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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
September 16, 2010

Provincial Government Appoints Outside Mediator
to Facilitate an End to the Voisey's Bay Strike

The Provincial Government has appointed Bill Wells to serve as an independent mediator to help facilitate a resolution to the Vale strike in Labrador.

On July 20, 2010, contract talks to reach the second collective agreement between Vale and its striking mine and mill employees, represented by the United Steelworkers at Voisey's Bay, broke off. This represents several times that contract talks have broken off since the strike commenced in August 2009.

"Vale and the United Steelworkers are returning to the bargaining table on Sunday, September 19, 2010, and I am encouraging both parties to work toward a successful resolution of this dispute," said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency. "Given that the parties are returning to the bargaining table of their own initiative, this represents an excellent opportunity for them to bring about an end to this strike. We believe the assistance of Mr. Wells, a well respected labour lawyer, will be of great value to the process."

Under the Labour Relations Act, the minister has authority to appoint a mediator where the minister is of the opinion that the appointment is likely to contribute to more harmonious industrial relationships between the parties.

"With the help of Mr. Wells, I urge the parties to negotiate a collective agreement during this round of bargaining and make a determined and honest effort to bring an end to this strike," said Minister Sullivan. "Our government is committed to providing whatever assistance is necessary to the parties to enable them to successfully negotiate a collective agreement."

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Media contact:

Bradley Power
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 699-5707

Biographical Information

Bill Wells had an extensive career in labour law during the 1970s.  Mr. Wells was President of Fisheries Association of Newfoundland and Labrador during the early 1980s and he was also President of the Canadian Saltfish Corporation. He served as Executive Vice-president of Fishery Products International from 1985 to 1995.

Mr. Wells was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro from 1996, until his retirement in 2004.

Mr. Wells has been Vice-chair of the Standing Fish Price-Setting Panel since its inception in 2006.

2010 09 16                                                      4:40 p.m.

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