Reaction mixed after threat-uttering miner reinstated

Arbitrator’s decision puts employers in unfair position, says management-side lawyer
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 08/13/2012

Although an arbitrator has reinstated one of nine workers fired during the tense 2010 strike at Vale’s mine in Sudbury, Ont., the union’s lawyer says the decision is only a partial victory for the worker.

On one hand, Mike Courchesne will get his job back. The real issue was not so much his firing, but why the company chose to fight a labour board decision to have an arbitrator hear the case, says Brian Shell, lawyer for the United Steelworkers union, which represents Courchesne.

“That’s what makes this case so unsettling,” he says. “What we experienced is the exercise of naked power by a powerful company.”