May 28 2017 Press Release

USW Local 6166 Press Release

Since our last update we have had a number of meetings concerning the Birchtree closure and the Refiner/Smelter closures with several groups.

We have had several meetings with Manitoba Operations Management team to discuss incentives that are currently in the CBA and to consider including additional incentives for the Birchtree closure. We are expecting to have more to report on in the near future. There is a tremendous effort going on and we are doing everything we can to reduce or eliminate any layoffs of our membership by the Birchtree closure on October 01, 2017.

We have now appointed a USW committee to meet with Vale Management, who also has appointed individuals to review all language in the CBA. This is to ensure that we are following the correct process to integrate our members into the rest of the Manitoba Operations from Birchtree as well as the surface plants. 

On May 26, Vice-President Gord Medwid and I along with Mayor Fenske and Councillor Penny Byer met with Manitoba Provincial Government Minister Cliff Cullen of Growth, Enterprise and Trade. We presented our independent requests for help in Thompson with the recent Birchtree closure announcement. In that meeting the Government has initially stated that they want to help Thompson and the North but did not provide a lot of details as to any specifics. We have requested a response sooner rather than later from the Government as to what that help will be in order to deal with the many issues that we are faced with as a Union and City. 

We are also going to be meeting with Conner Spollen, the Chief Operating Officer for Base Metals in Canada and U.K. on June 1st in Winnipeg. We are prepared to discuss the recent events in Thompson and are expecting to get support from him on a number of initiatives we are working on locally and need to improve on at a corporate level.

We know people are anxious to know what the future looks for them and their families. We are constantly in committee work and meeting with many stakeholders in order to get the best possible results for everyone. Please keep your mind on your work and work safely. We would really like to be able to visit all crews in the plant that have questions about this, but at this time it is literally impossible with the amount of time spent in meetings and on committee work. We will continue to update you as we move forward.