Negotiations on a new contract between Vale Manitoba Operations and United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6166 have yet to result in a tentative agreement with less than a week to go before the existing five-year agreement expires Sept. 15.
“We are in the last week and still respecting the process until we have a final offer,” USW Local 6166 president Warren Luky told the Thompson Citizen Sept. 9.
The union president previously said at the end of August that negotiators were working towards getting a deal but that there are always hurdles to overcome when bargaining.
“The bargaining teams for Vale and USW 6166 continue to meet and have made good progress to date,” Vale manager of Indigenous and corporate affairs of Manitoba and Ontario Ryan Land told the Citizen Sept. 9. “Vale remains committed to successfully achieving a new collective bargaining agreement by Sept.15. As the process is confidential, there are no further details to share at this time.”
The current agreement was approved by union members approved by an 80 per cent to 20 per cent margin in September 2014.
The 2014 contract talks marked the fifth time Inco or Vale and the Steelworkers had reached an agreement without a labour disruption since 1999.
At that time, USW Local 6166 represented about 1,400 workers in Thompson, including 1,200 employed by Vale. Now, following Birchtree Mine being placed on care and maintenance status in 2017 and Vale’s smelter and refinery in Thompson permanently shutting down about a year ago, only about 600 Steelworkers are employed by Vale.