USW escalates campaign to get Rio Tinto Off the Podium
TORONTO - United Steelworkers (USW) members demonstrated this week at Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) offices to convince Canada's Olympic organizers to help get mining giant Rio Tinto "Off the Podium."
USW activists delivered the message in person to COC officials on June 20 and distributed leaflets to passersby at Toronto's busy Yonge and St. Clair intersection.
The USW has been campaigning since April to remove Rio Tinto as an Olympic supplier because the company fails to meet the ethical standards expected of Olympic suppliers.
The main issue for Steelworkers is Rio Tinto's lockout of 780 USW members at the company's profitable smelter in Alma, Quebec, over contracting-out issues. The Alma workers have been locked out by Rio Tinto since December 2011.
"Why should Rio Tinto be allowed to associate itself with the Olympics, especially given the London Games' commitment to sustainability?" asked USW National Director Ken Neumann. "Rio Tinto is deliberately trying to eliminate good community-sustaining jobs in Alma and replace them with precarious contract jobs at half the pay and no benefits."
The Steelworkers' campaign aims to publicize that athletes will be wearing tarnished medals unless Rio Tinto is removed as an Olympic supplier.
"Don't let Rio Tinto tarnish the Olympic Games," the Steelworkers' leaflet states. "We're fighting to get this bad corporate citizen off the podium and get the workers in Alma, Quebec back to work!"
Twenty-five trade unions throughout the world have contacted their national Olympic committees, protesting Rio Tinto's involvement and requesting the company's removal from the Games.
The USW is escalating its Off The Podium campaign, which is supported by IndustriALL, a global union federation representing more than 50 million workers.
For more information on the campaign to get Rio Tinto off the Olympic podium, see www.offthepodium.org.
For more information:
Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-5968, email@example.com.