Executives even refuse to record concerns in shareholder meeting minutes
Danilo Chammas, a lawyer who works with the Comboni Missionaries in northern Brazil, attended the May 19 meeting of shareholders at Vale's head office in Rio de Janeiro.
Chammas gave shareholders detailed concerns of the Comboni Missionaries and other organizations regarding the impacts on workers, communities and the environment of Vale's global corporate practices and its agenda of "aggressive and voracious expansion."
Not only did Vale executives reject the myriad concerns out of hand, they even refused to officially record the fact that such concerns were raised at the meeting, Chammas says.
Chammas voiced concern over Vale's "track record of violations and conflicts with workers and communities in Brazil, Canada and other countries where it has operations."
Chammas gave shareholders copies of a documentary film by Italian director Silvestro Montanaro, depicting the negative impact of Vale's operations on workers and communities in Brazil.
Chammas told shareholders the 10-month strike by 3,500 workers in Canada, provoked by Vale's aggressive demands for contract-gutting concessions, is another example of "conflicts and (other) forms of resistance capable of causing major harm to the company."
"I stated that the company's intransigence has generated ever more conflicts that involve not just workers but also other sectors of Canadian society."
Representatives of Vale's striking Canadian workers say it is disturbing, but not surprising to learn of corporate suppression of shareholder concerns over Vale's impact on workers and communities.
"For nearly one year, Canadian families and communities have been victimized by Vale's all-out campaign to lower - not improve - our working and living standards," said John Fera, President of United Steelworkers Local 6500 in Sudbury.
"Vale's leaders may be intent on suppressing dissent and publicity over such issues, but it is heartening to see some shareholders are voicing concern about the negative impacts of this company's agenda and behaviour around the world," Fera said.
For further information: Danilo Chammas, (55-99) 8844-2331; John Fera, USW Local 6500, President, (705) 675-3381, Ext. 232; For Danilo Chammas's full account of the Vale shareholders' meeting, visit www.fairdealnow.ca/