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Vale, Steelworkers agree on contract extension

Pandemic uncertainty results in one-year bridge deal for miners, mill workers to reset for 2021
Vale Plant
Vale operations in Sudbury.

Economic uncertainty has led to Sudbury miner Vale and the United Steelworkers agreeing to a one-year renewal of the collective agreement.

Vale’s offer was ratified by Local 6500 with 62.8 per cent support. Members voted electronically after being mailed containing details of the contract offer.

Local 6500 represents more than 2600 production and maintenance workers in mining, milling, smelting and refining at Vale’s Sudbury operations.

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“COVID-19 has had a devastating and unprecedented impact, bringing uncertainty to our economy, our industry and our business,” said Mitch Medina, Vale’s manager of employee and labour relations for its North Atlantic Operations, in an April 23 statement

“The one-year renewal of the CBA provides Vale and our employees with a solid foundation to address the challenges facing the business. Together we will continue to monitor and address the pandemic’s short, medium, and long-term impacts on our operations. Our bargaining teams will continue to work on a plan for a new collective bargaining agreement over the course of the next year.

The Steelworkers replied that members agreed to the one-year renewal to better focus attention on the health and safety of workers and their families.

"We have heard the membership loud and clear and we look forward to meaningful negotiations in 2021," said a news release from local.