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Brazilian and Canadian Union Leaders Meet in Thompson PDF Print E-mail
Brazilian and Canadian Union Leaders Meet in Thompson: Agree to Support Each Other in Bargaining         
12 AUGUST 2008 -
http://www.usw.ca/program/content/5216.php
BODY {font-family="Arial"} TT {font-family="Courier New"} BLOCKQUOTE.CITE {padding-left:0.5em; margin-left:0; margin-right:0; margin-top:0; margin-bottom:0; border-left:"solid 2";} SPAN.TABOOHEADER {display=none}THOMPSON, MB - Trade union representatives from across Canada and from Brazil converged on Thompson Manitoba on August 12-13 to meet with United Steelworkers union (USW) leaders from Local 6166, and offer their support and encouragement for upcoming negotiations between Vale and Local 6166.
"It is important for us to be here to personally offer our support to the bargaining committee and members of Local 6166, and to make sure Vale understands that the entire Steelworker family is 100 per cent behind our brothers and sisters in Thompson," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.
"Brazilian Vale workers stand in solidarity with Steelworkers in Thompson," said Eduardo Pinto, leader of the Sindicato dos Ferroviarios do Maranhoa-MA, CNTT. "Today we have discussed ways in which Vale unions in Canada and Brazil might support each other in our bargaining processes at different Vale operations. We discussed ways in which we might support negotiations in Thompson, and actions Brazilian unions might take to place additional pressure on Vale management, depending on how negotiations proceed here."
"We understand the value of global union solidarity," said Jorge Campos of the union Sindimina-RJ, CNTSM. "When we signed the Sudbury Accord: Building Global Workers Power in 2007 we committed to 'support each other in the collective bargaining process'. We stand by the commitment."
The United Steelworkers and USW Local 6166 are hosting a group of 5 Brazilian trade union leaders representing workers employed by Vale in Brazil, as well as Steelworkers representatives from
"The Thompson meeting marks another milestone in the development of the Steelworkers relationship with the Brazilian Vale Unions," said Steve Hunt, Director of District 3, USW. "We again discovered that we have several issues in common with our brothers and sisters in Brazil, including concerns around compensation and the sharing of Vale's astronomical profits through profit sharing programs, the environment and relationships with local communities, and health and safety."
"We discussed how we can take practical steps, despite differences in language, cultural, and laws, to assist each other," said Wayne Fraser, Director of District 6. "Canadian Steelworkers have developed some of the best and most innovative health and safety programs in the mining industry in the world, and we are looking at area as an area of joint work."
"It is a real pleasure for Local 6166 to host Steelworkers in Thompson," said Les Ellsworth, president of USW 6166, "and it has been especially interesting and valuable to learn about the strategies of Brazilian trade union leaders in dealing with Vale management, and the way Brazilian unions are building a union network inside of Brazil and how they are building community support and involvement around issues of the environment and balanced economic development.
At some point in the future, after we get the kind of collective agreement our members deserve, I'm looking to be part of a Steelworker delegation to Brazil that would allow us to experience first hand how Brazilian workers build workers power and deal with Vale on their home turf," Ellsworth said.
Canada's most diverse union, the USW represents more than 280,000 men and women working in every sector of the economic.
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, (416) 487-1571 or (416) 558-2510;
Les Ellsworth, President USW Local 6166, (204) 677-1705
 
