SUDBURY, ON, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The reinstatement of an unjustly
fired employee represents another victory for United Steelworkers (USW)
Local 6500 in its fight against mining giant Vale's blatant disregard
for workers' rights.
Ron Breault is the second USW member to be reinstated to his job
following an arbitrator's ruling of unjust dismissal by Vale during a
year-long strike that ended in 2010.
The provincial arbitrator's ruling, released today, has reinstated
Breault and ordered Vale to compensate him for 19 months of back pay.
"Once again we have been vindicated in our view that Vale overreacted
and was wrong to fire these workers during the strike," said Local 6500
President Rick Bertrand.
"It is another of a long list of examples of Vale's blatant disregard
for workers' rights, for our laws and for our labour relations
traditions and culture," Bertrand said.
Bertrand noted the two arbitration awards won by Local 6500 stem from a
landmark ruling earlier this year by the Ontario Labour Relations
Board, prompted by Vale's attempt to block the standard grievance and
arbitration process for dismissals.
The labour board, citing "troubling" behaviour by Vale, ruled the
company engaged in "patently unreasonable" conduct and violated
provincial labour law with respect to the fired Sudbury workers.
"This is another victory for our union, for our members and their
families who have been adversely affected by Vale's conduct, " Bertrand
Meanwhile, the arbitration process is expected to continue into the new
year with respect to Vale's firing of four other USW members during the
"From the outset, after the labour board ruled against Vale's unlawful
behaviour, we urged the company to do the right thing and reinstate
these workers while the arbitration process ran its course," Bertrand
"Instead, Vale opted to continue its pattern of disregard for workers,
keeping the affected workers and their families in limbo for more than
In addition to the fired workers' case, Vale's record since it took over
Inco Ltd. has included:
Provoking unprecedented labour disputes, including the use of
replacement workers for the first time in the history of the former
Cutting hundreds of jobs at the former Inco operations;
A ruling by the OLRB that Vale committed unfair labor practices by
unlawfully denying a union representative access to company workplaces;
A finding by a provincial Industrial Inquiry Commission in Newfoundland
and Labrador that Vale's "behaviour demonstrates disrespect for the
role of a bargaining agent;"
Following the deaths of Sudbury miners Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier in
2011, the company refused to co-operate with the union on a joint
investigation into the tragedy;
A ruling by the OLRB that Vale inappropriately interfered with the
union's work by removing members from a union committee investigating
the 2011 mining fatalities;
Vale has been charged with several violations of the Occupational Health
and Safety Act in connection with the 2011 fatalities.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Rick Bertrand, USW Local 6500 President, 705-675-3381.