Kelly Strong leaving Vale [Sudbury] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – April 14, 2015)

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

Kelly Strong, Vale’s vice-president of Canada and UK operations, has tendered his resignation to the Brazil-based miner. Vale Sudbury spokeswoman Angie Robson said Tuesday afternoon that Strong has made a decision to leave the company May 1 to pursue another opportunity.

“After almost 14 years with our operations, Kelly has made substantial contributions in the areas of operations, employee engagement and safety, and we wish him all the best,” said Robson in an email.

Conor Spollen, director of Canada and UK Operations and Projects, will assume Strong’s responsibilities until a permanent replacement is chosen. Strong had developed a good working relationship with the union representing production and maintenance workers at Vale’s Sudbury operations.

Last Dec. 10, Strong and USW Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand held a news conference at the Steelworkers’ Hall to announce they were entering into negotiations for a new collective agreement. The current five-year contract, hammered out after a tense year-long strike from July 2009-July 2010, expires May 31.

Strong wasn’t directly involved in bargaining, but was influential in how negotiations were being conducted on the company side.

Representatives for USW Local 6500 were not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon because they were at the bargaining table.

Strong, a former president of the Ontario Mining Association, said in December that both parties felt “pretty good about working together. We do have our challenges … but we’re definitely motivated to have a different outcome for next year.”

Vale and USW bought advertising space in The Sudbury Star to publish a letter to the community about their new approach to bargaining.

“Our community is very important to both Vale and the United Steelworkers, and we understand the wider benefits to our city when we work together in a spirit of cooperation,” the parties said in the letter. 
”Our negotiating teams will be working very hard over the coming months to dedicate themselves to achieving the positive result that we all anticipate and hope for.”

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