Tag Archives | Bill Bradley

Mining Layoffs Affecting Smaller Sudbury Companies – by Bill Bradley

Date Published – Mar. 9, 2009

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

The mining layoffs at Vale Inco and Xstrata are making the headlines.

But the pain is also being felt by employees in smaller companies, said one laid off worker at Mansour Mining Inc.

Jeff Marsolais, a laid off worker at Mansour Mining, said he knew of up to 70 fellow employees that have been laid off.

“Vale Inco and Xstrata layoffs get all the headlines. But the smaller companies are cutting jobs too. We are getting cut. We have families and bills to pay too,” said Marsolais.

Laurentian University economist David Robinson said smaller companies are always at risk.

“There is no guarantee for anyone these days. But there are wonderful companies here that have survived the up and down cycles in the past. We certainly are on a roller coaster now though,” said Robinson.

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261 Vale Inco Sudbury Jobs Cut Locally, 900 Worldwide – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Two hundred sixty one of the 900 job cuts announced at Vale Inco Mar. 3 are in Sudbury. The rest are at the company’s operations worldwide.

The workforce reductions are mostly focused on corporate, management and business support operations, according to a Vale Inco press release. Vale Inco employs 14,000 people worldwide.

“We are cutting jobs across the board, but none in our production operations in Greater Sudbury,” said Cory McPhee, manager of corporate communications for Vale Inco.

Sixty-five members of Steelworkers 2020 office and technical workers are affected by the cuts, said McPhee. Local 6500 members are not impacted by the announcement, he said.

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Calls to Nationalize Nickel Industry During Xstrata Layoff Support Meeting – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

It was standing room only at the Quality Inn Tuesday night, when 350 people took part in an event organized by local federal and provincial NDP politicians for laid off Xstrata workers. The group listened to rhetorical speeches by everyone from NDP Leader Jack Layton to Mayor John Rodriguez to Dwight Harper, president of Mine Mill Local 598/CAW workers.

Some comments, such as Harper’s wish to nationalize nickel production, were reminders of bad community feelings during major layoffs in the late 1970s. At that time, both Falconbridge and Inco outraged workers by cutting thousands from both their workforces.

Last week, both Xstrata Nickel and the Conservative government of Stephen Harper were roundly condemned by local politicians and labour leaders for not living up to a three-year no layoff agreement. The agreement was signed in 2006 when Falconbridge was taken over by Swiss mining giant Xstrata.

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Sudbury Community Furious About Xstrata Layoffs – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Many Sudbury residents are furious that Xstrata Nickel laid off 686 workers Feb. 9 given an anti-layoff agreement the Swiss company signed in 2006 when it took over Falconbridge Ltd.

“In July 2006, the Minister of Industry allowed the Swiss-based Xstrata to buy-out Canadian based Falconbridge, on the condition that Canadian jobs would be protected for three years,” said Sudbury New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault, in a release.

“This (announcement of layoffs) is cold comfort to the 700 Canadians who have lost these so-called protected jobs,” said Nickel Belt New Democrat MP Claude Gravelle.

Both federal politicians said there is still time for the federal government to say no to the job cuts.

In an Xstrata release dated July 25, 2006, it is stated, “to demonstrate net benefit to Canada in order to obtain the approval under the Investment Canada Act, Xstrata has provided to the minister several important commitments in respect of Falconbridges’s operations and employees in Canada.”

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Rumours About Possible Mining Shutdown Circulating in Sudbury – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Rumours have been circulating in the city about the possible shutdown of major mining operations in the city.

At the present time, Northern Life has been unable to substantiate any shutdown by Vale Inco or Xstrata.

One rumour has it that Vale Inco will make an announcement next week about a four month shutdown starting March 1, 2009. The action would be for infrastructure improvements and repairs to key parts of the operation.

Angie Robson, manager of external relations for Vale Inco, said Friday the rumour has no basis in fact and is idle speculation.

“Our company has a policy that we do not comment on rumour or speculation,” said Robson.

John Fera, Local 6500 Steelworkers president, disputes the rumours, saying his sources told him Thursday night no shutdown was forthcoming at Vale Inco. He confirmed that for Northern Life Friday morning, after calling his source.
 
