TORONTO, April 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Representatives of Vale SA's Canadian workers will join Brazilian workers and community organizations at Vale's annual shareholders meeting April 18 to denounce the global mining giant's abuses of workers' rights.
"We want shareholders to understand the extent of Vale's violations of workers' rights and how this damages the company's reputation and undermines its operations," says Wayne Fraser, Ontario and Atlantic Canada Director of the United Steelworkers (USW) union.
"We will make the case to that Vale must dramatically improve its labour relations and stop the abuse of power that has harmed working families and communities in multiple countries," says Myles Sullivan, one of the USW representatives who will attend the Vale shareholders meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
The USW represents thousands of Vale workers in Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador. USW members will join representatives of Vale workers and non-governmental organizations from Brazil who also will attend the shareholders meeting.
The litany of facts the USW will present to Vale shareholders includes:
- Four deaths at Vale's Canadian operations in a seven-month period;
- A landmark investigation by the USW into the deaths of two miners has revealed that Vale repeatedly ignored or neglected the safety issues that caused the miners' deaths. The USW has called on the government to consider criminal charges against Vale (more information, www.usw.ca/valefatalities);
- Vale was found to have violated Ontario law with regard to the firings of nine workers during a historic labour dispute provoked by the company (http://www.usw.ca/media/news/releases?id=0738);
- In a separate case, Vale also was found to have violated Ontario law by engaging in "substantial interference" in a labour union's legal right to represent workers (http://www.usw.ca/media/news/releases?id=0714);
- In a vote by more than 88,000 people around the world, Vale received the 2012 Public Eye award as the global corporation demonstrating the worst case of contempt for the environment and human rights. (http://www.usw.ca/media/news/releases?id=0728);
- Vale provoked historic, unprecedented labour disputes at its operations in three Canadian communities.
- An Industrial Inquiry Commission of the Newfoundland and Labrador government that investigated an 18-month labour dispute at Vale operations found that Vale's "behaviour demonstrates disrespect for the role of a bargaining agent."
- Vale was ordered to pay Sudbury miners almost $1 million in back wages because if failed to respect its collective agreement with the union.
"Vale shareholders should join workers and NGOs and demand that this corporation respects workers' and human rights, and builds positive relationships with unions and communities," says Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.
For further information:
Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Representative, 412-298-5612;
Carolyn Kazdin, USW International Representative, 412-298-5612;
Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792;
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5950.