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Posted: November 17, 2023

USW won’t support takeover without more commitments

United Steelworkers union (USW) has issued a statement noting it is reserving its support of Glencore’s takeover of Teck’s Elk Valley Resources steelmaking coal operations in B.C. without further commitments from the Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company.

Four local USW unions represent over 4,000 Teck employees.

“While we see a number of good and broad commitments such as job retention, a Vancouver-based head office with offices in Sparwood and Calgary, investments in recycling, water quality, training, development and other community initiatives, the underlying concerns persist regarding Glencore’s role as a corporate entity and the absence of communication from the company to the union gives us pause to fully support the deal,” said USW Western Canada Director Scott Lunny.

“Those issues were raised by Teck itself, previously, as well as others in Canada,” added Lunny. “We need to hear from Glencore directly, with enforceable commitments on the future of steelmaking operations in the Elk Valley, their treatment of the workforce and commitment to the communities.”

The USW has long been committed to raising mining industry standards domestically and around the world. The union believes Canadians deserve and demand world-class standards to protect workers, communities and the environment, a USW media release pointed out.

“We believe B.C. mining operations are and need to continue to be ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) leaders. That provides stability and certainty for our members and provides ongoing benefits to First Nations and investment across the province,” said Lunny.

“We need specific assurances and details about future plans for the Elk Valley operations from Glencore, including its commitment to the Fording River Expansion (FRX), before we can consider support for this sale.

“We understand mining is a global industry, but we also know the heightened significance of scrutinizing takeovers through a national security lens, especially considering the impact of the loss of Canadian companies. It is crucial to assess these transactions in the context of economic supply chains and national interests,” said Lunny.

The USW and its members plan to actively watch and participate in the review required by the Canadian government under the Investment Canada Act.

The union will be asking the B.C. provincial government to be a full participant in this process.

The USW 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.


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