May 31, 2021 - No. 51
Significant Strike at Fermont ArcelorMittal Mining Complex
Broad Support for ArcelorMittal Workers
• The Fight for Rights Is a Fight for Life - K.C. Adams
Significant Strike at Fermont ArcelorMittal Mining Complex
Workers from across Quebec rally at ArcelorMittal's Canadian headquarters
in Longueuil, May 21, 2021
Support for the ArcelorMittal workers on strike at
ArcelorMittal's facilities on Quebec's North Shore since May 10 is
coming from throughout Quebec and beyond.
ArcelorMittal workers in "the South" -- the Montreal and
Montérégie regions -- have pledged ongoing support to the
In the first week of the strike, Steelworkers' locals from five
ArcelorMittal operations in Contrecoeur, Longueuil and Montreal sent
$14,000 and announced that members of these locals will continue making
donations to the strikers for the duration of the labour dispute. These
locals are: Locals 6586 and 8060 at the Contrecoeur East steel plant;
Local 6586-2 at the Contrecoeur-Feruni recycling and processing
facility; Local 6951 at the Contrecoeur West steel plant; Local 8897 at
the Longueuil steel plant and Local 9399 at the Saint-Patrick facility.
"The strike by our brothers and sisters is a courageous struggle to
ensure that a fair portion of ArcelorMittal's astronomical profits is
returned to the Quebec economy," said Yves Rolland, President of
Steelworkers Local 6951 and spokesperson for the Comité de
solidarité de l'acier (Steel Solidarity Committee). We stand in
solidarity with the
people of the North and will support them financially throughout this
dispute. We will also be there to support them in the streets," Rolland
"We have the same employer as our brothers and sisters in the North.
They extract our natural resources in the North and we provide the
value-added processing and manufacturing in our plants in the South.
Their battle for respect and for economic benefits for Quebec is our
battle," he added.
The striking ArcelorMittal workers also received a pledge of
recurrent financial support from United Steelworkers' Local 5795
representing the workers at the Iron Ore
Company of Canada's (IOC) Labrador West operations. In its message to the striking workers, Local 5795
says that "With great pride, Local 5795 membership voted on
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 during our regular monthly meeting to donate to
Metallos 5778, one dollar per member for each week they remain on
strike. They appreciate your support beyond measure." This refers to
the support, including financial support, the ArcelorMittal North Shore
workers provided to the Labrador workers during their
nine-week strike in the spring of 2018. That fight was against
concessionary demands, including transforming some of the workers into
a temporary work force with inferior conditions, and for improvements
in wages, and medical and pension benefits.
On May 20, representatives of USW Local 9344, representing IOC
workers in Sept-Îles, went to the ArcelorMittal picket line in
Port-Cartier to support the strikers. They handed over a cheque for
$5,000 to the strikers and announced that they will donate $10 per
member per month, or $3,400, for the duration of the conflict.
"We may work for employers who are in competition with each other,
but we mining workers are all steelworkers, we are North Shore
residents, we all care about the economy and the vitality of our
region. The slogan of the ArcelorMittal brothers' and sisters' strike, The Resources from Here for the Economy Here also illustrates our
very well," said Eddy Wright, president of Local 9344.
a demonstration at ArcelorMittal's Canadian headquarters
in Longueuil on May 21, Jason Braconnier, a representative of
Local 6586 at the Contrecoeur East plant, announced
that the workers held a special meeting where they decided to provide
$10 per worker per
week to striking workers from the first day of the strike until it
ends. He reminded the
participants that ArcelorMittal workers' locals signed a solidarity
pact with each other in 2015
and this recurring financial support is a way for members to honour it.
Mario Brin, a
representative of USW Local 9449, which represents workers at the
mine in Nunavik, also announced financial support.
May 21, 2021. Rally at ArcelorMittal headquarters in Longueuil
The Resources from Here for the Economy Here!
Your Wealth, My Health!
The 2,500 workers at the Fermont mining complex in the
Côte-Nord region of Quebec are deeply concerned for their futures
and that of their families and community. The global mining and
steelmaking colossus ArcelorMittal buys the capacity to work of 168,000
workers around the world. Those workers produced a realized gross
$53.27 billion in 2020 while working on company-owned assets valued at
$82.052 billion. The global entity is listed on the imperialist stock
markets as headquartered in Luxembourg with 37.4 per cent ownership
resting in the hands of one man called Lakshmi Mittal.
