Building a New Globalized and Diversified Labour Movement for the 21st Century – Leo W. Gerard, International President – United Steelworkers

Union representation in the 21st century is evolving and changing. And the United Steelworkers union is at the forefront of a ‘New Labour Movement.’

The last century was characterized by large-scale industrial organizing in industries that employed thousands of people in a single workplace. There are few of these concentrations of workers left in today’s decentralized, yet global, economy. Those that are left are mostly already unionized.

In Sudbury, there are still two such large groups of workers. For them, the biggest change in the nickel-mining industry has been the takeover of Canadian companies by large foreign-based corporations.

The new Brazilian-owned Vale-Inco has yet to be tested in collective bargaining with our union — in Sudbury, at least. But, at the time of writing this, members of USW Local 6166 in Thompson, MB, were in negotiations with Vale-Inco over familiar issues, such as pensions, wages, control over contracting out and health and safety. They are also working to protect the nickel price bonus, negotiated by the union in both Thompson and Sudbury, more than a decade ago and protected in every set of negotiations since.

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Global Solidarity for Unions: A Vision That Works – by Patrick Veinot

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Patrick Veinot’s article.

(Re: editorial written by Michael Atkins,Chickens coming home to roost with Inco Contract,July 15 edition of Northern Life)

Thank you Michael Atkins for the opportunity to clarify some of the differences between organizations. As well as correct some of your opinions on the leverage or the strength of USW Local 6500, when bargaining with, or as you would so have it, against Vale Brazil.

Let me begin by saying that the CAW is a National Union, run from the top down, focused largely on the Canadian Auto Industry. This is manufacturing, not mining, and since NAFTA the manufacturing Industry has, not surprisingly, been in trouble.

While their leadership continues to negotiate higher wages it could be said to be true, that almost in parallel they have been forced to negotiate lay-offs, often forming awkward relationships with unfriendly politicians for taxpayer subsidies.

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