& Maintenance Bargaining Unit - Falconbridge
Report, Unit Chair – Falconbridge
to a Third Party:
the special meeting held in November 2004 at the Trillium
Centre the Union has taken 13 cases to arbitration. We
achieved a resolution in 12 of the cases and in one a less
than satisfactory result. Not all of these cases went through
the full arbitration process. A number were settled between
the parties shortly before, or on the day of the scheduled
hearings. Three discipline cases were settled over the phone
with the company’s lawyer.
track record to date has been good and will hopefully remain
so as we scheduled13 hearings between January 1st
and June 30th.
issues we are fighting now and over the next few months are
essentially the same issues that we have struggled since the
strike in 2000. Some of these issues are a direct result of
addition to arbitration we have a med/arb process built into
our CA. That has been a less than satisfactory process in that
cases sent to the arbitrator via this route must be mutually
agreed to. The company seldom will take an issue through to
med/arb if they think there is any chance of losing. They
never take discipline cases to med/arb anymore. For several
months we held off sending any cases to hearings via this
process because the company was denying everything at stage 2
and only agreeing to take cases that they would win. This
subverted the intent of the grievance process and as a result
by last fall we had almost 300 active grievance files.
the last meeting I reported that we would attempt to resolve
as many of these as possible by meeting with the company. We
have completed these meetings and are only waiting for the
results from the smelter. At this point in time we have in the
order of 185 cases.
Vacations: Everyone is pissed
about this issue. At the last meeting the stewards passed a
motion that I approach the company with our concerns about the
fairness of their planned vacation scheduling process. I did
that and on the day following the meeting, I discussed this
with the HR department. They were unwilling to consider any
changes to the policy. Since then the company has moved
forward with the policy, we have several grievances files over
the issue and I have filed a direct difference on behalf of
the members of this Union. We are hoping the have this heard
in the early part of May.
Labourer: We had the second
stage hearing at the smelter on Tuesday of this week. We did a
lot of talking, they said little. When we asked the specific
question, did they plan to continue violating the job posting
language of the CA by replacing Process Helper Trainees with
Smelter Labourers, they agreed that they would. We hoped to
have this case heard in late May but this might be held off
until September due to the availability of the arbitrator.
Mine/TL Transfers: We have taken
told the company that in no way would we accept the transfer
of members from TL due to the ground conditions emergency,
only to be told that they would be moving people from Craig to
TL to fill vacancies a couple of weeks later. They uses
article 17.02. Our position is that the only way to fill
vacancies is to post them under article 16. We are still
waiting for the company to discuss this with us at stage two.
We would like to get this in front of an arbitrator as soon as
possible as well.
have one case that has had five days of hearings so far
and looks as though it will continue until late June at
other discharge case will be going to an arbitrator in
Out: The contracting out case
has its next day in June. This case will not likely be
resolved before negotiations.
Case: We have intervenor status
in this issue. Last year the OCT filed a grievance and took it
to arbitration because some instrumentation work had been
included in our CA. We objected to the proceedings on the
grounds that since the case had been filed by the OCT, the
arbitrator did not have the power to issue a ruling over the
terms of our CA. This case then went before the OLRB where it
is slowly going through that process. This case, after three
meetings in nearly a year is still in the process of the
parties attempting to come to an agreement where the hearings
might eventually be held, in Sudbury or Toronto.
Training: The training that was
discussed in my last quarterly report has happened for Craig
Mine in February. These sessions were delivered by a CAW
facilitator and the course material was provided by the Union.
The company liked it so much that it will be offered to
everyone in the MMBU over the next few months. We are still
trying to convince management at the Smelter that they should
agree to this as well. The deal is that the Union will provide
the trainer, the course material and the company will cover
off all of the costs including the 4 hours overtime for each
employee, (including staff and OCT.)
want to close by saying that it has been a pleasure to work on
behalf of the members of this Union and to say that I hope you
will continue the struggle to advance the rights of the
members. What we have achieved to this point has been through
collective action, what you can only achieve in the future you
will achieve by working together.
