The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
United Steelworkers Local 6500 is stepping up its call for the Government of Ontario to commission an inquiry into mining practices by printing 3,000 more postcards demanding the inquiry and seeking an appointment to meet with Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey over the summer.
The campaign was prompted by United Steelworkers’ investigation into and report on the June 8, 2011, deaths of Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26, at Vale Ltd.’s Stobie Mine.
USW investigators concluded that warnings from Chenier about safety hazards in the mine, including con-c erns about excess water, wen t unheeded by Vale and ultimately resulted in the men’s deaths.
The Labour ministry has laid charges against the Brazil-based mining giant and one of its supervisors under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. A first court appearance on those provincial offences is scheduled for August.
But USW wants a review of mining practices, which it says have changed dramatically since the last official investigation was conducted more than 30 years ago.
That inquiry was chaired by labour relations expert Kevin Burkett, who helped mediate a settlement to the year-long strike against Vale by USW Local 6500 in Sudbury and Local 6200 in Port Colborne ending in July 2010.
The union is also calling for the Labour ministry to establish a committee to review the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and its enforcement, to ensure the safety of employees in the mining industry is protected.
Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand said his union has “a lot to talk about” with Jeffrey when they finally meet.
He isn’t buying the official line from Jeffrey’s press secretary, Greg Dennis, that adequate measures are in place to improve mining practices, such as random mine inspections and a committee of mining professionals that reviews the industry continuously.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/07/12/union-continues-its-push-for-mining-inquiry