Rally in Sudbury

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Rally in Sudbury

The rally in Sudbury Saturday in support of Vale Inco employees who are on strike,while reported in Rabble, was completely ignored by the MSM.  It was attended by international labour leaders and by Michael Moore who went there to show his film which was screened at the TIFF, but received not a whisper of coverage.  

If I have had paranoid feelings about the bias of the MSM against unions I now know it was not paranoia.


Well, in fairness (strange thing to say about the MSM...), today is Sunday, so I'd wait till tomorrow before drawing final conclusions. There was certainly lots of coverage leading up to the event. Also, are you sure Moore was physically there? His film was screened beforehand, and he certainly supported the rally, but he wasn't scheduled to attend.


Maysie Maysie's picture

Moving to the labour forum.


Interesting move of this topic. While it is a strike, it is a strike that has attracted international attention especially  with progressive media in other countries.  And so far the conversation in this thread is about the lack of coverage by our corporate and state media.  I did hear a piece on the CBC but our state media has down played it.  

This is a pivotal struggle in the fight against global capital it is not merely a labour issue.  All progressive people in Canada should pay attention and send their support wishes to the working people of Sudbury as they take on the battle.  This is an international solidarity issue.


Here is a link to Vale's website and their philosophy of employee relations. We must not let them beat the workers and their families in one of Canada's historic union towns. Literally workers from all over the world are watching this strike and cheering our our side.



. For the company’s employees, Vale aims to provide an ethical, transparent and challenging work environment that offers opportunities and engenders pride in the company, by following a competitive merit-based compensation system.


You would have thought Iggy would to be there to lend his and the liberal support for the workers cause - right? I mean he was all over the place this weekend as described breathlessly in the MSM, and one would have thought this would have been a great dig for Iggy to grab some media and show he was a man of the people - right?

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

I am all over the map on this one. The first issue I have is with the ongoing marketing of this country's natural resources to multi-national corporations and off-shore interests. This has gone on pretty much uncontested by the Harper government. One might refer to Tony Clement's, "Valley of Death" uninformed comments that were widely commented on in the media, (check this link for one example and this for another). Our current government's industrial policys seem to be one of divestiture and job exportation rather than sustainable employment and long term economic benefit. Reference, Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco, John Deere, Nortel, etc. etc. Canadians would be well advised to monitor the AECL as well, the "for sale" signs will be out soon.

As for the current labour situation in Sudbury, Vale's tactics are not new to the mining industry. In 2000-2001, Mine Mill/CAW struck Falconbridge for nearly seven months and dealt with replacement workers, intimidation, threats, and all of the other dirty tricks in the management tool kit. Interestingly, most of the management responsible for that debacle now are part of the management team at Vale Inco. (link to background information).

It goes without comment that the USWA is in for a long struggle. Their leadership know it, and so do the rank and file. A little positive media support would help. That is unlikely in the business friendly climate that seems to permeate this country. In the absence of media support, perhaps a little citizen action and support would serve in place of the corporate media, (www.fairdealnow.ca)


thanks Cat - this was huge but one would never know it by the MSM - labour needs their own press.

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

I agree that the labour movement needs to have its own press. What is available now is fragmented, as in the case of the plethora of individual Local and National Union sites, or as in the case of Labourstart, also fragmented. I am not a critic of Labourstart per se, but, it lacks organization and direction. It serves well as a resource site where all labour related stories are placed into one place. However, there is no sorting of the stories with regard to importance, topic, issues or whatever. Although I can agree with the idea of gathering all labour stories worldwide in one place, it results in information overload. There needs to be news aggregation with a much tighter geographic control, i.e. Canada only. Although this is possible, down to a provincial level on Labourstart, it is inconvenient and still results in an unorganized grab bag of labour related stories with no prioritization of issues.

"Our Times", is an effective tool for background information but suffers from the lack of immediacy that all magazine format print media is afflicted with. I generally had copies available about my office, but they didn't have the information that we needed on a day to day basis. Another magazine format site that saw a good deal of use at Mine Mill but was more health and safety related was the Health and Safety news.

