The Power Of A Union Contract

We've just received a copy of the KLG Fosterville union contract. In so many ways this shows the power of workers having a union contract. KLG Fosterville shows just how much can be achieved through years of union contracts and conflict free bargaining. Throughout the campaign we've heard the propaganda that unions promote the lazy. That couldn't be more wrong. Unions want to see businesses be profitable, hiring, expanding. Fosterville is the flagship for KLG and the unionized workers share that success. People are motivated to work hard when they know the rules and they are applied fairly.

Below we answer your questions and share the info publicly about KLG's unionized Fosterville mine. If you have any follow up questions about the union at KLG Fosterville, what it means to have a union contract just text us. We've chatted with hundreds of people over text and follow up right away. Join the list by texting KL GOLD to the phone number 32323.

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Did they get a raise? YES.

Yes, every single year they make more money. Looking at the KLG Fosterville union contract the average worker got a 7.5% raise over the course of 3 years. That's a 2.5% increase each year. Why not us? We've learned of some Miners and Surface workers at KLG Macassa whose wages have been frozen for many years now. Not to mention the cuts or bonus shenanigans they pull on us.

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They have significant and responsible leaves.

The KLG Fosterville union contract has:

  • Carer's Leave: Paid personal leave so you can care for a non-terminally ill member of your immediate family or deal with an unexpected emergency.
  • Compassionate Leave: 2 days paid when an immediate family member is terminally ill or passed.

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  • Emergency Services Leave: You can get 16 days unpaid leave for volunteer firefighter duties.

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Do they get safety clothing and equipment paid for? YES!

KLG pays for the safety equipment of its unionized workers. It takes more than a hard hat, boots and a belt to go underground or do surface work. KLG pays for the equipment and clothing. Unlike our safety bonus that we used to get, the safety gear provision can not be suddenly cut because it is set in stone in the union contract.

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Did they have to go on strike to get this? NO. UNION AND KLG HAS A GREAT RELATIONSHIP!

Since KLG purchased the Fosterville Miners and Surface workers report having a great relationship with the company. "We have had a harmonious relationship with Kirkland Lake Gold since they took over the Fosterville gold mine." Read this full letter from Ben Davis, the signatory to the Fosterville union contract here. KLG isn't Vale or INCO. KLG has a great relationship with other unions. There needs to be a vote before going on strike and if zero people at KLG want to strike there is zero chance of going on strike. Simple as that. But a YES vote puts you on the path to a union contract.

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Do they make more money? YES.

This shouldn't be a big surprise because (except for a select few) Macassa miners make some of the lowest mining wages in Canada. The KLG Fosterville agreement lays out various job titles, job descriptions and job grades. Some of these are different than KLG Macassa. But over all it sure looks like Macassa workers are paid less than KLG Fosterville.  

For example these are the grades and classification for Nippers.

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And as of July, 2017 they are paid $32 to $36 an hour in Australia (or $31.62 to $35.57 in Canadian dollars). 

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How does the Australian dollar compare to the Canadian dollar? IT'S THE SAME.

The Australian dollar is right now worth slightly more than the Canadian dollar so the contract can be easily understood.

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These are just a few excerpts from the union contract that answer the common questions we've been asked by Miners and Surface workers at KLG Macassa. If you have any follow up questions about the union at KLG Fosterville, what it means to have a union contract just text us. We've chatted with hundreds of people over text and follow up right away. Join the list by texting KL GOLD to the phone number 32323.

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Your voting questions and answers

Voting will occur on Thursday and Friday at the worksites.

Here are the details and answers to your common questions.

Why are contractors voting and when will ballots be counted?

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has just confirmed there will be a vote held at Macassa Mine on Thursday and Friday this week. Typically, ballots are counted immediately after the last polls close.

Unfortunately, Kirkland Lake Gold in their attempt to delay the process and suppress your Canadian Right to vote, has submitted the names of every single contractor currently working on the Macassa property. Of course, contractors do not have a right to vote and their ballots will be put aside. We are very confident this matter will be sorted out. It’s just another example of KLG showing their true colours. It means that the ballots might not be counted right away.

