United Steelworkers (USW) won a major victory at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) against Vale mining company in a case stemming from their year-long strike. Sixteen months after the strike at Vale during which time Vale banned USW Local 6500 Vice President Patrick Veinot from its property and thereby denied membership access to him on company property, in a stinging rebuke to the company, the OLRB has found that Vale's conduct is unlawful. The Board has ordered that the company cease and desist.
OLRB Chair Bernard Fishbein wrote: "I think the message Vale Inco has sought to communicate is cold and hard (regardless of its precise motivations) and I conclude that there has been a substantial interference both in the administration of the Union and its representation of employees (or in the words of the Canada Labour Relations Board that have 'the effect of undercutting or weakening the union')."
"Our membership welcomes the Vice President back to their workplaces to perform his duties on their behalf and so do I," beamed Local 6500 President Rick Bertrand, a long time colleague and associate of Veinot. As Vice President, Veinot chairs the important Local 6500 grievance committee, meeting with grievors and union stewards on company property to work through the grievance procedure and enforce the collective agreement. "Controlling this company is no easy task," added Bertrand, "but this union will ensure that the rights of its members are advanced and protected, whatever it takes." Click here for more.