Brazilian and Canadian union leaders meet in Thompson: agree to support each other in bargaining



    THOMPSON, MB, Aug. 12 /CNW/ - Trade union representatives from across
Canada and from Brazil converged on Thompson Manitoba on August 12-13 to meet
with United Steelworkers union (USW) leaders from Local 6166, and offer their
support and encouragement for upcoming negotiations between Vale and Local
6166.
    "It is important for us to be here to personally offer our support to the
bargaining committee and members of Local 6166, and to make sure Vale
understands that the entire Steelworker family is 100 per cent behind our
brothers and sisters in Thompson," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for
Canada.
    "Brazilian Vale workers stand in solidarity with Steelworkers in
Thompson," said Eduardo Pinto, leader of the Sindicato dos Ferroviarios do
Maranhoa-MA, CNTT. "Today we have discussed ways in which Vale unions in
Canada and Brazil might support each other in our bargaining processes at
different Vale operations. We discussed ways in which we might support
negotiations in Thompson, and actions Brazilian unions might take to place
additional pressure on Vale management, depending on how negotiations proceed
here."
    "We understand the value of global union solidarity," said Jorge Campos
of the union Sindimina-RJ, CNTSM. "When we signed the Sudbury Accord: Building
Global Workers Power in 2007 we committed to 'support each other in the
collective bargaining process'. We stand by the commitment."
    The United Steelworkers and USW Local 6166 are hosting a group of 5
Brazilian trade union leaders representing workers employed by Vale in Brazil,
as well as Steelworkers representatives from Vale operations in Vosey's Bay,
Labrador, and from Port Colbourne and Sudbury in Ontario.
    "The Thompson meeting marks another milestone in the development of the
Steelworkers relationship with the Brazilian Vale Unions," said Steve Hunt,
Director of District 3, USW. "We again discovered that we have several issues
in common with our brothers and sisters in Brazil, including concerns around
compensation and the sharing of Vale's astronomical profits through profit
sharing programs, the environment and relationships with local communities,
and health and safety."
    "We discussed how we can take practical steps, despite differences in
language, cultural, and laws, to assist each other," said Wayne Fraser,
Director of District 6. "Canadian Steelworkers have developed some of the best
and most innovative health and safety programs in the mining industry in the
world, and we are looking at area as an area of joint work."
    "It is a real pleasure for Local 6166 to host Steelworkers in Thompson,"
said Les Ellsworth, president of USW 6166, "and it has been especially
interesting and valuable to learn about the strategies of Brazilian trade
union leaders in dealing with Vale management, and the way Brazilian unions
are building a union network inside of Brazil and how they are building
community support and involvement around issues of the environment and
balanced economic development.
    At some point in the future, after we get the kind of collective
agreement our members deserve, I'm looking to be part of a Steelworker
delegation to Brazil that would allow us to experience first hand how
Brazilian workers build workers power and deal with Vale on their home turf,"
Ellsworth said.

    Canada's most diverse union, the USW represents more than 280,000 men and
women working in every sector of the economy.





For further information:

For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada,
(416) 487-1571 or (416) 558-2510; Les Ellsworth, President USW Local 6166,
(204) 677-1705


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