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is an Opportunity for Public Interest Review of
of the Canadian Auto Workers union responded today to the announcement by INCO
and Falconbridge that the closing date for their proposed merger has been
extended to June 30, as a result of continuing investigations by U.S. and
European competition authorities.
proposed mega-merger is still very much up in the air,” said Rick Grylls,
president of Mine Mill 598/CAW, representing Falconbridge members at mining,
milling and smelting operations in the Sudbury area.
repeated extensions of the closing date indicate this merger faces significant
hurdles, from both regulators and investors.”
long extension raises major questions as to whether the merger will in fact
proceed. Swiss-based Xstrata will
now have an opportunity to submit a competing offer for Falconbridge, with the
expiry in May of its agreement with Brookfield Asset Management (formerly
Brascan) to match the price of any subsequent Xstrata purchases of Falconbridge
shares. Bids from other potential
suitors (including Teck Cominco) are also possible – for either Falconbridge,
or for the combination of INCO and Falconbridge. The fact that Falconbridge shares are trading for significantly more than the $34 INCO offer, suggests that
investors are expecting further bids.
CAW has called for a comprehensive review of the public interest impacts of any
merger involving INCO or Falconbridge, before it is allowed to proceed.
“A merger will have both costs and benefits for Canadians,” Grylls continued.
“It is essential for all stakeholders, including government, labour, and municipalities, to
participate in developing a clear plan that sets binding targets to make sure
that any merger respects the interests of Canadians.”
Belt MP Ray Bonin attended the Mine Mill 598’s INCO/Falconbridge merger public
forum on February 15th and stated that city council and all
stakeholders should have a meeting to review the long term security of the
The CAW would welcome such an initiative.
can’t simply trust any of these huge companies to do the right thing for
Sudbury, or for Canada.
We have to hold them accountable.”
called on Canadian regulatory authorities to play a more active role in
reviewing the impact of any proposed merger.
“It is embarrassing that this mega-merger between two purportedly Canadian companies is receiving a
more thorough review from foreign regulators, than from our own regulators.”
particular, Grylls called on the Investment Review branch of Industry Canada to
look seriously at the implications of an INCO-Falconbridge merger for foreign
INCO is majority owned by foreign investors, mostly U.S.-based. The
CAW has also asked provincial and federal governments to review the merger more
carefully, and make approval for the merger (or for subsequent development
projects) contingent on commitments by the merged company to specific targets
for Canadian investment, employment, and purchases.
has been some speculation about the impact of an INCO-Falconbridge merger on
labour relations – most recently in the form of extensive published comments by
leaders of the United Steelworkers of America (which has endorsed INCO’s
proposed takeover) indicating that union’s desire to represent all workers at a
whole takeover process is completely uncertain,” said Grylls.
“The financial wheeling and dealings are just getting started.”
of jumping on the bandwagon of any particular takeover bid, we should all work
together to win as much protection for jobs and investments in Sudbury as we
the event that a merger results in representation elections for workers at INCO
and/or Falconbridge (a situation that will not likely occur until later in
2007, at the earliest), Grylls said he was confident that Canadian workers in
the mines, mills, and smelters would choose a Canadian union to represent them. “But
it’s premature and counterproductive to start that battle now, with such an
important decision regarding our economic future completely up in the air.”
union official who starts to dream about capturing new members is missing the
more important question, which is how to hold all of these investors
accountable to the Canadian public interest.”
further comment, Rick Grylls, 705-673-3661, ext 23 or 705-665-2138
on the Merger
October 25, 2005
couple of weeks ago, this community was taken by the surprise when it was
announced that the two nickel
companies that have been the mainstay of the local economy, planned to merge in
the near future. After a bit of hesitation, local politicians came out in
support of the deal. That in itself is not surprising, given that part of the
announcement included a promise of increased activity in the mining sector and
the possibility of new jobs. In the eyes of any politician an increase in base
level employment over the course of the next few years is equivalent to winning
the lottery, not the 6/49 maybe but at least the Encore. This deal was
something that could definitely be portrayed as good news in the media. Who
could resist discussing news like: an improved local employment picture, a
possible increase in spin-off jobs that would benefit the community and hoped
for long-term stable employment for the youth of our community.
is all good stuff, but let us examine the situation without the benefit of the
rose-coloured glasses worn by our political leadership. A couple of weeks have
passed and the initial euphoria of the announcement should have begun to wear
the short term, there may well be an improved employment picture locally.
Certainly, in the area of mining, this merger will open up a number of business
opportunities. On the other hand, any discussion of synergies and
rationalization by a corporation should be ringing alarm bells in the minds of
those people who carry a lunch pail to their place of employment. By their own
admission there will be some job loss in the area of administration, the number
150 was mentioned. Regardless of who loses his job, this will be a net loss to
the community. As is usual in these cases, the company(s) were careful to
assert that these losses would come about through attrition. That means they
hope that enough people would retire to avoid any layoffs, or more
euphemistically, “downsizing”. In the final analysis, there will be job loss,
and that will be a fact no matter how it is sugar coated.
issue of spin-off jobs may be no more than a hoped for result of the merger.
