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Disrespect, substandard wages lead to Steelworkers strike at SNOLAB

May 8, 2024
A group of people standing side-by-side outdoors, in front of a trailer. The photo was taken in the evening, marking the beginning of a strike, so the surroundings are dark.

SUDBURY, Ont. — Members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) are on strike at the world-renowned SNOLAB research laboratory.

Members of USW Local 2020-59 began their strike this morning, following repeated attempts to negotiate fair wages and greater respect from SNOLAB management.

The workers had voted unanimously in April to reject a substandard “final” offer from SNOLAB. Rather than make a meaningful attempt to reach a fair deal, SNOLAB management responded with another unacceptable offer that was overwhelmingly rejected by the workers and resulted in strike action at 12:01 a.m. today.

“Our members are passionate about their jobs and are extremely proud of the work they do. Their expectations of how they should be compensated by SNOLAB are very reasonable and fair,” said Pascal Boucher, USW Area Co-ordinator.

“These workers have made SNOLAB a world-class research facility, but they’re struggling. They’re not looking to get rich – they just want respect and to be able to afford to live,” said Boucher.

SNOLAB’s disrespect towards its employees was further exposed as the workers were voting on the latest, substandard contract offer they received. It was announced that the McDonald Institute – the research network of which SNOLAB is a partner – had received another $45.5 million in federal government funding. This new funding is in addition to $14 million received from the provincial government.

“There is a lot of resentment among workers who are being told they can’t have fair wages while they see tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars going to this organization,” said Boucher.

“During negotiations, SNOLAB has consistently cried poor and argued it can’t provide a realistic compensation package. What workers have observed at SNOLAB in the last two years is simply irresponsible spending and questionable decision-making on how its funding – taxpayers’ money – is actually being spent,” he said.

USW Local 2020-59 members have set up a picket line at Creighton Mine #9, 1039 Regional Road 24, Lively, Ont., P3Y 1N2. Members of the community are welcome to join the workers on the picket line to lend their solidarity and support.

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Media Contact

Pascal Boucher, USW Area Co-ordinator, 705-675-2461, ext. 226,
Tracy Nguyen, USW Staff Representative, 705-675-2461,
Lorei Leigh De Los Reyes, USW Communications, 416-544-6009,

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