Media Advisory - Ontario Labour Board Forces Vale to Justify Position in
Strikers Dismissal Action

TORONTO, July 12 /CNW/ - In a decision on Friday afternoon (July 9th) the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has directed the parties to a Labour Relations Board hearing Tuesday morning (July 13th) at 9 am to deal on an expedited basis with the USW's allegation about Vale's "refusal to agree to any reinstatement process" in the round of collective bargaining that ended last week, bringing to an end the longest strike in Vale's history at its Sudbury and Port Colborne operations.

The Board will hear legal argument on Vale's alleged breach of Section 17 of the Ontario Labour Relations Act whereby each party in a labour dispute must not only bargain in good faith but must also "make every reasonable effort to make a collective agreement" -- a clause of the Ontario Labour Relations Act that some have referred to as the "sincere-effort clause."

The Board's ruling came at the end of the scheduled OLRB hearing on Friday (July 9th) regarding the nine striking union members who were fired by Vale during the nearly year-long strike. "The board has determined that Vale's refusal to consider any form of arbitration can be considered on the basis of uncontroverted facts which permit the matter to be argued on the law very quickly," explained Toronto labour lawyer Brian Shell, lawyer for the United Steelworkers.

"The insistence by the Board may signal a determination to finally deal with this matter," said Myles Sullivan, USW Staff Representative.

The issue of the dismissal of the nine strikers is the last remaining issue of the long and bitter strike against Vale by the United Steelworkers in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario. A collective agreement was negotiated and ratified by membership votes on Thursday, July 8th. The vote was able to proceed because an agreement was reached to allow the issue of the dismissed workers to go to the OLRB without prejudicing the USW case before the Board.

"We are pleased the Labour Board will hear our arguments tomorrow. We will be directing the Board to important Canadian Charter principles, and to developments at the Supreme Court to support our position that it is illegal to insist to impasse that workers fired during a strike cannot access arbitration," said Mr. Shell. "We do not accept that in our society a worker can be fired for whatever reason a struck employer considers appropriate, and have no recourse to arbitration. Striking is not the same as placing your job on the line," said Mr. Shell.

    
    WHAT      Ontario Labour Board Hearing of Vale's Argument to Refuse
              Arbitration

    WHO       Vale (formerly Vale Inco) and United Steelworkers

    WHEN      Tuesday, July 13th, 9:00 am

    WHERE     Ontario Labour Relations Board, 505 University Ave, 2nd floor
    

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: Brian Shell, Lawyer for United Steelworkers, 416-539-0226 ext 201, brian@shelllawyers.ca; Myles Sullivan, USW Local 6500 Staff rep, 705-675-2461 x224, msullivan@usw.ca


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