TIMMINS, ON, Sept. 13 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW) Ontario/Atlantic
Director Wayne Fraser said Thursday that a recent fatality at Xstrata-owned
Kidd Creek Mine is one reason for workers to seek union representation.
"The USW would be proud to represent the mineworkers at Kidd Creek," said
Fraser. "We are Canada's dominant mining industry union with 17,000 members
working in the mining sector, including more than 2,700 workers at eight
Xstrata operations across Canada.
"As well, we have over 1,500 members working at copper mines across
Canada, such as Highland Valley in BC. In Timmins, the 250 Dome Mine workers
are members of our union, as are thousands of mining employees in Sudbury at
CVRD-Inco operations, FNX/Dynatec and Xstrata Nickel."
Fraser said being a union member is not only about good wages, benefits,
pensions, and other monetary issues like bonuses.
"It's also about having a real voice, real rights, protection, and expert
representation at work. It's about getting rid of favouritism, and winning
real respect, dignity, fairness and equality for all employees."
Fraser said the USW's activism in health and safety has led to changes in
mine safety laws as well as to the Occupational Health and Safety Act,
including the right to refuse unsafe work.
"The Steelworkers' record on chasing down bad practices and making change
goes back decades," said Fraser. "Our strike over health and safety in the
1970s at Elliot Lake and our work with the Ham Royal Commission on Health and
Safety at Work led to the creation of the Health and Safety Act in the first
place. We have fought on behalf of injured workers and on behalf of those who
were denied compensation for diseases related to working in mines."
Fraser added that recent changes to the Criminal Code holding companies
and their executives criminally accountable for health and safety on the job
were the direct result of Steelworker activism and lobbying in the years
following the 1992 Westray Mine explosion.
"There isn't another workers' organization in this country that can match
the level of determination of our members to make their workplaces safe,
healthy and decent on every level," he said.
"Every worker, whether he or she works in a mine, an office, a factory or
anywhere else, will find a home in the Steelworkers' union. We want workers at
Kidd Creek to know that."
For further information:
For further information: Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792 or (416) 577-4045;
Myles Sullivan, (705) 365-0942