Does the YES side have a majority?

The YES side is a silent majority. Hundreds of your co-workers signed cards. We've heard privately from so many people who did not sign cards and are publicly NO but who in the secret ballot will vote YES. Do not let the company’s barriers, feeling of intimidation or threats get you down. The important thing is to stay positive. This vote is your chance to send the company a message in strong numbers. If we all remain committed to the idea of a Better KL Gold then we will see the changes that need to happen.

Voting YES means forming a union. It isn’t a strike vote. You can only go on strike if the majority of workers at KLG vote for a strike. If zero people want a strike, there is zero chance of a strike. 

Voting YES means an end to the favouritism. We hear it over and over again that people are being treated differently. Good miners who give it their all are pushed aside for friends and family.

Voting YES means an end to cuts. KLG in Canada are among the lowest paid miners and the company keeps cutting our earnings. A union contract will set in stone how much we earn for the work we do.

Voting YES will protect your years of service. Once you form your union, you don’t start negotiations at zero. The years served by each and everyone of us stands. And in a union contract your years of service will actually mean something. Right now because of favouritism years of service is sometimes being ignored. 

What are the exact date, time and locations for voting?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

5:30 AM to 8:00 AM
1350 Government Road W, Huddle Room #2 

12:45 PM to 1:30 PM
1 Macassa Lane, Mill Trailer Lunch Room 

5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
1350 Government Road W, Huddle Room #2 

9:15 PM to 10:00 PM
1 Macassa Lane, Mill Trailer Lunch Room 

Friday, November 3, 2017

5:30 AM to 8:00 AM
1350 Government Road W, Huddle Room #2 

12:45 PM to 1:30 PM
1 Macassa Lane, Mill Trailer Lunch Room 

5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
1350 Government Road W, Huddle Room #2 

9:15 PM to 10:00 PM
1 Macassa Lane, Mill Trailer Lunch Room 

How will the vote be conducted? 

The vote will be by secret ballot. The Government's Board’s Vote Officer will issue a ballot to voters. Voters will mark their ballot in secret behind a vote privacy screen, fold the ballot, and put it in the ballot box provided at the vote location. Your vote is secret and you are under no obligation to tell anyone how you voted.

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What is the ballot question? 

In your employment relations with your Employer, do you wish to be represented by the union? Yes / No

Dans vos relations de travail avec votre employeur, désirez-vous etre représenté(e) par le syndicat? Oui / Non

It will look similar to this ballot (this is a replica not the official Government ballot).

Do we need ID?

No. This is not like an election vote where you need to show ID. Just show up to the voting booth.

I have more questions, who do I talk to?

Text us your questions. Get on the list by texting KL GOLD to the phone number 32323.

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We the nameless--an anonymous letter from a coworker

We've been receiving so many encouraging words from co-workers privately. This person asked us to share their thoughts with everyone. It's a great letter and we are happy to share it unedited, uncensored with you.

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What can the Steel Workers do for you?

For me the union isn’t about a regulated bonus system, or yearly wage increases, and a say in what happens with our benefits, Its about safety and accountability.

In my time at Kirkland Lake Gold, I’ve seen a huge change. What once was a family friendly place that would "pass the pot" around to help someone who was injured to help weather the storm, or an open ear to safety concerns has quickly changed in to an ounce producing machine that will stop at nothing for the increased bottom line.

As an employee I’ve seen the company what once learn from injuries, now ridicule the injured. the employees have turned into to the Nameless. We have shifters, captains, and our super, who put arrogance above safety. A group of people who should be professional harassing, bullying, and ignoring our rights and laws. For them it isn’t about us. it’s about looking good, and putting themselves first.

I've heard the horror stories from every department. Mechanics expected to do three-man jobs by themselves, Construction crews behind walls literally roasting to death. And minErs forced to work in substandard conditions. Who is accountable? When the mechanic comes to surface injured, he's told to take a drug test. When the Construction Worker has heat exhaustion, he's told he has the flu, when the miner comes up he's told he's not cutting it and is demoted. These are not exaggerations these are these are actual stories of the nameless.

