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Smelter Newsletter - April 2011
Published: April 26, 2011

Several issues seem to be top of mind in the Smelter, the first of which is the Q3 and Q4 Nickel Bonus grievance. On April 12th, the arbitration process commenced and both parties presented opening statements. Further information has been requested from the Company, and hopefully this additional information will shed further light on the facts, which we believe give us a strong argument in this matter. No further date has been agreed to at this time. I will keep you posted.

The second issue seems to be this Coordinator position, which the Company will be utilizing during the upcoming shutdown. It is the Union's stand point that although we cannot contractually contest this move, we must make it perfectly clear that no elected Union official may accept this position unless he or she steps down from said elected position(s). In order to stay consistent on this matter, the same rule would apply to training and "day rate" on the production side of things. It is in fact the "day rate pay" classification which causes the issue here, as it is normally associated with a supervisor-in-training and is not recognized under the Collective Agreement.

Language needs to be drafted which would monetarily recognize the increased responsibility of these two positions (Coordinator and trainer) while at the same time affording protection to those who perform such jobs. This could entail a new classification or a temporary classification similar to that of a Lead Hand, where no one actually is posted as a Lead Hand, but can be temporarily promoted to this position when needed.

Finally, just a reminder that I need everyone's help as it pertains to contractors in the workplace. Unfortunately, between my Union meetings, shift schedule and work in the converter aisle production bubble I don't get to see all work that is being performed in and around the plant. I am asking everyone to please be diligent in the reporting of any work you believe to be ours to any of the Stewards so I can raise the issue in my monthly Contracting Out meetings.

Regards,
Chris Browne, Smelter Chief Steward,
Mine Mill Local 598/CAW

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