Steelworkers, Vale looking forward with new contract in hand – by Colleen Romaniuk (Sudbury Star – August 4, 2021)

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6500 voted to ratify a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with Vale on Tuesday evening. The union’s president, Nick Larochelle, said that 85 per cent of its membership voted in favour of the new deal, effectively ending the 64-day strike that began on June 1.

Vale employees will return to work the week of Aug. 9 with production ramping up in the coming weeks. Larochelle said he’s proud the USW membership’s conduct throughout the strike and he’s happy this agreement works for both parties.

“We’re looking forward to making our members successful as we work with Vale to achieve economic success and longevity here in this world-class ore body,” he said.

“This ore body’s composition is well known and we’re looking forward to working with Vale to make it productive well into the future.” The local’s members hit the picket lines earlier this summer after rejecting a tentative agreement endorsed by USW’s bargaining committee, arguing that it contained concessions.

The rejected deal proposed a four per cent wage increase over a five-year period and the removal of retiree health benefits for all new hires in addition to ending over-the-counter pharmaceutical and hospital service coverage.

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