Staying Strong

June 1, 2015

 

IAM would like to thank the members and executives of USW locals 7106 and 9338 for their continued support during this stressful time. We recognize the effort your bargaining committee put in to get a contract that the large majority of USW members are satisfied with – despite the bad faith bargaining tactics used by Hudbay. As a group, we are of course disappointed, as we would have appreciated adding your voices to the cause – but our fight is with Hudbay.

We believe that infighting will only serve to weaken our cause and our community and we will not give Hudbay that victory. Each union will eventually have the same choices IAM and USW have had to make. IAM will continue to hold the line and all we ask is for your continued support.

Thank you to our co-workers who continue to work safely in our absence and to those who have spent time with us on the line, to community members who have dropped by to ask questions and make donations, to the generosity of our local businesses, and to everyone who has offered support in any way.

Let’s continue to show solidarity in the face of Hudbay’s tactics.

History Repeat Itself ?

 

On the eve of the Steelworkers local 7106 and local 9338 monumental vote on the final offer they received, there is a lot to think about.

The only way the Steelworkers would receive a final offer was if they agreed to recommend it to their membership.

If they didn’t recommend it, they wouldn’t receive any offer and would be locked out of the plant.

Is this not the same as holding a loaded gun to their head?

How can this be bargaining in good faith?

Is this 1997 again?

Are we going to let this company bully its workers and our community again?

Fool me once, shame on you…

Fool me twice , shame on me!

Are we going to let this company scare us into another unfair contract.

How can we accept crumbs off the floor when management is enjoying loaves of bread on the table above us.

We must look up.

It may take a struggle to reach up and grab it.

But we cannot settle and starve off of the floor.

We cannot let this happen twice.

This time it’s different.

In ’97, if the vote didn’t go their way they were closing the doors.

The first one didn’t go right so they had a second, which did…

Then low and behold, from under our nose out appeared the cell house and 777.

Billions and billions of dollars have come out of this ground.

Here we our today.

Will we let history repeat itself ?

May 29 Meeting Update

 

This morning your IAM Negotiating Team met with the Federal Conciliator to attend a meeting initiated by him to explore possibilities in resolving our outstanding issues and ending the present work stoppage.

Unfortunately his efforts were unsuccessful in resolving any of our issues and we have not found any common ground. We still remain at an impasse.

Stay Strong.

In solidarity,

Your Negotiating Committee

Send Them Back To The Table

 

The United Steelworkers Local 7106 have reached a tentative deal with Hudbay that its executive will recommend to its membership for a ratification vote that will take place on Saturday May 30, Sunday May 31 and Monday June 01.

We would like to interpret this deal because it is almost identical to the final offer that the IAM membership rejected by the overwhelming margin of 96%.

Hudbay has maintained it’s attitude towards it’s employees since the beginning of our 2012 agreement.

They employ a management style where employees are bullied and threatened, then beaten into submission so that management can get their will.

One has to wonder if this is Hudbay’s policy for management everywhere. In their third world holdings, where the workers don’t have rights, this attitude may succeed and they can impose their will without consequence.

We all must stand up to this corporate bully.

The way Hudbay treats us is appalling and it must be stopped.

Now to the tentative deal.

In plain and simple English, it is a BAD DEAL!

USW’s bargaining committee was forced into a recommendation because management knew that they promised to bring back any offer for the membership to vote on. Under the threat of a lockout, and the addition of 25c in the second year of the agreement, they had no choice.

They promised not to leave any money on the table, but 25c over a year is only $520.

It’s NOT ENOUGH, but if we fight together it can be so much more. Industry standard is what we deserve.

None of our important language issues have been addressed. Zero, natta, zilch, NOT ONE!

The language in our CBA must be changed. It’s not working. They interpret it as they see fit and then operate without rules.

USW has been offered the Federal Mediation language that has been in the IAM’s CBA for the last 3 years to deal with grievances. It does not work. It’s as slow as the current grievance procedure.

Real language changes must be made NOW to make it efficient and effective to deal with our issues.

Contracting out language has not been addressed. Until the language is fixed we will continue to lose more and more of our jobs to contractors. We must STOP IT NOW!

The IAM has stood up to Hudbay…

We will not be threatened. We will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated. We will not be lied to.

We aren’t afraid. We will be respected. We will stand tall. We won’t bend. We will NEVER BREAK!

We will sacrifice and we will hold this line until it is fixed.

We need everyone to join us in this fight.

Together we will make this company listen. We will get what is fair and what we deserve.

We can’t be selfish. We must sacrifice. Nothing will be given to us.

We can’t be afraid. This company would not spend millions on contingency plans, millions in the zinc cell house, buy the gold mill in Snow Lake, develop Lalor and Reed Mines, if they were shutting the doors.

We will not believe company lies anymore.

When you cast your ballot, you must do what is right, you must vote NO!

You must send your bargaining Committee back to the table.

We must all tell Hudbay WE WANT THE RESPECT WE DESERVE!