The reality is that with a one-company market for those companies involved in
the supply of goods and services to the mining industry the possibility of a
shakeup in this sector is very real. There will undoubtedly be pressure from
the one major company to continue to reduce its costs and for the suppliers it
will be a race to the bottom. Some will not be able to compete and will fall by
the wayside. In any case, the residents of Sudbury should at the very least
brace for an adjustment of the overall local employment picture.
it is generally accepted that this country, and this industry in particular
are, and will continue to suffer from a chronic lack of skilled workers. In the
case of Falconbridge, a large group of employees was hired between 1970 and
1975. For the most part these were young men in their late teens and early
twenties with little or no mining experience. That didn’t matter much then, as
both companies trained the people that they hired in-house, and in a few short
years both had the most dedicated, skilled workforces on the planet. Inco and
Falconbridge were employers of choice and a job in Sudbury was the most sought
job in the industry. Unfortunately, management, although blessed with all of
the benefits provided by a quality workforce, lost sight of one critical area
of their responsibility; the need to provide training and to upgrade their
employees. One vital aspect of the training process and succession planning is
the passing on of learned skills and experience to the younger generation. The
company(s) began to see training as a cost, not as an investment in the future.
They began to believe that training should be the responsibility of the
taxpayer and of the potential employee. This process is a typical example of a
corporation “externalizing” its costs. In spite of the fact that they are
mining the non-renewable resources of this province, they still feel that it is
their right to have the taxpayers pay up for the training of the people they
will need to run their operations, (most of the trainees at Norcat are funded
by EI programs). Never mind the fact that Inco and Falconbridge operate the
number one and number four sources of pollution in this country. The results of
these shortsighted training policies were:
The loss of skilled trainers through attrition and downsizing in the 1990’s;
A massive loss of skills on the job when the workers hired thirty years before
started retiring in large numbers beginning in the year 2000;
And a severe, ongoing lack of skilled people trained to take over from those
workers who were retiring. The training infrastructure put in place to replace
the programs abandoned by the companies has proven to be at best inadequate.
There has been an almost total lack of support on the part of Falconbridge in
providing support in the form of apprenticeships for the skilled trades. In
spite of the fact that mechanization and technological change have become vital
to the success and economic viability of the industry, Falconbridge has chosen
to hire skilled trades away from other employers who made the investment in the
skilled trades. Although this company sits on the Board of Directors for
Skytech, (the skilled trades program at Cambrian College), they have not hired
a single apprentice in many years.
in spite of the announcements of synergies, cost reductions, and a hoped for
new golden age of mining in the Sudbury District, the reality is that a good
many local residents will not experience any real benefits from this merger and
unless there is a commitment from the company, in regard to training of skilled
workers, including apprentices in the skilled trades there will be little
opportunity for the youth of this region.
Chair – Falconbridge
Mill/CAW – Local 598
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/ Falconbridge Merger - Questions and Answers:
On an ongoing basis,
the Union will attempt to answer the concerns of the membership on an ongoing
basis as the proposed merger between INCO and Falconbridge moves forward.
What happens to my pension if this merger goes through?
Due to the recent announcement by the company of a merger between Inco
and Falconbridge, a number of concerns have been raised by our
membership. These questions initially revolve around the issue
of pensions. Mine Mill/CAW – Local 598 has bargained what is
known as a Defined Benefit Plan for the workforce it
represents. This is a plan that provides a pension in which
the amount paid out is guided by a defined formula, normally
based on the years of service with Falconbridge. Within this
plan, the company is required by regulation to contribute to a
provincially regulated pension fund which ensures that ensures
that each retired employee receives a specified monthly
pension. In the event of death, a pre-determined portion of
the basic pension goes either to the surviving spouse or to
his or her estate. As a result of our preliminary inquiries
your union feels that the pension plan in place, continues to
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Friday, October 14, 2005
Update Friday October 14th 2005
Thursday, the Bob, Rick and Wayne met with Mike Dufresne, Mark Trevisiol and
Lori Horner to exchange information regarding the potential merger between Inco
and Falcobridge that was announced earlier this week. The announcement of this
merger was released to the media at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning and up until
that point the details had been kept under wraps. The Union Leadership was not
informed prior to the announcement, nor was Company Management at the Sudbury
the discussions centered around what might happen over the short and medium
term. Both Mike and Mark felt that from their perspective the best courts might
be to go about, “business as usual.” The entire takeover/merger process will
easily take until the end of the year and most likely beyond to complete. A
number of approvals must be obtained from the various regulatory agencies and
from the shareholders of both companies. It must be stated in addition that
this is by no means a done deal. It is not beyond the realm of speculation that
another major corporation with deep pockets could emerge from the wings and
make an offer to purchase Falconbridge, Inco, or the New Inco, now that the
process has been started.