Perhaps the best solution would be a more focused approach by Labourstart in addressing the problems faced by labour on a more specific geograpical and issue oriented basis that would be updated on a relatively frequent basis.

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

So... I thought about it some more and decided to add to what I have said in my comments above... More background about the strike on my blog, some of the links are really well done and should be bookmarked as sites that do provide a labour perspective. They include: the Real News Network, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Ontario Federation of Labour.


thanks Cat, and I like the idea of Labour start doing a daily news aggregator - I get emails from labourstart and you are right - it's info overload. I will check out your blog

I really, really like a labour news aggregator - national with perhaps some international - something like national newswatch - it could have daily news - mine what is said by labour and about labour, blogs, international but sorted in a way that is easily accessible.


Cat would you consider joining progressive bloggers - I think a progressive labour blog would be a nice fit there - particularly because you are progressive. Just a thought and suggestion. Progressive Bloggers


I like Our Times - I read every issue - it's modest, principled, lots of emphasis on women and POC, utterly nonsectarian (i.e. no union vs. union), not beholden to political parties ... and I forgive it its lack of "immediacy" for all those reasons. I don't look at labourstart any more, I'm ashamed to say, because I find it to be a hodgepodge. Also, I don't think "trade unionists" are a group apart in society, yet it seems to aggregate news by and about unions, for unionists. That's too narrow. But I don't want to be too critical - just expressing my feelings - because I have nothing better to offer.


I agree unionist, it should be about labour and not necessarily about unions. It thus would widen and diversify the community of readers and contributors.


          I was trying to find out what happened at Sudbury Rally by Steelworkers watched CBC,CTV and on-line.No media coverage of this important event concerning Labour Movement.Yet,tribute to Mulroney on Thurs. - Sept. 17/09,the Corporate crook was all over the airwaves.The biggest Corporate scam artist in Canadian history ( FTA,GST and cuts to social programs).But a very pivotal event in labour history concerning workers collective agreements,pensions and foreign ownership.Media cenorship of Labour struggle which concerns all workers in Canada because if Employers like Vale-Inco start getting concessions in hard recessionary times.They will expect every unionized worker in Canada to be part of concessionary bargaining.

          Some of us in the labour movement have fought to have CBC remain Public,through Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.But where is the fair and balanced reporting from CBC.This rally was in the news headlines prior to rally for Sept. 19/09 in Sudbury.What happened to Media coverage ?? Why should I and others like me fight to save CBC from Privitization and then receive no recognition for very important labour event.It's more then this one omission but this latest blackout of Labour Rally really proves the Corporate right-wing media is getting worse and worse.No balance what-so-ever.Whenever Harper opens his mouth their all over it.This has gone beyond media censorship of labour events into blatant refusal to cover labour dissent or disruptions which is very agitating and an outright insult to the labour movement.

          Eventually found coverage in Sudbury newspaper but not on CBC website for Sudbury.Absolutely media censorship of labour sponsored events and nothing on Monday - Sept.21/09.Wrote complaint to CBC and challenged Ombudsman to respond to my article,no response.Michael Moore was also supposed to put in an appearance but I don't know if he did(Capitalism : A Love Story).

          Therefore rather then draw conclusions I would just say beware of Media which finds it impossible to give balanced coverage of important news stories concerning Labour Movement.The "Revolution will not be televised".


          Also,anyone wanting to read more left-wing journalism.There's always Canadian Dimension(Winnipeg) and Briarpatch (Regina) or This Magazine (Toronto).Well researched articles,fair and balanced reporting from left-wing perspective.Rabble of course.


"Why should I and others like me fight to save CBC from Privitization and then receive no recognition for very important labour event.It's more then this one omission but this latest blackout of Labour Rally really proves the Corporate right-wing media is getting worse and worse."

I agree - I use to send them a bit of $ each year, but in the last election where the cbc was so obviously ignorant to the NDP, when they phoned - friends of CBC - I said that I wasn't interested in supporting a public broadcaster that was humping for both corporate parties.

The CBC should be ashamed - and friends of CBC need to think "what we are keeping alive."

