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Letter: Save our city — a simple alternative

Vale’s grant-in-lieu should reflect the total number of employees at its operations in Thompson, including unionized hourly employees and external contractors.
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Vale Manitoba Operations in Thompson.

To the Editor:

Since the current operator of the former Inco nickel complex has chosen to replace unionized workers with contractors, a practice utilized for about 10 years by United Steelworkers of America Local 1064 in its operations could help alleviate the reduction of revenues to the City of Thompson.

The system used at Sydney Steel Corporation in the period from 1973, for accommodating contractors during modernization, would work well at this nickel operation. Since the use of contractors in the huge steel complex required hundreds of them, the local insisted that all contractor employees were the equivalent to union employees. They were required to pay union dues to the local and the grant in lieu of taxes was maintained at a level reflecting the presence on their operations of both union and non-union employees. 

Although Vale has chosen to reduce its grant-in-lieu to the City of Thompson, all employees at our complex should be required to do the same as at Sydney Steel.

Contractors use our municipal services — i.e. paved roads, fresh water, sewage treatment, our city-maintained infrastructure — so why should the taxpayers of Thompson be required to provide these services at no cost to the employer of non-union or unionized men and women at the Vale Manitoba Operations?

It worked at Sydney Steel Corporation, but the onus is on USW Local 6166 to insist on such a policy in their next collective bargaining agreement.

Angus Campbell Sr.


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