Inspiration?

 

We would like to share with everyone a couple inspirational and moving stories that has given us a much broader outlook on the IAM’s crusade for justice for all worker’s rights here in Flin Flon.

This battle against corporate greed is not only here.

This battle is taking place in different towns and cities.

It’s taking place in countries all around the world.

As our members were manning our picket line a unknown vehicle with a person who nobody recognized approached it.

He was an older fellow and our member who was talking to him could tell he was emotional.

He refused to give us his name and wanted to remain anonymous. All he would tell us was that he was a heavy duty mechanic like one of us. He said he was from South Africa and he was here representing all workers from his home country.

He told us not to ever give up the fight. He told us to keep fighting until we get every issue of ours solved. You don’t realize how big this battle is everywhere. Corporate greed can never win.

He said he wished to make a small donation on their behalf.

It was $500, and said there is more to come.

Today another stranger came to our office.

He to was an older fellow and was also very emotional.

He asked who he could give a small donation to.

He told us to never give up the fight and never stop battling. You must continue the fight against these greedy corporations. Your strength is an inspiration. Tell all your Unions to join you and fight for what is right.

It was $1000.

We all shook his hand and asked him his name. He told us that his name wasn’t important. All that is, is what we are doing.

As he was leaving we asked him where did all this money come from?

He turned around and said, this money comes from miners in Brazil. They work hard everyday in the mines for $400 a month and they find what you are doing here in Flin Flon an inspiration and wanted to help.

It was a humbling experience that we will never forget.

The workers in these countries are now starting to fight for their workers rights.

They are facing off against their government and army in order to get them.

Many of them die in the riots and protests for what we take for granted.

We are their inspiration?

We promise them

We will never give up the fight. We will never bend or break. We won’t waiver. We will be steadfast. We will be strong to the bitter end.

We will never allow corporate greed to ever win!

Solidarity?

 

Divide and conquer has been a war tactic used since the beginning of time.

It’s simple in how it works, it is easier to defeat your enemy by splitting up its forces and defeat the smaller parts than the whole all at once.

Threatening, bullying and scaring the enemy before battle is how it starts.

This has been Hudbay’s agenda all along.

Why are we allowing this to happen?

Doesn’t everyone get that this is the battle for our lives. If we lose this battle, we are sacrificing our future and the futures of generations to come.

We have come out of a 15 year agreement where Hudbay has raped and pillaged their employees. They have taken away all that they can and have given us nothing.

There was nothing we could do, our hands were tied.

Until now.

Hudbay doesn’t respect us. Hudbay doesn’t care about us. They employ 1930’s labour relations with their employees when there were no rights. Beating us into submission is all they know.

Breaking our Unions is their ultimate goal.

Make no mistake about it, we are now at war.

Hudbay is willing to sacrifice production.

Spend millions on a contingency plan.

Risk losing their skilled trades.

Run their plant into the ground.

All to win.

Why aren’t we all sacrificing to win.

The IAM is fighting the battle for all of us.

Why must only we sacrifice to win this fight.

Where is all our other union brothers and sisters?

Our fight is your fight. Our gains are your gains.

We cannot let Hudbay divide us

We cannot let Hudbay bully and threaten us into an unfair agreement.

We cannot be afraid. We cannot be selfish. We all must make a sacrifice for the better.

Together, all Unions must stand up and be heard. This is the time to make a change for our future.

Hudbay will respect us. We will solve our issues. We will get paid fairly.

We will change this company’s attitude.

We can once again be proud to be Hudbay employees.

It is time everyone stepped up and join this fight to get what we deserve.

Contracting Out?

 

Contracting out of IAM jobs is one of the biggest issues that our Union has to deal with.

It creates the majority of the grievances that we file against management.

Before this strike started we had a membership of 181 members.

Since we have been on strike we have had 10 of our members retire. That leaves us with a membership now of 171 members.

Using our math, if we were at our full manning levels throughout the surface plant and all our mines we should have a membership of 210 members working at Hudbay.

From our calculations, we are 40 members short.

That could be 40 families added to our communities that would increase our tax base and help pay for infrastructure.

It’s an additional 40 IAM jobs that must be filled before any contractor is allowed to do our work.

Contractors are payed at a much higher wage rate than our members.

The companies that provide them even get paid more. This could be up to $200/hr per each contract employee.

It is huge money.

Don’t get us wrong, there is a place for contractors in the mining industry. Many of them actually live in our community with their families and many are our friends and family.

But many do not, their money leaves with them not supporting our community infrastructure at all.

Why are we so short?

How does it make business sense to pay a contractor at $200/hr when they could pay their own employee at the industry standard of $42/hr?

The solution is easy.

Start paying your tradespeople at the industry standard. Not only will you keep the seasoned plant savvy ones you have, you will attract many more.

Fix the issues with your apprentice wage gap and service agreement and you will create more.

Stop wasting millions of Hudbay’s money on contractors.

