Striking Steelworkers accuse Iron Ore Company of Canada of abandoning negotiations

    LABRADOR CITY, NL, April 4 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW)
Ontario/Atlantic Director Wayne Fraser has accused Rio Tinto-owned Iron Ore
Company of Canada of wasting the union's time and putting further hardship on
workers by walking away from negotiations on Tuesday and making misleading
statements to the media.
    "This company is playing fast and loose with the truth and putting our
members' future livelihood at risk," said Fraser. "There has been no change
from the union's side in terms of the issues that still need to be addressed
through negotiations. For the company to simply walk away shows remarkable
disrespect to both the process and, more importantly, to the employees, who do
not take the decision to be on strike lightly."
    Fraser said the two sides are not far apart, as long as the company
commits to staying at the bargaining table and working on the issues, which
include recognition of seniority, ensuring that employees' benefits are not
capped and providing parity with other iron ore producers like Quebec Cartier
    "It isn't too much to ask to have IOC commit to contract language things
its negotiators have verbally committed to doing," said USW Local 5795
President George Kean. "If someone else is pulling the strings, then they
should be at the table. It's impossible to negotiate with a phantom,
especially one that keeps on vanishing when things get serious.
    "This fight is about recognizing the intrinsic value our members bring to
this operation. 2005 and 2006 broke all production records and our members
gave the company the biggest profit in its history."

    The USW represents more than 280,000 men and women working in every
sector of Canada's economy.

For further information:

For further information: Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792, (416) 577-4045;
George Kean (709) 944-5051, (709) 944-2255

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