Letter sent to the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Organizing Committee.pdf
Dragon Boat Team Withdraws in Protest
BURNABY, BC, June 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The reprehensible labour practices of
Rio Tinto are tainting the upcoming Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat
Festival in Vancouver, the United Steelworkers (USW), Canadian Auto
Workers (CAW), and BC Federation of Labour said in a letter sent to the
organizing committee today.
Rio Tinto has locked out 780 workers in Alma, Quebec, because they have
resisted attempts by the profitable corporation to replace retiring
unionized workers with subcontractors earning half their wages and no
The USW, which represents the Alma workers, say Rio Tinto's role as a
title sponsor of the Dragon Boat Festival distracts from the
sportsmanship and teamwork of dragon boat teams that wow families from
across the Lower Mainland.
"Workers in Alma aren't just fighting for their own wages and benefits,
but also to maintain the good jobs that have built their community and
raised families. Rio Tinto is trying to reduce an entire community's
standard of living," said Stephen Hunt, Western Canadian Director for
Rio Tinto is attempting the same attacks on CAW Local 2301 members who
work at Rio Tinto's aluminum smelter in Kitimat, B.C., said Susan
Spratt, CAW Area Director.
"It's critical that we stand together to highlight the mean-spirited
attacks of a very profitable company," said Spratt.
A team has already withdrawn from the Dragon Boat Festival because of
Rio Tinto's actions. The Mavericks Dragon Boat Team from Harrison, B.C.
said in a letter to the organizing committee that Rio Tinto is engaging
in "an assault on both the workers' rights and on the living standards
of their families."
"A dragon boat festival is the last group that should be supporting Rio
Tinto in its race to the bottom," said BC Federation of Labour
President Jim Sinclair. "Good corporate citizens create family
supporting jobs with our resources. They don't take them away as Rio
Tinto is attempting to do."
Members of the USW, CAW and BC Federation of Labour plan to provide
information about Rio Tinto's actions to attendees of the Rio Tinto
Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.
More information about Rio Tinto's record at Alma is available at www.offthepodium.org and www.justiceforriotintoworkers.ca.
Attached is a copy of the letter sent to the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat
Festival Organizing Committee.
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/06/13/20120613_C8699_DOC_EN_15137.pdf
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Brad West, USW Communications