It’s time to start investing in your own employees.

Only working together, we will maximize profits for us all.

In solidarity,

Your negotiating Committee

Health Plan Coverage

 

After we have inquired with management about stopping our health plan coverage and then restarting it at a future date, we were told that it is not possible.

With our limited funds we believe that stopping our coverage while our members are topped up with their prescription medication at this point will be the most cost effective measure we can employ at this time.

We are actively exploring options with different health plan providers on coverage that they can provide for us that will match the plan we are currently under.

Once a provider is found, purchasing the coverage at the time when our members are at the point that their prescription medication is running out is the most responsible action we can take moving forward.

Members should ensure that they should go see their doctor and make sure they topped up to the maximum amount of medication before Saturday May 30 when our current coverage will expire.

In solidarity,

Your negotiating Committee

Week 4 Strike Update

 

 

As the IAM strike enters it’s fourth week, we want to applaud the strength and resolve our membership have shown with our continued strong presence on the strike line.

The first strike pay cheque is now available to our eligible members who have been manning our picket lines. Future cheques can be collected every Friday of each week from our union office.

As many of you know already we have filed a formal complaint to the labour board through the local law firm Ginnell, Bauman and Watt. The grounds for the case is unfair bargaining and the illegal use of replacement workers. There has never been a bargaining process from the start, and being told no is not bargaining in good faith. The people who can make decisions have never sat at the bargaining table with us. Their negotiating team have been following a script from the very start with no power to make any decisions. This has never been about bargaining, it’s been about breaking this union all along. The use of scab workers to break the union is against the law.

We believe there is 12 scab workers now working in our mines at 777, Lalor and Reed. The companies that are supplying these scab workers are Procon, McClean Engineering, Atlas Copco, Dumas, Sedarc and Sandvik. Hudbay wants us to all believe that these contractors are sticking to audits and warranty of their equipment. This is not true. We have received information that these scab workers are doing our work to try and keep the mine running.

We want our members to know that our strike and our issues are starting to go worldwide. When we started our strike our web page had 100,000 hits. We checked our website recently to see what kind of activity has been taking place on it. We couldn’t believe it. We have gone viral. We found that our web page is now up to 530,000 hits. We have had 300,000 hits in the month of May alone. Shareholders, our members, members of our community, management and people around the world are following our cause. We have had investment firms with major stake in Hudbay stock reaching out us to get our side of what is taking place here in Flin Flon and Snow Lake. They are no longer drinking the juice that Hudbay is providing.

We have also made an inquiry into the permits that allow the buses supplied by Hudbay to operate. We have reached out to our NDP government to ask why they would sign permits to allow buses supplied by a corporation to cross a picket line when a union is on strike. The NDP government has been a labour friendly, pro-union party since its inception. The NDP has lost it’s way. They have made a huge mistake and we hope they will remedy this situation. We are waiting for a response from Steve Ashton, the Minister of Transportation. We hope he sees the light.

On a final note, we want to implore our membership to remain steadfast and strong. We must stand tall. We must stand together in solidarity. We cannot waiver. This battle is too important. Hudbay will not break this union. Together we will get what we deserve.

In solidarity,

your Negotiating Commitee

Homegrown Trades?

 

Management wants us to believe that there is no problem with attracting trades at Hudbay.

Really?

The problem is that the journeyman rate has fallen so far below industry standard for our area and no one is coming here.

Why would you when everywhere else in the North pays significantly more.

For years Hudbay has relied on apprentices they have built alongside the skillful, experienced journeyman who have spent their entire careers in the plant.

Make no mistake about it, our trades work on equipment from the 1930’s all the way to brand new installations today.

Many times the old machinery that is worked on routinely is now obsolete with parts that cannot be ordered anymore.

Our trades find a way to make it run.

Build the parts needed.

So production carries on.

This experience and skill cannot be learned overnight, it takes years for it to be passed on.

That is why Hudbay has had such success passing knowledge from generation to generation of their trades.

This is not the case anymore.

Becoming an apprentice is not attractive anymore.

In most cases, as soon as you start your apprenticeship Hudbay cuts your wage by $4-5/hr.

They force you to sign a service agreement committing 8-10 years service when you start.

You are required to move once a year for technical training in another city. You are required to pay hundreds of dollars for textbooks. You are required to pay for lodging for 8-10 weeks for the duration of your schooling level.

It’s a financial strain. The bills at home don’t change, just the added expense of living away.

Many leave their family and kids, not to see them for months at a time.

It’s a sacrifice not many are willing to make.

They wonder why apprenticeship bulletins go unanswered.

We proposed a narrowing of the gap between apprentice start wage and journeyman rate to help the financial strain at the beginning.

We proposed reducing the service agreement to a reasonable and realistic amount.

We want to make it more attractive to become a trade.

We were told NO.

With are valued tradespeople moving on to better, more attractive pastures.

With no apprentices to fill their shoes.

Who will be left?

In solidarity,

Your Negotiating Committee