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Year In Review – Sudbury’s Economy: Boom to Bust? – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Greater Sudbury’s economy went from boom town status in 2008 to layoffs and growing fear in the community. Mining executives like Xstrata’s Mike Romaniuk, and Vale Inco’s Fred Stanford had been bullish on the future. “The world simply can’t get enough nickel,” said Stanford Feb. 6th at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

But by the early fall, a stock market crash started a series of layoffs in local mining companies and service and supply companies. Retired miner, Laurie Chartrand, 63, from Chelmsford, said he was down $25,000 from the stock market crash and knew some who had lost $200,000. He had a novel idea.

“We need the government to start a voucher system for those who have lost money like myself so we would have the ability to buy the cars that use our metals,” said Chartrand.

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Sudbury’s Copper Cliff South Mine Suspending Production – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Greater Sudbury’s economy will now be further affected by the growing world economic crisis.

In early November, Xstrata Nickel announced it will cease operations at Craig and Thayer-Lindsay nickel mines, affecting 250 employees. Early retirement options are being pursued by the company and union.

Now the city’s largest employer, Vale Inco, with over 5,000 employees, is stopping production at one mine and mothballing a development project due to slumping prices and demand, said Vale Inco spokespersons Thursday.

Vale Inco announced production cutbacks at its Greater Sudbury operations Thursday morning.

However, for now, the shutdown of the Copper Cliff South Mine and the one year postponement of the Copper Cliff Deep project will not involve layoffs of any Vale Inco employees, said Cory McPhee, director, Vale Inco communications and public affairs.

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Sudbury Basin Mining Cluster Still Awash With Opportunities – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Times may not be as bad as they may seem for the mining cluster, said participants at a mining cluster meeting Wednesday morning at the Howard Johnson Hotel on Brady Street.

The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) was holding its annual general meeting. Association members employ an estimated 15,000 workers locally.

Though executive director Dick DeStefano has admitted several hundred layoffs have occurred, in general, the mining cluster remains healthy.

Access to financing, a key component of business health, still remains viable so far.

Denis Goupil, associate director of northern Ontario operations of Roynat Capital, said while the chartered banks may be tightening up their lending practices in the short term, other long term finance companies like his organization and the Business Development Bank, have a longer outlook.

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Vale Inco’s New Invoicing System Causing Some Layoffs in Sudbury Supply Sector – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca (This artilce was originally published on November 12, 2008)

Some Greater Sudbury businesses are having trouble getting paid by Vale Inco.

It is not because Vale Inco is broke, but because of a new invoicing system that is being implemented by the company, said small businesses in Lively and Vale Inco itself.

Harry Sheppard, owner of Home Hardware in Lively, said Tuesday morning that some smaller business customers cannot pay him for what they have purchased because they in turn have not been paid by Vale Inco.

“I do not have much business with Vale Inco myself. However, it is affecting a dozen businesses in the Walden area that deal with my store. They say they will pay me when Vale Inco pays them,” said Sheppard.

“These business customers of mine are good customers so the fault does not lie with them.”

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Sudbury Soil Study – Did it Short-Circuit the Community Process? – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

There is an old saying around farmyards. Don’t be surprised if, when you go to get the horses, you find the barn door was left open and the horses have stampeded out the door. This seems to be the case with the Sudbury Soils Study, according to its critics.

Why is it that the original terms of reference did not include the influence of metal contamination on area mining workers, including contractors? It would seem obvious that these workers face a double whammy of workplace exposure and environmental exposure, especially if they live near the old smelter sites at Copper Cliff, Gatchell, Falconbridge and Coniston.

This would mean that Ontario government representation would have to include the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on the technical committee (TC), which is responsible for the whole process.

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Sudbury Soils Study Continues to be Criticized – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

The Sudbury Soils Study is continuing to raise criticisms in the community. The date for public comment ended Saturday, Nov. 1. A number of community food activists and local farmers were told Thursday by Mississauga toxicologist Glenn Ferguson that local vegetables and fruit grown in backyards or from commercial operations are safe. Ferguson is a scientist who worked for the SARA Group managing the Human Health Risk Assessment work for the Sudbury Soils Study. He said the critics may have found high levels of metals in some soil samples in the SARA data but what really matters is what turns up in the food itself.

“It’s like apples and oranges. You cannot compare values in soil with values in the produce itself. People eat the produce, not the soil,” said Ferguson. “We still cannot contact the physician who wrote the critique for the citizens so at this point we do not know what values he is referring to.”

