It's Time for both Steelworkers and Vale Inco to Say "No Pre-Conditions" and
Go Back to Bargaining Now

SUDBURY, ON, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Documents released today confirm Vale Inco's ongoing rejection of United Steelworkers' invitation to resume negotiations without pre-conditions.

The USW released direct correspondence with Vale Inco categorically demonstrating the union's commitment to return to bargaining without preconditions and to explore new ways to resolve the dispute.

In contrast, a reply from Vale Inco reaffirms the company's position that it will not return to the bargaining table without its preconditions of imposing concessions on workers and their communities.

"There has been a lot of finger-pointing, accusations and misinformation lately about who is truly committed to resolving this strike," said Wayne Fraser, the Steelworkers District Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

"These letters clearly show that we are ready and willing to kick-start negotiations and work with Vale to resolve our differences and ultimately reach an agreement that benefits workers, the company and the community," Fraser said.

The initial letter from Fraser was sent last week to Vale Inco President and Chief Executive Officer Tito Martins, extending an olive branch to the company and reiterating the union's willingness for renewed, open-minded bargaining.

The USW letter also expresses the union's disappointment with the company's ongoing position of no negotiations "until the Union was willing to concede to Vale's concessions."

"The Union does not underestimate the enormity of the challenge that is facing us; however, the only way to move forward is for the parties to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate an agreement," Fraser told Vale's Martins.

"We have a joint responsibility to Vale's employees, our members and our communities. Therefore, once again I request that Vale reconsider its position and return to the bargaining table so that we, hopefully, can explore a way forward."

The USW's letter also has been sent to Ontario Ministry of Labour Mediator Greg Long.

The Vale response states that, before negotiations can resume, the company "requires" the union to "accept fundamental changes" in pensions, bonuses and workplace rights.

"There can be no doubt about who is impeding a return to good-faith bargaining and an eventual end to this strike," said John Fera, President of USW Local 6500, which represents more than 3,000 striking workers in Sudbury.

"It's plain for everyone to see now," Fera said. "We are ready and willing to get back to the table, unconditionally, to explore options that could result in solutions. It's time for Vale Inco to show the same good faith, drop their posturing, stop dictating and start negotiating."

"Until Vale demonstrates a sincere desire to find a resolution to this strike, it only reinforces the views held in Canada and in countries around the world that it is attempting to impose an agenda that is damaging to working people and their communities," said USW International President Leo Gerard.

"Until Vale decides to treat them with respect, our Canadian working families and communities can count on the continued support of the USW and its many allies locally, nationally and from the global labour movement," Gerard said.

To view both the USW and the Vale Inco letters, visit FairDealNow.ca.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: John Fera, USW Local 6500, (705) 675-3381 x238, jfera@uswsudbury.ca; Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, (416) 577-4045, wfraser@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, (416) 544-5966, (416) 434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca


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