Victory At Falconbridge

CAW/TCA, 20 February 2001

Sudbury—The Canadian Auto Workers union Local 598 has ended a tough seven month strike at Falconbridge in Sudbury. Rolly Gauthier, Local 598 president recommended acceptance of the contract.

Rolly Gauthier
President, CAW Mine Mill, Local 598

They used the courts. They used the police. They used injunctions. They built up as many barriers as they possibly could to try to defeat the membership but they didn't. We stood in solidarity with one another and we reached a collective agreement that we believe we can live with for another three years.

Throughout the seven-month strike, the company used scab workers and spent millions in armed security to try to break the union's solidarity. Hemi Mitic, CAW assistant to the president applauded the efforts of the workers in fighting back.

Hemi Mitic
CAW Assistant to the President

I don't blame our members for being aggressive. There is nothing worse in our society then somebody stealing a workers job. It is like me, or anyone else here, reaching into your pocket and taking your wallet. And that's stealing and as far as I am concerned we should have the right, as workers, to stop anybody from stealing.

While the agreement provides a 50-cent an hour increase in wages plus a two thousand dollar signing bonus, and increased pension benefits; the real victory was the successful fight against the company's attempt to weaken the union. Local 598 President Rolly Gauthier warned the members that, while the strike is settled, the fight with the company is far from over.

Rolly Gauthier
President, CAW Mine Mill, Local 598

As I am standing before you today, that their challenge to rip the heart of our collective agreement, this is their first challenge. I have no doubt that three years from now the company is going to want to try and get what they didn't get this time around and go for the rest. That's a challenge that we as a union and as a membership and our families have to build towards in the next three years.

The Local 598 members voted unanimously to pay twelve cents an hour, into a special strike-support fund.