A miner taps material in a flash furnace at the Vale smelter complex in Copper Cliff, Ont. on Wednesday December 8, 2010. A steelworkers union in Sudbury, Ont., is going on strike for the first time in over 10 years after a majority of its members rejected a tentative deal with Vale Canada.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Gino Donato

Sudbury miners go on strike after rejecting deal from Vale Canada

Sudbury miners go on strike after rejecting deal from Vale Canada

SUDBURY, Ont. — More than 10 years after a steelworkers group in northern Ontario went on a year-long strike, the union representing employees at a mine in Sudbury are once again walking off the job.

The strike comes as labour discussions between United Steelworkers Local 6500 and Brazilian mining corporation Vale Canada broke down Monday.

The union, which represents 2,600 members in the Sudbury area, says 87 per cent of its members voted on the deal, 70 per cent of whom voted to reject the agreement. Kimberly Kmit of Local 6500 confirmed in an interview that the union had gone on strike.

“We are newly energized with this result and are looking forward to bringing your message to the company to let them know our work is not complete,” Local 6500’s bargaining committee said in a statement Tuesday.

The news comes after the union’s bargaining committee previously recommended members vote in favour of the tentative deal.

The five-year agreement would have also covered the members of Local 6200 and included a one-time payment of $2,500 “in recognition of continued efforts during the last year” for employees who were employed on June 1.

Another one-time payment of $3,500 was part of the deal as a signing bonus, but was conditional of ratification of the agreement.

The workers at the mine haven’t been on strike since July 2009, but that work stoppage lasted until July 2010 when a new agreement was reached.

The previous agreement gave over 3,000 workers a raise and a significant signing bonus.

Vale said Local 6500 voted to reject its offer of the five-year collective bargaining agreement, despite a vote for ratification by Local 6200, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The Brazilian mining company said the strike will result in operation disruptions at the Sudbury location and they will be continuing discussions with Local 6500 with the goal of reaching an agreement in the near future.

The multinational conglomerate has also implemented contingency plans “to preserve the integrity and safety of the plants and mines.”

Vale has not confirmed when labour talks will resume nor have they replied to a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2021.

– – –

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Companies in this story: (NYSE:VALE)

The Canadian Press

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