have exchanged a number of emails, and had some discussions over the telephone
with Jim Stanford, the CAW’s economist regarding the formulation of a position
paper regarding the takeover/merger. This document at present would likely take
the same form, and raise some of the same issues, as the paper issued when
China Minmetals was courting Noranda. Jim’s statement on Minmetals can be read
will continue to monitor this situation and will report any findings to the
membership as quickly as possible.
Mill/CAW – Local 598
Chair – Falconbridge
Mill/CAW – Local 598
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Wednesday October 12, 2005
Mill 598/CAW Merger News
of the merger between INCO and Falconbridge has raised a considerable number of
questions in the workplace, such as, “What sort of impact will this merger have
on my job? How safe is my pension going to be after the merger and so on…”
present the Union is actively seeking answers to these and other questions as
they crop up. We are committed to maintaining our open communications policy
with the membership and as such will relay any information we obtain as soon as
it becomes available. As has been our practice in the past, we will issue
newsletters at the worksites, send out email updates, and will post the
information you need on our website.
Do Not Panic
a doubt there will concern about what the future will hold and this will lead
to a good deal of hearsay and rumors cropping up in the workplace regarding
this process. Everyone will have to wait it out in order to learn how the
merger will unfold and the impact it will have on our working lives. At this
point in time there is no point in spreading rumours or unfounded speculation.
The Union is in contact with the Legal Department at the National office and is
referring questions regarding the security of our pensions and the issue of
successor rights under Article 68(1) of the Labour Relations Act to them. The
answers will be distributed as quickly as possible to the membership. We have
set up a Questions and Answers segment on the web page that will be updated as
often as necessary.
Beck and Rick Grylls will be attending an information meeting with Mike
Dufresne, Mark Trevisiol and Lori Horner at 7 a.m. Thursday. We will also be
requesting the six month meeting with corporate management in Toronto as agreed
to in the letters of understanding agreed to in the 2004 negotiations,(the last
meeting took place in February of this year). We will request this meeting take
place as soon as possible. The issues we will want tabled at this meeting would
include items such as job security, benefits, hiring plans, training issues and
any other questions or concerns that can be best clarified by discussions at
stated above, we are open to any questions you might have and are committed to
keep the flow of information coming as we learn it.
you are not already on the list and wish to be included on the membership email
distribution list send an email to:
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005
morning Inco and Falconbridge announced the merger of the two companies. This
merger will take the form of a friendly takeover of Falconbridge Limited by
is clearly very early in the process but Mine Mill is prepared to make some
Union is in basic agreement with any process that will maximize the long term
potential of the natural resources that form the basis of the wealth in the
support any initiative that will serve to provide long term security and
benefits to the working people of this region. We as organized labour feel that
the natural resources must be exploited in a manner that benefits the people of
Ontario and the Sudbury District. These benefits must include:
Good-paying long term jobs for the workforce now in place and those employed by the new
The possibility of secure jobs for the youth of our community
Continued concern for the environment of this region by the Corporation that will
exploit the natural resources.
And the continuation of benefits and pensions into retirement for the workers who
produce the wealth for the shareholders of the new corporate entity.
did hear some discussion about synergies in the webcast held this morning and
the Union agrees that there have been lost opportunities in the past. For
example, in the 1980’s no all-encompassing agreement could be reached on the
exploitation of the Cryderman deposit from the then existing East Mine. More
recently an opportunity was lost at Crean Hill when Lockerby Mine was closed.