Sure the public broadcaster is under lots of pressure to public only certain news but come on - nothing on this?


janfromthebruce wrote:

You would have thought Iggy would to be there to lend his and the liberal support for the workers cause - right? I mean he was all over the place this weekend as described breathlessly in the MSM, and one would have thought this would have been a great dig for Iggy to grab some media and show he was a man of the people - right?

[url=http://www.ndp.ca/press/hey-liberals-welcome-to-sudbury]Hey Liberals, welcome to Sudbury[/url]


Is this true? What about Voisey's Bay?

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/07/04/vale-workers-deal.html]Vale settles with Sudbury miners[/url]


Brazilian mining giant Vale has reached a tentative agreement with the United Steelworkers to end an Ontario strike that has lasted nearly a year.

The metals miner, formerly known as Vale Inco Ltd., said Sunday it settled on a new five-year contract with two union locals representing 3,000 nickel production and maintenance employees in Sudbury and Port Colborne.[...]

Before reaching an impasse, the two sides had agreed on all issues except one — the firing of nine workers during the strike and whether they were entitled to arbitration.

A statement from Fonseca had said the impasse was not acceptable to the communities involved, nor the government.

A statement from USW Local 6500 said an agreement had been reached to have the firing issue heard by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, beginning Friday.

"This removes the remaining obstacle in the long struggle with Vale," the local said.

The union said ratification votes have been scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Sudbury and Thursday in Port Colborne.


Apparently no deal yet at Voisey's Bay in Labrador:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/07/05/vale-lab... Fraser of USW hopes Vale will settle at Voisey's Bay as well[/url]


[url=http://linchpin.ca/content/Work-workplace/One-day-longer-Vale-Inco-strik... day longer? The Vale-Inco strike comes to a close[/url]

By Scott Neigh
Northern Ontario Correspondent

On July 7 and 8, 2010, striking members of United Steel Workers Local 6500 in Sudbury, Ontario, voted 75% in favour of a contract that ended a bitter strike against transnational mining giant Vale Inco. The 3300 strikers had been on the picket lines for almost one year (along with members of Local 6200 in Port Colborne, Ontario, who voted in favour by a similar margin).

Despite the immense effort and sacrifices made by workers over the course of the year-long ordeal, the settlement marks a defeat for a local with a reputation for strength in a town with a reputation for solidarity. It is a hard moment for those who are returning to work -- who endured so much and still lost significant ground -- but as the world faces the renewed neo-liberal assault promised by leaders at the recent G20 summit in Toronto, it is important to ask critical questions that might strengthen all of our struggles in the difficult times ahead.

[url=http://linchpin.ca/content/Work-workplace/One-day-longer-Vale-Inco-strik... the rest of the article...[/url]



The workers in Sudbury in the 50's were in the vanguard of unions that won pensions and benefits after hard struggles against impossible odds. They did not stand alone.  The union movement across the country stood up and sent food and money to keep the strikers going.

Where was the war chest from the other unions in Canada?  Where was the financial support to withstand anything this nasty employer good throw at these brave workers?  Our unions have more assets than at any other time in their history and they can't figure out how to use them to protect the gains made by the trade unionists who were not afraid to fight no matter what the odds.

Shame on the CLC and Ont Fed for sending pittances and empty rhetoric.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..excellent article mick.

..in the early 80's i attended a clc convention in winnipeg. i will always remember the president of 6500 who i believe was gary patterson at the mike. he was criticizing dennis mcdermott for not supporting cupw the year jean-claude parrot went to jail for defying back to work legislation. he said that mcdermott needed a swift kick in the pants. more than hundred speakers were lined up all along the convention walls waiting to criticize the clc for it's inaction in defending labour struggles.


Last summer, Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram were killed in an avalanche of wet muck, gravel, and sand at the Frood-Stobie mine. United Steelworkers has just released its report of its investigation. [url=http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3487846]Rick Bertrand, president of USW Local 6500, said the report by the local's five-member investigation team concludes Chenier and Fram were killed "directly as a result of the reckless disregard of the mine's owner, Vale."[/url]