"Vale certainly is deserving of this international recognition" - Steelworkers
TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Brazilian multinational Vale is a worthy recipient of the 2012 Public Eye People's Choice Award for the world's worst company, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.
The award was presented today in Davos, Switzerland, where corporate chieftains and political leaders are meeting for the annual World Economic Forum.
Nobel economics laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz presented the award on behalf of its organizers - the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland.
Stiglitz also called on multinational corporations to go "beyond the minimum required by the law to protect the environment, to treat workers with decency and fairness, not to exploit all the advantages that asymmetries in bargaining might afford."
"Vale certainly is a deserving recipient of this international recognition," said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director for Canada.
"In the short time since it ventured into Canada in 2006 with its takeover of Inco Ltd., Vale has provoked unprecedented labour disputes, attacked working standards, worsened labour relations, slashed jobs, and announced harmful plant closures," Neumann said.
"What's more, Vale's record in other parts of the world is even worse," he added.
More than 88,000 people around the world voted on the 2012 Public Eye award. The award competition is organized by the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland to choose the worst case of contempt for the environment and human rights.
"This vote demonstrates the increasing global awareness of Vale's terrible record of destroying communities and the environment while systematically violating workers' rights," said United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard.
Last December, the Ontario Labor Relations Board found that Vale committed unfair labor practices during a year-long strike in Sudbury. Last June, two workers died in Sudbury in a mining accident that is still under investigation.
Earlier, an Industrial Inquiry Commission appointed by the Newfoundland and Labrador government to investigate an 18-month strike at Voisey's Bay found that Vale's "behaviour demonstrates disrespect for the role of a bargaining agent."
Vale was nominated for the Public Eye award by Justice on the Rails, a Brazilian coalition of environmental and community groups.
"We owe a tremendous debt to our sisters and brothers in Brazil who continue to expose this company's destructive actions," Leo Gerard said.
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5950
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org