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March 22, 2010 - No. 59

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!

All Out to Support Striking Vale Inco Workers!
Fair Deal Now!

Sudbury, January 13, 2010: Vale Inco workers and their supporters hold
mass demonstration to mark six months on strike.

Bridging the Gap Rally

Monday, March 22 -- 4:30-8:30 pm

USW Local 6500 Hall, 66 Brady Street
Organized by: USW Local 6500
For information: Jamie West, usw@uswsudbury.ca

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
• All Out to Support Striking Vale Inco Workers! Fair Deal Now! - Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L)

Vale Strike News
On Monday, Let's All Join the March to Bridge the Gap!
Vale Knows Where We Stand; Now Will It Come to Its Senses?
Brazilian Labour Court Fines Vale $300 Million

No to the Siemens Turbine Shutdown! Keep Siemens Hamilton Producing!

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!

All Out to Support Striking Vale Inco Workers!
Fair Deal Now!

Today the Vale Inco strike has become the longest strike in the 124-year history of nickel mining in Sudbury. It surpasses the 8 and a half month mark set in 1978-79, which was the longest strike in Canadian history in terms of person days of production lost. Today's Bridging the Gap Rally hails that fighting spirit of resistance embodied by the striking Vale Inco workers. The Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L) sends the striking USW Local 6500 Vale Inco workers, their families and the community militant congratulations and support.

Striking Vale Inco workers come to this historic juncture more united and determined than ever, having soundly trounced Vale's insulting "final offer" just two weeks ago with an 88.7 percent rejection in Sudbury and a 98.1 percent rejection in Port Colborne. It's time for Vale Inco to give up its demands for concessions and reach a Fair Deal Now!

Today's rally is about the workers, women and youth of Sudbury showing their support for the striking USW Local 6500 workers, their families and their just demands -- no concessions, a continuation of the terms of the previous contract and for all the striking workers to be returned to their jobs. It has the support of workers nationwide who through their own struggles and resistance are opposing the "right" of monopolies to wreck the nation. The OFL, USW, CEP, CUPE, the Society of Energy Professionals, just to name a few, have all organized buses for Sudbury. This shows that the Vale Inco strike is of significance to the entire working class and people.

Vale Inco insists striking workers will have to accept a settlement that contains no back to work protocol whatsoever. As well, Vale Inco's President and CEO Tito Martins says the company will never rehire the 10 workers fired thus far in this strike. It insists on using scabs with impunity. It lays off production workers with no regard for its obligations under Canadian law. It claims the right to control and use our natural resources and cherry pick the high grade ore bodies much as Xstrata is already doing. This is unacceptable and must not pass!

Instead of settling with the workers, Tito Martins says this strike is continuing because the workers are "clinging" to expectations and labour arrangements from the past and have been taken in by "racist xenophobia." The "sustainable future" he wants for workers is one in which Vale Inco will decide their fate, by virtue of  its control of our resources and productive assets, as a matter of monopoly right. He thinks workers need dictionary definitions of xenophobia to know who is racist. What part of NO does Martins not understand? NO means NO. Workers produce society's wealth and have first claim on it so as to have a dignified life, including in retirement.

From the outset, this strike has been about resistance to Vale Inco's demand for concessions and global monopolies seizing control of our resources and productive assets and making decisions based solely on their own narrow considerations. It is also about resistance to a government that is unrepresentative of the workers and people and which upholds monopoly right over the public right and public interest.

All Out to Support the Vale Inco Workers!
Fair Deal Now!
One Day Longer, One Day Stronger!
All for One, One For All!

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Vale Strike News

On Monday, Let's All Join the
March to Bridge the Gap!

Union members, their families and supporters from around the world are meeting at 66 Brady Street at 4:30 on Monday to join in a 20 minute march to the Bridge of Nations where a rally will take place in conjunction with the meeting that will include some 20 leaders of unions representing Vale workers outside North America.

It's important for us to show strong support for our strike, so make a commitment to be there. It's scheduled after school, so bring the family -- there's no excuse for missing this one. There may be a few snowflakes, so wear your coats.

