USW 6166 Press Release re: Update on the Manitoba Division
On August 28, 2017, I received a call from Mark Scott, Vice-President, Manitoba Operations requesting a meeting between USW Local 6166 Executive and Vale Manitoba Operations Management Team. We met as an executive with Vale and received an update from Mark Scott on the state of affairs in the Manitoba Operations. We were informed that the new CEO of Vale undertook a 60 day review across the whole Company. In the presentations there was a number of possible scenarios presented for the Manitoba Operations. We were informed that Nickel prices are at an all-time low and it has stayed low for the longest period in the Nickel Industry history. We were also told that Manitoba Operations will have to stand on its own in all levels of Nickel prices. The current forecast is that Manitoba Operations will have a loss of 50 million dollars this year. The Operation has many challenges ahead to keep cost down and increase productivity in order to sustain the business in the years ahead.
After receiving the above update, I appointed 5 Executive members, including myself, to meet with the Vale Management team to look at a number of ideas that we could roll out to all stakeholders. We are currently still working on prioritizing these ideas to roll out.
On September 19, 2017, I called a meeting with all Union Activists (packed room) to give them an update on what was happening and to try and squash the rumour mill that was circulating about a big announcement coming. We will be dealing with a 200 Million dollar budget for a Mine/Mill Operation and the message is that we will have to cut 40 million dollars out of this budget in order to be cash flow positive. The message is being made very clear by me that our members have to get proper line-ups, jobs planned properly, good maintenance programs and available parts/equipment in order to be able to get production out by the workforce. On the other hand, our members have to adhere to the times set out in legislation and the C.B.A for lunch breaks and coffee breaks. On September 20, 2017, the same message was given to the Membership at the monthly membership meeting. In order for us to be successful like we were with the 100 million dollar challenge a few years ago, we will all (staff and hourly) need to be pulling in the same direction. If we do, I believe we can still have a long future in the Manitoba Operations.
On September 29, 2017, presentations will start and run for a two week period with all crews throughout the Manitoba Operations. I encourage all members to attend, unfortunately I will not be able to attend all meetings at the plant, but we are going to try and have executive and fulltime union representatives in attendance at all meetings.
We also conducted 4 meetings at the Legion in the spring to deal with the Workforce Labour adjustments that will occur with upcoming layoffs in the New Year. We had a very low turnout and these meetings will take place again in the near future. I would like to encourage all members that believe they may be affected by layoffs to attend those meetings.