The realization of this potential has been left to a third party, First Nickel
this point in time this is being touted as a friendly takeover, but the final
picture may not develop as planned, as there may still be the potential for an
unfriendly takeover by Xstrata for example. Xstrata recently purchased just
over 20% of the Falconbridge Ltd. stock mainly from Brascan.
final outcome with respect to the Unions involved is a matter that will be left
to the OLRB and the workforce of the combined company in the Sudbury Basin to
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Mill Book Launch
March 23, 2005
Mill – Local 598 held a very successful book launch in the Joe Hill Auditorium
at the Hall on Regent Street on Wednesday March 23. The only real issue that
prevented the affair from being a complete success was the lack of a book to
actually launch. Due to issues beyond our control; the publishers were unable
to have the book ready as promised for the Wednesday night affair. That being
said, approximately 175 people showed up to place their orders, to socialize
with other Union activists, and to listen to Jim Stanford, economist for the
CAW deliver his lecture, “Labour’s Roller Coaster”. In addition the short film
about the 2000-2001 strike, “One Day Longer” by Stewart Cryer was shown. Kevin
Closs provided musical entertainment.
Our book, “Mine Mill Fights Back”, which documents the strikes
of 2000 and 2004, should be ready for delivery to those who placed orders
within the next couple of weeks. This hard covered book is the latest effort
made by this Local to document the history of working people here in the
Sudbury Area, will consist of 260 pages and highlighted with a large number of
photographs. Ten preview copies were delivered to allow those present to get a
feel for the result of all of the work that went into the project. The editors:
Kaili Beck, Mercedes Steedman, Gary Kinsman, and Peter Suschnigg where on hand
to speak to the gathering about various aspects of the work. Chris Bowes who
was also a contributing editor was unable to attend.
Those who were able to attend the launch were also treated to
Jim Stanford’s lecture, which was the second in the Jennifer Keck Lecture
Series on Social Justice. Jim’s lecture provided a clear alternative, socialist
view to the right wing view of economics that is so prevalent in today’s
society. It put the history of Canada’s economy and the corporate agenda of the
latter part of the twentieth century into perspective and highlighted the
opportunities and pitfalls that could be encountered by labour when bargaining
a better deal for working people over the near and medium term future. For
those who are interested, Jim’s column,
Facts From the Fringe, can be accessed
from the CAW National’s website.
previously stated, music was provided by Kevin Closs who also told the story of
how he met Utah Phillips at a concert held in the main hall in the early
nineties. At that time Utah Phillips who was performing at a concert at the
Hall, was bringing some of Joe Hill’s ashes to the last remaining Mine Mill
Local, placed some of the ashes into Kevin’s guitar. Kevin Closs played that
guitar in the Joe Hill Auditorium on Wednesday evening.
Sudbury News Now
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FOR A LIVING
March 3rd and 4th, 2005 Dwight Harper and Arno Sakki, and
I attended a forum in Toronto sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Occupational
Health and Safety entitled, “New Strategies for Recognizing
and Preventing Occupation Disease”. Representing
Falconbridge Ltd. was Donna Kirkpatrick.
some extent, this gathering was over-shadowed by the tragic events of
Mayerthorpe, Alberta, where R.C.M.P. Constables Tony Gordon (28), Peter
Schiemann (25), Leo Johnston (32) and Brock Myrol (29) were killed.
while at work, no matter what occupation you are in, gives concern to the
standard questions asked:
an occupational disease while still at work or after you have retired, requires
the same scrutiny in determining the causes associated with a particular
workplace contaminant, be it fumes, gases, exhaust emissions, dust conditions,
asbestosis, silicosis and occupational asthma/cancer.
noted by a number of speakers, some diseases have a latency period of 15-20
years before they are detected.
the exact cause can be a daunting task as to determining the dominant factor or
of the speakers spoke with a perspective from a personal story, “Historical
Perspective on Occupational Disease, Recognition and Compensation of
Occupational Disease, Emerging Occupational Safety and Health Issues of the 21st
Century, and “Demographics and Occupational Disease.”
particular interest to all was, “Stress – An International Perspective”,
presented by Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organizational Psychology and
we do while working has a bearing on our overall health and well- being.
we work has an impact in whatever job you do.
we work, should concern you as to the hours you put in and the shift schedule
you have to do.
you work is most important – using all of your personal protective equipment
and Stop and Correct and report all injuries.
you work, may elicit various answers, the main reason is to earn a living in a
safe and protective manner while performing your duties, in an environment
which is controlled and monitored so that the industrial pollutants do not come
back years later to wreak havoc in your body.
safe and be aware of your surroundings and conditions in your workplace. Your
life depends on it.
further information, you can visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health
and Safety at www.ccohs.ca,
as a number of recommendations are posted for public comment.
