Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Umiak I Update

On Monday, the Vale Inco ship Umiak I attempted to make its way into Edward’s Cove.

It was going to pick up a shipment of struck ore.

Striking workers with the United Steel Workers Union Local 9508 and local supporters were out on the ice to prevent the ship from coming in.

OK Radio Producer Janelle Barbour was there and has this report:

On Monday, the Umiak I was set to cross 10 mile Bay, despite the season being closed.

Many USW strikers of Local 9508 were set to stop the ship from going into Edward’s Cove.

They were ready to go on to the ice and protest.

Supporters were also willing to do what they could to help the strikers.

$15 worth of gas and some lube was provided to anyone willing to protest.

Once everyone was ready to do that, Darren Cove, USW Union President had a few things to say.

Darren Cove: We all have the same concerns about this boat coming in, however

I share a different concern, but I’m also concerned about the safety of my members and

the beneficiaries that do practice the traditional fishing and hunting ways and by

this boat coming in here today, that’s gonna be disrupted and disrupted for the rest of the year.

Our concern is that the boat do come in, go into Edward’s Cove and

take out a shipment of struck ore and that’s going to keep us, the members, the

community and our workers, going to keep us on strike that much longer.

It don’t give us any strength at the bargaining table.

We want to try to get the best deal and the best contract for our members as we can.

That’s why we’re out here now.

So anyway, our intention here today is not to stop the boat. Our intention here today

is to let the boat and the company know that she’s not going in uncontested.

We’re here to stage a protest and that’s it. We don’t want anyone to go out

in front of the ship when she’s coming in,

now we don’t want anyone to put their self in danger.

So, anyway we’re here to make that point and send a message to the company

and again thank you, thanks everyone for coming out and

I’m really pleased with the showing we had here today.

Thank you.

Strikers and their supporters were not impressed.

As of April 13,Vale Inco has issued a warning stating that the Umiak I is now docked at Edward’s Cove.

All ice crossing points are unsafe at this time.

According to Gus Dicker of Sikumiut Environmental, there is a pontoon crossing set up at Taktok Island.

The track has been marked with fluorescent markers from Taktok Island to Edward’s Cove.

Coordinates for the crossing can be found on Vale Inco’s website.

Workers at the Voisey’s Bay mine site have been on strike since August 2009.

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