Sudbury veggies may be toxic: group PDF Print E-mail
Sudbury veggies may be toxic: group               
No amount of lead is healthy for children. Sudbury soils contain 10 times the normal amount Posted By CAROL MULLIGAN, THE SUDBURY STARFreeman said Environmental Defence isn't calling for such a ban, and he admitted even discussing it "is a really difficult area for us to deal with."
Environmental Defence has led the call for residents in southern Ontario to "eat locally" to improve their health.
"We weren't calling for a ban on growing local vegetables," said Freeman in a telephone interview, "but we did want to highlight that this should be on the table."
He said the consultants who wrote the soils study's risk assessment recommended the high levels of metals in vegetables "should be very concerning to those who are eating locally grown food.
"Now, they assumed people were eating imported food, so they didn't take that into account," said Freeman.
When it comes to lead, a safe level has never been determined because it is so toxic, he said.
"So feeding (children) produce that has 10 times the normal levels, we think that's a risky proposition."
Freeman said the high levels of metals in locally grown foods highlight the need for mining companies to reduce levels of pollution.
"You've got an overflowing bathtub," said Freeman.
"The first thing you have to do is turn off the water."
Secondly, there has to be a cleanup effort in the communities most as risk.
Better tracking of health issues in the community should also be done with biomonitoring -- testing people for the levels of pollution in their bodies, he said.
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to test for metal levels in individuals' bodies, he said.
"You could actually do quite a comprehensive healthy study of the community for not an expensive cost," he said.
Committee member Homer Seguin said Sudburians need to know the vegetables they grow contain 10 times the Canadian average levels of several heavy metals.
Small amounts of food eaten from summer gardens aren't a problem.
But people should know if "you're putting your children at risk by giving them extra contaminants."
He criticized the Sudbury Soils Study for not issuing warnings related to homegrown produce.
come people eat a good deal of food they grow, "and they're at big risk," said Seguin.
To read the study by Environmental Defence Canada, visit <http://www.toxicnation.ca
   
     



October 24, 2008
Sudburians may want to think twice about eating homegrown vegetables.
They contain more than 10 times the typical Canadian levels of lead, arsenic and nickel, says Environmental Defence Canada.
Local residents should know the potential risks so they can "choose to minimize their exposure," says the watchdog group in a report released in Sudbury this week.
The report is an analysis of the Human Health Risk Assessment released in May by the Sudbury Soils Study.
A group calling itself the Community Committee on the Sudbury Soils Study commissioned Environmental Defence to hire a scientific expert to examine data contained in the risk assessment.Aaron Freeman, policy director of Environmental Defence Canada, said communities often don't have the means to critique a study like the Human Health Risk Assessment, "so they asked us to come in," said Freeman.Freeman said Environmental Defence isn't calling for such a ban, and he admitted even discussing it "is a really difficult area for us to deal with."
Environmental Defence has led the call for residents in southern Ontario to "eat locally" to improve their health.
"We weren't calling for a ban on growing local vegetables," said Freeman in a telephone interview, "but we did want to highlight that this should be on the table."
He said the consultants who wrote the soils study's risk assessment recommended the high levels of metals in vegetables "should be very concerning to those who are eating locally grown food.
"Now, they assumed people were eating imported food, so they didn't take that into account," said Freeman.
When it comes to lead, a safe level has never been determined because it is so toxic, he said.
"So feeding (children) produce that has 10 times the normal levels, we think that's a risky proposition."
Freeman said the high levels of metals in locally grown foods highlight the need for mining companies to reduce levels of pollution.
"You've got an overflowing bathtub," said Freeman.
"The first thing you have to do is turn off the water."
Secondly, there has to be a cleanup effort in the communities most as risk.
Better tracking of health issues in the community should also be done with biomonitoring -- testing people for the levels of pollution in their bodies, he said.
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to test for metal levels in individuals' bodies, he said.
"You could actually do quite a comprehensive healthy study of the community for not an expensive cost," he said.
Committee member Homer Seguin said Sudburians need to know the vegetables they grow contain 10 times the Canadian average levels of several heavy metals.
Small amounts of food eaten from summer gardens aren't a problem.
But people should know if "you're putting your children at risk by giving them extra contaminants."
He criticized the Sudbury Soils Study for not issuing warnings related to homegrown produce.
come people eat a good deal of food they grow, "and they're at big risk," said Seguin.
To read the study by Environmental Defence Canada, visit <http://www.toxicnation.ca
   
     



The group hired Dr. Kapil Khatter, a family physician and environment and health expert who has worked with Environmental Defence, to look at the risk assessment.
One of the more startling suggestions in Khatter's analysis is that a ban on growing local vegetables "might be considered given their level of contamination.
"Given there is no safe level of lead for children, feeding them vegetables with 10 times the normal levels of lead seems a poor health choice," it says in the report.
Read more...
 
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