On May 10, the workers, members of five locals of the Syndicat des
Métallos, the Quebec Steelworkers, began a general strike, having
rejected the company's "comprehensive and final offer" by margins
ranging from 97 per cent to 99.6 per cent. The strike involves workers
at the Mount Wright and Fire Lake Mines (Local 5778), port and railway
workers (Local 6869), Port-Cartier office workers and security personnel
(Local 7401 and 7401-FP South), Fermont office workers and security
personnel (Local 7401 and 7401-FP North), and workers at the
Port-Cartier pellet plant (Local 8664).
their direct experience, the workers in Fermont believe the global
oligopoly ArcelorMittal, which owns and controls the mine where they
work, holds no consideration for their working and living conditions.
Within the imposed relations of production, the global monopoly under
the control of its ownership is obsessed with the aim to
expropriate maximum profit from the value workers produce throughout
its empire. That is the role the oligarchs assign each enterprise
including the mine in Fermont. All other considerations are secondary
they exist at all must in some way serve the main motivation and aim of
maximum profit for those in ownership.
The workers in the Côte-Nord have no say over their Fermont
enterprise and no control over any aspects of production and
distribution of value other than what they can fight for and win in
battle with the global ownership. They have no control over how much of
the value they produce should be invested in their community to develop
social conditions and economy of the region. Even though the workers at
the ArcelorMittal enterprise are by far the greatest producers of
wealth in the town of Fermont, they have no say or control over how the
value they produce from extracting iron ore from Mother Earth is
invested or distributed. The only portion of value over which they have
some control is the amount they manage to extract from the company
within a collective agreement for the sale of their capacity to work.
This portion consists mainly of wages or what is called the individual
reproduced-value workers produce.
Except for the individual reproduced-value, most of the new value
workers produce falls under the control of the ownership to do with as
it likes as do all other aspects of the work. This means the oligarchs
control the way the workers are organized to mine the iron ore and ship
it to markets; the speed at which the iron ore is mined, which
determines the longevity of the particular mine itself and even the
longevity of the miners themselves; the price of
production of the iron ore and its market price; the conditions of the
social and natural environment in the region and throughout Quebec and
Canada and whether they are humanized or not; the relations with the
Indigenous peoples in
the region; and the condition of the town site itself and its economy,
cultural level and livability. All crucial aspects of life are
considered outside the control of the working people in the
Côte-Nord and fall under the dictatorship of the global ownership
in faraway Luxembourg whose only stake in Quebec and Ontario is how
much profit it can
The workers, both individually and collectively through their
steelworker locals and strike struggles, have declared clearly and
loudly that this situation is untenable. Life cannot continue in this
way where rights are denied, for
when rights are denied life is denied. Those who work and produce the
social wealth must have a say and control over
that social wealth and its distribution and investment. The ownership
cannot see that working and living conditions are deteriorating and the
town itself is falling apart because the ownership refuses to recognize
anything that interferes with its control and aim of expropriating
maximum profit from the work to mine iron ore. What possible use are
workers and their lives and towns, other than to produce profit for the
oligarchs, they declare through their deeds.
The concrete conditions of the work and life in the region and the
thought processes of the working people both from their individual and
collective experience have brought forth a consciousness of the
necessity to resist and the slogan and demand: The Resources from Here
for the Economy Here! The situation must change because the
working, social and natural conditions and the struggle of the human
factor reveal and demand a new direction.
The Fight for Life Is a Fight for Rights
The life of working people both at work and in their communities is
theirs to determine as a modern right. The resistance of the miners in
the Côte-Nord is a fight for life, a fight for rights.
All across Canada resistance is developing to the dictatorial
control of the global oligarchs over life and their denial of rights.
The oligarchy exploits the resources whether ore, oil, trees or fish as
its monopoly right to dominate life and Mother Earth. The oligarchs
declare that workers receive "good paying jobs" in return for
rights and control over their life and the social and natural
environment, and to produce maximum profit for those in control. But
that is not sustainable. That is what leads to mad scrambles to rip and
ship when the boom is on and to lay off and destroy production when the
crisis hits, what they euphemistically call the "circular economy."
exactly what is not sustainable and in contradiction with the modern
socialized conditions. It denies life and denies rights. The resources
are for the working people to decide how to use and develop. What good
is it to rip and ship if all that is left behind in the end is a
wasteland or shrivelled town where CBC can come in and cynically
show Still Standing?
Resources together with the work of the human factor are the economy
in the modern world. The fight for rights, including a cultured
existence and respect for the human factor and Mother Earth, is the
fight for life. Under the current conditions of the dictatorship of the
global oligarchy, strikes and resistance to the oligarchs' mania to rip
ship, their endless wars and other disasters are what open a path
forward. Organizing determined resistance is the necessary first step
to affirm rights and life, the necessary struggle of working people to
gain control over all matters that affect their lives, of which the
base exists in the bounty of Mother Earth and conscious work of the
All Out to Support the Strike of Workers in Fermont!
The Resources from Here for the Economy Here!
The Fight for Rights Is the Fight for Life!
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