By Sebastien Perth
The Sudbury Star
Union leaders say they are suspicious of a move by Vale to house temporary workers during construction of the company's $2-billion pollution reduction project in Sudbury.
"I think its 90-10, 90% towards the labour issue, 10% towards housing contract workers," said Dennis Theriault, vice-president of Steelworkers Local 6500. "I think our community of 160,000 can handle an influx of 1,300-1,800 workers, particularly when a great deal of those workers are supposed to be from our local community."
Vale has applied to the city's planning committee to amend a zoning bylaw to allow the company to house temporary workers working on its massive Clean AER project.
Theriault, however, said the application is a charade to hide Vale's real plans of housing replacement workers during a future labour dispute.
"I'm very disappointed and very concerned about this. The timing of the application reeks of an opportunity to house workers around the date of our contract ending. That would definitely have a huge impact on our bargaining position," Theriault said.
The collective bargaining agreement between the USW and Vale expires May 31, 2015.