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United Steelworkers welcome news of new electric batteries operation

November 20, 2022

TORONTO & SUDBURY, Ontario — The United Steelworkers union welcomes the news of the new deal by Vale Canada to supply battery-grade nickel sulfate to General Motors (GM) to manufacture electric vehicles.

The nickel that Vale will be providing GM will be mined in Canada, from Vale operations in Sudbury, Ont., Voisey’s Bay, N.L. and Thompson, Man., with Steelworkers members. The nickel may then be sent to a plant in Becancour, Que.

“Steelworkers are vital members of the communities we live in. As a union, we strive to support and give back to our communities and this is made possible when our jobs are supported,” said Nick Larochelle, USW Local 6500 President.

USW represents almost 5,000 Canadian members that are employed by Vale. In Sudbury, USW Local 6500’s 2,700 members primarily mine, mill and smelt nickel, but also mine copper, cobalt, precious metals, gold and silver.

This contract calls for nickel supply for up to 350,000 electric vehicles a year could certainly mean a direct increase in Vale productions across Canada. Indirectly, workers, their families and their communities will also see an added benefit when healthy, union jobs are around.

“I am thrilled this contract between Vale and General Motors supports and protects good local union jobs as well as creating new jobs at the same time. I am confident that our members are up to the challenge and will deliver,” said Myles Sullivan, District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada).

The new deal also supports a green shift needed to reduce greenhouse gasses and pollution. The USW has been a vocal advocate in mitigating a further climate crisis through Just Transition, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not left behind and sustainable work also means good-paying, family-sustaining unions jobs.

The United Steelworkers union represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of its strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

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Media Contact

Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792;
Nick Larochelle, USW Local 6500 President, 705-675-3381
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, (cell) 416-938-44027

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