as required under the Employment Standards Act, that 70 hourly rated positions would be cut when the mine closes.
That doesn’t mean 70 union jobs will be lost, said Wess Dowsett, area co-ordinator and staff representative for USW.
Six jobs were saved Thursday when the committee met for the first time. It decided to retain at least half a dozen employees for a year and keep the mine located north of Capreol on care and maintenance.
“There is always the possibility the closure will be delayed again or it may reopen in the near future,” said Dowsett, so the company will maintain the mine so it can reopen in short order if need be.
The fact KGHM is putting Podolsky on care and maintenance gives the union hope it may return to production in the future.
The mine leased by KGHM from Vale is a marginal property whose ore grades are low, and it was expected production would cease there last year, said the union leader.
Dowsett said KGHM is taking “a very human approach” in handling the job reductions, rather than simply issuing 70 layoff notices.
Under that scenario, the grievances would “fly, case by case,” said Dowsett, and “we’d both be driving each other crazy while we fight over who should go and who shouldn’t go.”
Instead, a committee was struck to review the skill sets of the 70 positions being eliminated, with a view to relocating employees to KGHM’s other Sudbury operations at Levack and McCreedy mines. Just under 400 members belonging to USW Local 2020 work for KGHM in Sudbury.
The committee is scheduled to meet Friday and Monday, if necessary, by which time the company and the union should have a better idea of how many jobs will be cut.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/01/11/union-company-working-together