International President Leo Gerard, USW National Director Ken Neumann, D-6 Director Wayne Fraser, labour leaders from around the world and Mayor John Rodriguez are among the many participants who will be there to show support for the strike. Several bus loads of supporters are also expected from down south.

After a short rally at the bridge, we will march back to the union hall for hot dogs, hamburgers, salad and soft drinks. Make it a family affair. Join us!

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Vale Knows Where We Stand;
Now Will It Come to Its Senses?

Following the overwhelming rejection of Vale's pitiful contract offer last week, it's time for the company to fall back, regroup and come back to the table with a new attitude -- that is, a commitment to resolve the stalemate in a way that returns all of its experienced employees back to their jobs so that the operations can resume and be profitable again.

Steve Ball's foolhardy threat over the weekend to ramp up production using scabs will only delay the inevitable -- a final resolution that comes when a new labour agreement is ratified. Vale would be wise not to implement the strategy. Scab labour is usually paid higher wages than permanent employees but never has the skills or experience to match the people replaced. It's an enormous waste of money that could be used to help pay for a settlement.

Now is the time for Vale to accept the union's offer of binding arbitration. The offer to return to work under the terms of the previous agreement was made during negotiations and rejected. That was before the overwhelming secret ballot vote by the rank and file to reject Vale's miserable offer. The company has to understand that after eight months, the membership is standing firm. Proud Canadian union members will never surrender what has taken generations to build.

Vale says it will not have a settlement dictated by a third party. Workers say that they will not accept a contract that is dictated by Vale. The parameters of arbitration can be worked out at the table. Impartial arbitrators have been used successfully in North America for decades to resolve differences between management and labour. Vale must live up to the standards of established labour relations with respect to Canadian culture and traditions.

It's time to get the facilities back in full production. Vale wants profits. Workers want to get back to work. The union wants Vale to call every union member back to the job, LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND, while an impartial arbitrator hears the case and renders a decision. If Vale agrees to binding arbitration and all union issues are addressed, the strike will end. But first, the company must agree to return every union member to their rightful job, including the ones who were discharged.

If Vale wants a fair settlement with its workers in Canada, following this simple outline will achieve that.

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Brazilian Labour Court Fines Vale $300 Million

The First Labour Court of Parauapebas, Brazil has ordered Vale (PA) to pay $100 million in punitive damages and $200 million for what it calls "social dumping" in a case involving how some contractor employees were unfairly denied pay while in transit to job sites.

The court found that Vale prevented contractors from registering the workers on cost spreadsheets for payment of hours that workers spent being transported to their job assignments.

More than 30 companies providing services to Vale were ordered to calculate the hours and pay owed to workers, who spent up to 99 hours per month to reach the workplace, according to the decision by Judge Jonathan Andrade. He described "social dumping" as the practice of the "reduction of production costs by the elimination of labor rights."

The $100 million that Vale is ordered to pay in damages will be paid to the communities harmed, "by projects derived from public policy to defend and promote human rights of workers," according to the sentence. The $200 million for "social dumping" will be paid to the Worker Support Fund (FAT) according to the judge.

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No to the Siemens Turbine Shutdown!
Keep Siemens Hamilton Producing!

On March 18, close to 300 workers rallied at the main entrance of Siemens Power Generation in Hamilton to protest the decision of the German monopoly to close the turbine plant by July 2011 and move production to Charlotte, North Carolina. The closure would mean the loss of more than 550 direct jobs at the plant and about 3,000 more at companies providing supplies and services to the facility. The Siemens workers, members of CAW Local 504, were joined at the rally by workers of other CAW locals from Guelph, Oakville, Thorold and other cities and a large contingent from USW Local 1005 which represents the workers at U.S. Steel Hamilton Works. With a united voice, participants denounced Siemens' decision as an attack against the workers and the nation. They demanded that both the federal and the Ontario governments intervene to force Siemens to reverse its decision. Speakers at the rally included President of CAW Local 504 Randy Smith, Hamilton City Councillor Scott Duvall, President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council Mary Long and CAW National President Ken Lewenza. On behalf of CAW, Lewenza pledged to put the full weight of the union behind the struggle to keep Siemens Hamilton producing and to oppose the destruction of Canada's manufacturing base.

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