Health & Welfare Officer.
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Training – The Key to Our Economic Future
August 05, 2004.
while looking through the mass of papers left by my predecessors in this
office, I came across a pamphlet reprinted, in 1980, from a series of articles
by Jim Tester that had appeared in "Northern Life". The topic was
apprenticeship training, and compared the training practices in the former East
German republic and Canada. My first reaction was how much the world has
changed politically since these articles appeared. My second reaction is how
little things have changed in the educational system over the past twenty-five
the forward to this little booklet Horst Doehler writes:
– with 8 per cent unemployment, Canada is short of skilled workers. This
shortage goes back over many years as we have always depended on Europe’s
training programs to supply our industries with skilled labour. They are no
Jim Tester shows in this study, no serious apprenticeship program exists in
Canada to solve the problem.
our negotiations this past winter, your Bargaining Committee pressed the
Company to implement a training package and to hire apprentices. They agreed
that there existed a serious shortage of skilled people in the mining industry.
This shortage was especially acute in the area of skilled trades. They were not
however, willing to make the leap of faith and implement the programs proposed
by the Union. They view training as a cost rather than an investment in the
future. What they did agree to was a rather vague commitment to:
an Apprenticeship Program for a maximum of 6 Electrical and/or a maximum of 1
Millwright should the Company be unsuccessful in its efforts to hire."
the twenty-six skilled trades people they committed to hire in during
negotiations, they have managed to hire five. There is still no commitment to
apprenticeships. It is clear that the shortage of skilled trades people that
existed in 1980 is still an issue today, almost 25 years later.
shortage of skilled labour also extends into the production departments. There
are simply no skilled people out there for the Company to hire as our aging
workforce heads off into retirement. In his study, Jim Tester wrote that,
"It may come as a surprise to Sudburians, but the most respected tradesmen
in Europe are the miners." I have been employed in this industry for
thirty-six years and it has been at least twenty-five years since the idea of
recognizing mining as a skilled trade has been seriously discussed, by either
the company or by government. It has been years since the company ran a
"school stope" to train miners.
recent governments have done a great deal to undermine the trades in this
province. The emphasis of the education system in this country has been to gear
students to continuing education at the college or university level. As a
result this country probably has sufficient computer programmers but those of
our youth who for one reason or another are not considered suitable candidates
for higher education fall through the cracks and are left with low wage, low
skill jobs with no future. Meanwhile, there is an acute shortage of skilled
people are not given the education or the opportunity to get into
apprenticeships that will lead to good jobs that pay good wages and provide a
measure of security. They are not given the opportunity to learn how to work.
More shocking still are the numbers of graduates from our school systems who
are functionally illiterate, in other words they have graduated but cannot read
and write well enough to communicate effectively in today’s society.
proper apprenticeship programs that are funded by government and supported by
industry, the Canadian economy cannot prosper. The failure to train our young
people will result in added costs right across our society. Industry will be
forced to compete for a diminishing pool of skilled workers, and our society in
general will suffer from lower levels of productivity. Without apprenticeships
and appropriate training programs we are on a slippery slope that will in the
end have a serious impact on our own and our children’s economic well-being.
more information on apprenticeships and skilled trades issues check these
CAW Convention - Bargaining Program, Skilled Trades
Leads Drive for National Apprenticeship Program
Several members of Mine Mill's executive
committee attended a memorial at the Provincial Building in Sudbury to remember
Kimberly Rogers. Ms. Rogers died while eight months pregnant, and under house
arrest for welfare fraud. She had been found guilty of accepting welfare while
in receipt of a student loan. Something that until the Harris-Eves Tories took
power provincially was legal. The poor in our society are being punished for
trying to better their lot in life while some of the elite are allowed to
defraud our economic system on a grand scale with impunity.
This use of the legal system against a member of
our community's poor by the previous government in Queen's Park continues to
focus attention on the issue of poverty in our society and the lack of
committment by government to any meaningful steps to correct this injustice. To
date the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty have committed to increase welfare
payments by three per cent over the next several years. Not only is the amount
wholly insufficient, given that there has been no increase to account for
inflation in the past nine years, none of the increase has shown up in the
hands of the poor.
this memorial vigil included Shelley Martel, the NDP member in Queen's Park for
Nickel Belt, Molly Hancock, a long time activist in Sudbury, and Gary Kinsman,
a spokesman for SCAP.