Vale Letter Opts for Mischief and Misrepresentation Rather than Unconditional

Steelworkers Call for Immediate, Unconditional Return to Negotiations

SUDBURY, ON, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - In a letter released today, Vale Inco has attempted to cause mischief and confusion in the five month-old strike at the Canadian operations.

Vale's letter suggests it is not yet prepared to abandon its campaign of misrepresentation, intimidation and provocation and finally accept that the company and union ultimately have to sit down and talk, with no preconditions.

"The union's good-faith position - no preconditions for a return to bargaining - has been made clear to the company and to a provincial mediator," said USW Local 6500 President John Fera.

"We are publicly reiterating our position today because Vale's letter attempts to misrepresent our willingness to resume meaningful discussions," Fera said.

"We are ready and willing to get back to the bargaining today, unconditionally. Given the impact this dispute is having on our working families and our community as a whole, it is incumbent on the union and the company to drop all preconditions and start talking to each other again.

"Unfortunately, Vale Inco continues to stick by its preconditions and its argument that it needs concessions to maintain its 'sustainability,' when its demands such as cutting the nickel bonus do not affect its sustainability whatsoever. Vale had to win a bidding war to purchase this profitable company. Inco made profits each year with nickel prices lower than today's. Vale has reaped huge profits under the current contract. No one can say Sudbury's rich nickel mines are not sustainable."

The Vale letter also states that, if a new collective agreement is not reached, the company will "move forward with the business and create the long-term future that will benefit us all."

"This statement is another, not-so-subtle attempt to try and intimidate and provoke our members and the community and create unnecessary anxiety for working families and our community," said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President.

"We are all aware of Vale's unprecedented attempts to recruit scabs to try to resume operations during the strike," Gerard said.

"Our community deserves better than intimidation, provocation and deception. Vale must show the same good faith and responsibility being pledged by the Steelworkers - we must start negotiating again, without preconditions."

The Vale Inco letter also takes issue with the USW's immensely successful, global solidarity campaign, which has shone an international spotlight on Vale's labour relations, environmental and corporate accountability record around the world including our communities.

"Instead of whining and complaining that their image is being tarnished and its Canadian workers are receiving unprecedented support around the world, Vale should turn its attention to resolving this strike," Gerard said.

"There has never been an unwillingness to bargain on our part," noted Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director.

"Given the economic times, we came to the table willing to bargain and to explore options that could help the company and workers alike, Fraser said. "We demonstrated good faith by offering to extend our old contract for another year while pursuing a fair deal. Five months into this strike, we are still ready to negotiate."

For updates and information on the USW Vale Inco strike, visit

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: John Fera, USW Local 6500, (705) 675-3381x238,; Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, (416) 577-4045,; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, (416) 544-5966, (416) 434-2221,

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