Nearly 3,000 supporters from across the international labour community gathered in Sudbury Saturday to pledge their ongoing support to Vale Inco Strikers.
Vale Inco, which is 100% owned by Brazilian interests, is attempting to gut workers’ collective agreements by demanding they accept inferior pension plans and seniority agreements. Thousands of United Steelworkers members have been on strike since mid-July in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario, and in Voisey’s Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We are out in force today to show support for the Steelworkers: CUPE is here, the community is here, people from all over the world are here,” said Wyman MacKinnon, CUPE Regional Vice-President for Northern Ontario.
Among the international guests were representatives from international federations such as ITUC, ICEM, IMF, and leaders of the AFL-CIO from the United States, Unite from the UK, CUT and Sindimina from Brazil, and the National Union of Mineworkers from Mexico. Together, they represent over 168 million workers from around the world.
Federal NDP leader Jack Layton, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, CLC President Ken Georgetti and CUPE National Paul Moist were also on hand to extend their support. (See Paul Moist extend CUPE’s support to the striking workers.)
The rally came on the heels of a resolution of support from the CUPE National Executive board promising a $10,000 contribution to the United Steelworkers’ strike fund, encouraging CUPE locals to provide support, and pledging to lobby all governments to introduce anti-scab legislation.
“Vale Inco has taken over 4 billion dollars out of Canada in profit in the last three years, and yet it is looking for multiple concessions. We will support the Steelworkers and the Sudbury community until they get the fair agreement they deserve,” said Paul Moist.
“Vale Inco is massively profitable, currently has huge cash assets, and increased its executive compensation by 121% in the last two years,” added John Fera, President of USW Local 6500.
Later on Saturday, Academy Award winning filmmaker Michael Moore also demonstrated his support for the strikers and the community by holding a special Sudbury screening of his new film, “Capitalism: A Love Story”, to be released in theatres in October.