I get a union isn’t perfect, I understand the fears that people have. but those fears are nothing when it comes to human life. and if our injury ratio continues its path, a life will be lost. And I guess right now all the accountability on us. We must seize this moment to vote Yes. We must seize this opportunity to gain our rights back. We must seize this opportunity to hold the or shifters, captains, and super accountable.

WE MUST SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE OUR NAMES BACK.

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Big thanks to the anonymous KLG co-worker for writing in to us. A reminder, if you or your fellow employees have any other questions, please feel free to send them to us and we will get back to you quickly.

Text: You can also subscribe to our text message info alert system. If you aren’t on it text KL Gold to the phone number 32323.

 

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KLG’s best-kept secret: KLG FOSTERVILLE MINE IS UNIONIZED!

KLG is unionized in Australia

We reached out to our sister Union, the Australian Workers Union, who represents the workers at the Kirkland Lake Gold Fosterville mine. They were beyond thrilled to hear of the hundreds of card signers and the upcoming vote. They wished Macassa workers all the best and stressed the positive impact the Unions had on their work environment.

Important message from co-workers about the dues rumour

So it seems KLG and its little puppets are spreading misinformation again. Supervisors are giving out false information and outright lying about the union dues we had to pay. It’s a desperate move and nothing surprises me anymore with these guys. Maybe if they were honest in the first place we wouldn’t have to form a union. Them “smart” folk said dues were $350 a month!! WOW, maybe if those winners were calculating our bonus we’d be making money. Lol

Here’s the truth.

The dues are 1.55% plus 2cents per hour worked. They come off our gross pay (before taxes) and because unions are non-profit, dues are tax deductible and it works out to be a lot less.

There are no initiation fees and we don’t pay any union dues until we have a contract.

As we predicted the company started their dirty tricks. They‘ve been lying to us every step of the way, does that surprise anyone? WE NEED A UNION!

Sincerely,
The People who actually care

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Letter from KLG worker to his coworkers

Letter from a KLG worker to coworkers (censored version)
A Message From Employees 

We are your co-workers, friends and neighbors. There was a time we would have never considered going union but things have changed… and not for the better. If you haven’t signed a card you should consider it.

We care about this place and take pride in the work we do. We have made this company a lot of money, no question about it! What’s ironic is that they are in the media claiming they are making money hand over fist but keep taking from US!

Lets look at the last few weeks:

  • Illegally garnishing our bonus (stealing) for a busted monitor
  • S**t bonus
  • Firing good miners
  • B******t discipline when we follow the rules
  • B******t discipline when we are told to break the rules
  • Losing our best miners because of s**t money and disrespect
  • Contractors taking our headings, taking our gear and taking our jobs!
  • Targeted for raising safety concerns

Lies and more lies from Duncan King… Is anyone surprised?

Since this guy came in the picture or should we say videos (lol) he’s been gutting us. He’s doesn’t want to hear the truth or answer questions. We totally get it! It’s easier to s***w a family man or woman if you don’t have to look them in the eye.

What’s funny is that now that there is more Union talk, the “King” suddenly cares by sending letters to everyone’s house and giving misleading information. So, let’s clear things up. 

Union Dues

When we form our own Union, we pay dues, thats true. What Mr. King failed to mention is that Dues are tax deductible. Union dues are like job insurance and will give us the financial means to protect ourselves legally. With the Steelworkers, we don’t pay any dues until we have voted to accept our new contract. We have nothing to lose! Nothing!

Scare Tactic - Negotiations and Strikes

First off, the Steelworkers do not negotiate for us. We negotiate our own contract, we elect our own committee and we address our own issues and priorities at the table. The USW never tell us to go on strike, they provide us with lawyers and experts during bargaining. 98% of all USW contracts are settled without a strike. 