Ferguson has a Ph.D. in health sciences at the University of Waterloo specializing in the validation of toxicology risk assessment models and techniques. He has more than 14 years experience in the field of toxicology, human health and ecological risk assessment. He is considered a Qualified Person for Risk Assessment (QPRA) as defined by the Ontario Protection Act of Ontario legislation.

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Vale Inco’s Emissions Plan Does Not Impress Sudbury Residents – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Vale Inco is asking the Ontario government for relief on its nickel emissions levels.

But that did not sit well with some residents at a public information meeting at the Italian Club Thursday night.

The event was hosted by the company to inform residents about how they project having difficulty meeting Regulation 419, established by the Ontario government in 2005.

“Through the regulation, the province has set newer or more stringent air quality standards,” said Ed Cocchiarella, manager of the environment, Ontario Operations of Vale Inco.

“Our measured results at monitoring stations around the perimeter of the smelter complex show we are in compliance with the standard on nickel approximately 98 per cent of the time,” said Cocchiarella.

That is because the company has embarked on an ambitious emissions reduction program over the years, resulting in a 90 per cent reduction in SO2 emissions since 1970.

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Dr. Chris Wren – Sudbury Soil Study Author Counters Critics – Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

The SARA Group, responsible for the Sudbury Soils Study, has hit back against its critics. www.sudburysoilsstudy.com

Last week, a group, calling itself the Community Committee on the Sudbury Soils Study, released a report by Dr. Kapil Khatter at Tom Davies Square. It was prepared by a nationally known pollution watchdog, Environmental Defence Canada. It stated the Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) report of the Sudbury Soils Study “cannot demonstrate there is no harm occurring, it can only estimate level of risk.”

That means the public remains uninformed about lead contamination, air levels of nickel, ingested arsenic from soils and the additional level of exposure mining workers face when they leave the workplace, said Rick Grylls, president of Mine Mill CAW Local 598 and a member of the group. Both Mine Mill CAW Local 598 and John Fera, president of Steelworkers Local 6500 have joined retired health and safety activist Homer Seguin, along with professors and health activists, to push for more government action on soil and water contamination from 100 years of mining.

According to Environmental Defence, Khatter is a family physician and environmental and health expert.

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Fighting the Good Fight for Sudbury Labour Unions, Safety and Dignity: The Homer Seguin Story – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Homer Sequin, now retired, but health and safety advocate for the past 50 years, has published his life story.

Entitled Fighting For Justice And Dignity: The Homer Seguin Story chronicles his life from the age of 16, when he started with Inco at the Sintering Plant in Copper Cliff, to his retirement in 1992.

The book is 173 pages, with 40 pictures and is self-published. Journal Printing printed the copies on recycled paper using union labour, said Seguin last Wednesday. Some of the pictures have never been viewed before.

“It chronicles the rise of the whole union movement here and my activity from being a steward on the safety committee to a union trustee in 1963, to vice-president of Local 6500 in 1965, to president in 1967,” said Seguin.

The book is hard-hitting. Seguin had to leave school early to help his mother make ends meet when his 39-year-old father drowned in 1950. At that time Inco did not pay a survivor’s pension, meaning a person had to be alive to receive a pension.

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Mineral Resource Sharing Needs to be Addressed in the Canadian Federal Election – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Campaigning federal politicians are getting an earful from city residents.

As they canvas door-to-door, they are hearing similar complaints from the electorate — poor roads, lack
of health care facilities and services for themselves and their loved ones, lack of affordable housing, and high gas prices.

City councillors hear the same concerns every day.

Behind all these complaints lies an unfortunate truth — northern Ontario is not getting its fair share of resource revenues. Northern Life in this election has been alerting candidates to a report entitled A Refined Argument: Report of the Advisory Panel On Municipal Mining Revenue presented to and adopted by city council February 27.

Prepared by a citizens committee, chaired by retired former Inco vice-president Jose Bianco, the report presents some stark facts. On page 29, in a graph entitled Growth in Tax Revenue Generated By The Ontario Mining Industry in Ontario (2001 to 2005), is shown the following: federal revenues from the mining sector increased 77.6 per cent, and provincial revenues from the mining sector increased 109.8 per cent.

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