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Unit Chair Report - September 2008

Life is always full of challenges and changes. This past summer was no exception, from the lack of hot weather and the amount of rainfall to the constant presence of mosquitoes and appearances of different bugs. You can tell that the planet is slowing changing. The same could be said about our society.

This is very apparent as I talk to many of the new hires when I see them on a bi-weekly basis and when I do the presentations during the on-board training.

The new hires are very excited and happy to be here, full of pep and have very good ideas. They are the next generation of employees who will guide this Company well into the next millennium. So I have no fear about the success of this Company in the future as we are still hiring and growing.

For this Company to remain successful, the same amount of energy and excitement has to be part of our union movement and its’ membership.

We know that at times this is not always apparent as a lot of us are as busy as ever, especially during this expansion period or because of the direction of the changes in society, or because of life issues. We sometimes forget that we have to continue to commit ourselves to the things that the workers have fought for and won over these past many years.

This commitment is essential for the continued understanding of how much all of us have gained, from the perspective of the Company, the members and the community.

Before Xstrata Nickel purchased Falconbridge Ltd., the relationship between the employees and the Company was so very different than what it currently is. This is more evident when we look at the past differences (grievances) we had as compared to what we have today. Most of the issues are being resolved early.

While the relationship between employee and management is not the same at all of the sites, it is an improvement over our previous owner and we are striving to get to the point where every employee (whether they are union members or management) are happy to come to work and return to their homes and loved ones unhurt after every shift.

Sometimes this sense of belonging could lead to a period of complacency, where we don’t think about what our Union is really about.

Let’s not forget the past, and the battles of the past, where the membership fought to acquire the gains that are now in our Collective Agreement.

We need to keep getting involved and to communicate as much as we can amongst ourselves to ensure that the right information (good or bad) is known by all.

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