End strike at Voisey's Bay now, premier says

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Politics/Labour Opposition parties blame province for dragging its feet on 'anti-scab' laws

Premier Danny Williams and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty are calling for Vale and the United Steel Workers' (USW) to "resolve their differences immediately" and end ongoing strikes in both provinces.

According to a news release Friday, the provincial leaders held a conference call this week to discuss the ongoing labour disputes.

Premier Danny Williams

Premier Danny Williams and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty are calling for Vale and the United Steel Workers' (USW) to "resolve their differences immediately" and end ongoing strikes in both provinces.

According to a news release Friday, the provincial leaders held a conference call this week to discuss the ongoing labour disputes.

The Voisey's Bay strike in Labrador began in August 2009, while the strike in Sudbury, Ont., began a month earlier.

There are 200 or so workers from Voisey's Bay and more than 3,000 employees affected in both Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ont., by the strikes.

"I am extremely concerned with the impact these strikes are having on the women and men employed by Vale Inco and their families during these frustrating labour disputes," Williams stated in the release. "Both strikes have gone on far too long, and the impacts are truly devastating and can be felt throughout the communities involved. It is time for both parties to reach a fair deal for those involved so that the hard-working employees can finally return to work and resume their lives."

The release also states the province has been monitoring the situation while the Labour Relations Agency in this province "has continually provided conciliatory services to the parties involved."

Thursday, Vale announced it was dropping Inco from its name, just hours after it announced talks would resume to end the strike June 4.

The name change removes a reference to the Canadian mining giant acquired four years ago by the current Brazilian owner for $19 billion.

According to a Vale spokesman, the June 4 date only refers to negotiations in Ontario.

"Where our Voisey's Bay operations are concerned, the most recent series of meetings with the USW and conciliation officers from the provincial government took place ... on May 25 and 26," Cory McPhee said in an e-mail to The Telegram.

McPhee said those meetings were adjourned so both sides could look over information presented before negotiations resume. He said no date has been set yet for those talks to continue.

Provincial NDP Leader Lorraine Michael criticized Williams, saying it's easy for government to urge an end to the strike now that both sides are finally talking following a long silence.

"It's the first real concern (Williams) has shown for the strike after all these months," she said.

Michael then called for the government to finally bring in "anti-scab" legislation.

While Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones supports an immediate end to the strike - as many of the workers live in her district - she also blamed government for dragging its feet on whether to table anti-replacement worker legislation.

The province promised to study the matter three years ago, but never committed to tabling a bill in the House of Assembly.

"When you see strikes like this going on for a long time, and realizing that the companies are out ... bringing in other workers ... then you really need to start looking, as a government, to see if this is a solution or if it isn't," she said.

Jones said that's been unfair to unionized workers.

"Don't leave false hope out there for people," she said. "If you're not going to do this, tell them ... and if you're going to do it, get on with it."

Jones said considering many business groups have given a thumbs down to the idea of an anti-replacement worker law, it's likely the government will eventually reject the idea.

The Telegram's attempt to reach Williams for an interview were unsuccessful by deadline.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Vale, Labour Relations Agency

Geographic location: Voisey, Ontario, Sudbury Labrador Port Colborne

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Recent comments

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Hey Danno, you want people back to work? Outlaw unions in this province. Best move you would have ever made.

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Apparently this government rules on a crisis to crisis basis. How much of what happens in this province is done on an even keel ? We appear to be working in disaster mode in most areas at any given time . Not a month or day goes by when this province isn't embroiled in some controversy of one sort or another .

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Danny should be a union leader...bluster, confrontation and arrogant BS....he'd be good.

  • martin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I think you people from Newfoundland and Labrador are lucky...
    Here in Ontario if don't adhere to vales company policy, vale will take you to court and sue you or they will fire you( you would be amazed how many are getting sued or taken to court or fired; from the city of Sudbury, to the international union, to the average JOE )...

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Come on nah sayers lets put a negative spin on this story you wanted him to get involved several weeks ago I guess now he will be accused of interfering in a negotiation process.Maybe him and Dalton are evil.

  • Harvey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I'll bet you any money...had Premier Williams made similar statements earlier in the dispute, Michael and Jones would have been outraged; accusing him of interferring in labour negotiations.I have voted NDP and Liberal before, but not again as long as those two ding-a-lings head the parties.

  • Stop The Racket
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Pay attention people. When King Danny says JUMP you ask HOW HIGH SIR and do exactly as he tells you to do.

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Williams dosent like unions anyway. Remember they can all stay out until the cows come home? Then again Williams dosent like anyone that dosent see everyuthing the same way he does. Were all traitors or Quebec lovers, or Holier than though, or preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Williams dosent want to be asked questions he dosent like to answer. He only wants to tell us exactly what he himself wants us to hear and know. Ahh yes Dictatorship at its absolute best under the control of Danny Williams the man with absolute power.

  • Penney
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    He must be missing those mining royalties.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Hey Danno, you want people back to work? Outlaw unions in this province. Best move you would have ever made.

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Apparently this government rules on a crisis to crisis basis. How much of what happens in this province is done on an even keel ? We appear to be working in disaster mode in most areas at any given time . Not a month or day goes by when this province isn't embroiled in some controversy of one sort or another .

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Danny should be a union leader...bluster, confrontation and arrogant BS....he'd be good.

  • martin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I think you people from Newfoundland and Labrador are lucky...
    Here in Ontario if don't adhere to vales company policy, vale will take you to court and sue you or they will fire you( you would be amazed how many are getting sued or taken to court or fired; from the city of Sudbury, to the international union, to the average JOE )...

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Come on nah sayers lets put a negative spin on this story you wanted him to get involved several weeks ago I guess now he will be accused of interfering in a negotiation process.Maybe him and Dalton are evil.

  • Harvey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I'll bet you any money...had Premier Williams made similar statements earlier in the dispute, Michael and Jones would have been outraged; accusing him of interferring in labour negotiations.I have voted NDP and Liberal before, but not again as long as those two ding-a-lings head the parties.

  • Stop The Racket
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Pay attention people. When King Danny says JUMP you ask HOW HIGH SIR and do exactly as he tells you to do.

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Williams dosent like unions anyway. Remember they can all stay out until the cows come home? Then again Williams dosent like anyone that dosent see everyuthing the same way he does. Were all traitors or Quebec lovers, or Holier than though, or preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Williams dosent want to be asked questions he dosent like to answer. He only wants to tell us exactly what he himself wants us to hear and know. Ahh yes Dictatorship at its absolute best under the control of Danny Williams the man with absolute power.

  • Penney
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    He must be missing those mining royalties.