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From the desk of the President - February 2009
Published: February 19, 2009

I wish to extend a sincere welcome to the newly elected members to the Local executive board: Terry McCormick (in his new role as Vice-President), Gord Lamothe & Roy Furlani Jr, (as new Trustee’s) I am confident that each will be an asset to the board and I look forward to working with all three.

Xstrata Nickel continues to be in transition, with some operations winding down their operations while others are just in their infancy. The early retirement incentive and the migration of our workforce to alternate sites has made it necessary to temporarily appoint new union officers to fill a number of vacancies. (until the full election in late May)

With the uncertainty in the global economy and workplaces cutting back to the bone, the new union officers are about to get a baptism by fire.

In January 71,000 workers in Ontario lost their job, (the 587 members of Xstrata Nickel are not included in these numbers) and most of those were good paying full-time jobs. Most of the members at Norcat and all of our members at First Nickel & Lafarge are currently laid off. Meantime other operations are weighing at their options. (which includes sharing hours, extended shutdowns or possibly lay-offs) No workplace is immune to this but the Health Care sector seems to be impacted to a lesser extent than the others.

We have weathered storms in the past and I’m confident that this will be no different. In the interim we must not lose our focus on safety & health and we need to continue with training and education as if the economy was on an upturn rather than a downturn. It is also at times like these when rumors abound. Don’t buy into the rhetoric; get the facts from the union officers at your workplace or from the hall.

Dwight Harper, President

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