Steelworkers Frustrated by IOC Failure

LABRADOR CITY, NL, May 25 2016 /CNW/ - Approximately 1,400 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5795 at the Rio-Tinto-owned Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) in Labrador City are increasingly frustrated by the company's lack of trust and respect after repeated efforts at goodwill have failed.

The District and International levels of the USW stand in solidarity with its members in Labrador City in their valiant efforts to improve relations with an intransigent employer.

The union and the company recently agreed on a letter of understanding on three main issues, but the company has not held up its side on reinstating laid-off members who had been replaced by contractors, and the union has turned to arbitration and the courts in order to have solutions respected. 

"Our members and our union have shown goodwill towards the employer and offered cooperation and compromise, only to find IOC turn tail on its promises," said Ron Thomas, President of USW Local 5795.

"The company preaches safety and looks for ways to discipline our members, but meanwhile turns a blind eye to fixing high dust conditions that affect the broader community," added Thomas.

"Our members have been trying to get their voices heard through the grievance procedure. But we have a backlog of 3,500 grievances. We are working with good faith to resolve these issues, but need a similar effort from the employer to do so. Our members need to see real progress on these grievances ahead of bargaining in 2018," said Thomas.

"Our members are partners in the IOC operations that have the potential to be a world-class operation," said Marty Warren, USW Atlantic Director. "I understand the frustration of our members. They have participated fully in numerous olive-branch processes, only to have the employer renege on its side of the bargain."

"Our global union federation, IndustriALL, has been working closely with global mining giant Rio Tinto on improving relations and working conditions with its worldwide workforce. We urge Rio Tinto and IndustriALL to witness the efforts our members have made at IOC in Labrador City, and note the employer's failure to reciprocate in kind," said Warren.

"The members of this local work hard and have repeatedly shown a willingness to cooperate and move forward. We call on the employer to walk the walk, not just the talk, and demonstrate its respect and goodwill towards our members," said Warren.

"Our members can be assured that they have the full backing and support of Steelworkers across Canada and internationally in their struggle for fairness," said Warren.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Ron Thomas, USW Local 5795 President, 709-280-0068,; Euclide Haché, USW Staff Representative, 709-280-0996,; Marty Warren, USW Atlantic Director, 416-243-8792; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221,


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