We are not Vale/Inco. We are our own Union, we handle our own money and we make our own decisions as a group. Other local Unions have absolutely nothing to do with us. We have no plans to go on Strike – the ‘KING’ is trying to scare us by threatening to replace us. But In case you haven’t noticed, we are already being replaced and that’s because we don’t have a Union 

The King’s ‘direct relationship’ approach isn’t working! 

There isn’t one of us who hasn’t tried to deal directly with our shift bosses and upper management. So, to be clear, Mr. King’s “direct relationship theory” has not worked. In fact, most shifters want the Union because they don’t agree with the way we are being treated. Shame on Mr. King for even bringing that up!

The “KING” sent his letter to purposely mislead and interfere with our right to form a Union. In our eyes, it is not only illegal but insulting and disrespectful. The only harassment and bullying taking place here, comes from management.

Despite what the “KING” says, if a union organizer shows up at your house, take a few minutes to talk and ask questions. You don’t get both sides of the story if you just kick them off your property. It’s about making an educated decision, as the “King” says. They are workers just like us, they are good people and they are here to help.

It’s time to stick together!

Sincerely, Employees for a better KL Gold

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Official notice from the Ontario Government

We received the official notice from the Ontario Labour Relations Board confirming that we filed the hundreds of cards and want to see a vote at KL Gold. This vote is about sending a message that things need to change.

The company now needs to follow up, they must respond to the application by Monday and post the official notices up on the board. Let us know if you do not see the notices posted up at work.

In the notice, the government lays out very clearly your rights as workers during the vote. 

YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT EMPLOYEES IN ONTARIO HAVE THESE RIGHTS:

  • To organize themselves and form a trade union.
  • To join a trade union and participate in its lawful activities.
  • To act together for collective bargaining.
  • To refuse to do any or all of these things, or to remain neutral.
  • To cast a secret ballot in favour of, or in opposition to, representation by a trade union, if applicable.
  • Not to be discriminated against or penalized by an employer or a trade union for supporting or opposing a trade union, or participating in its lawful activities.
  • Not to be penalized for exercising rights or participating in a proceeding under the Labour Relations Act. 

Click here to read the full 12 page notice.

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Congratulations! We did it.

Congratulations! We did it. 

You and an overwhelming number of your co-workers took the first step to making KL Gold a better workplace. Hundreds of workers signed Union cards and we've sent a clear message: we’ve had enough of being mistreated and want things to change.

We've applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to conduct a certification vote.

What does this mean?

It means that a vote could happen next week—so look for official notices on the boards at work.

We’ll also let you know via email, text and Facebook—so make sure you keep tabs on your email, text messages and the Better KL Gold Facebook page. The core group of us who have been pushing for a union will organize information sessions with the Steelworkers.

To sign up for information, text KL Gold to 32323

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Are Contractors Going To Replace You??

Last week we found a listing for contact miners online. After posting it on Facebook, the company pulled it down. But we saved the a photo of the website job postings.

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Ventilation Issues at KLG Real Cause for Concern

United Steelworkers organizers have received many complaints in the last two weeks regarding poor air quality in the deeper sections of the mine.

Workers are reporting increases in temperature and humidity and are experiencing symptoms associated with heat exhaustion.

Employees have also reported a rise in the presence of mold. Some workers are experiencing respiratory symptoms associated with mold exposure.

Click here to read the latest Steelworkers Emergency Bulletin (PDF)

Although those symptoms may or may not be related to mold, there is no arguing KLG has a legal requirement to find out if the substance is harmful.

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K.L. Gold Campaign - It's Happening!

Hello and Welcome Everyone!

I'm Pascal Boucher and if my name sounds familiar, that's because I'm originally from Kirkland Lake. I'm a Miner by trade and i started my career at Holt-McDermott mine and even worked at Macassa (KLG).

I know first hand the harsh, dusty , bumpy, hot and physical environment under which people are exposed to at K.L. Gold. Truth be told there is no other mine like it in Ontario. The working conditions are harsh and the way employees are being treated is on a different level. I have many friends and family who live in this community and its no secret that things aren't very good at K.L.Gold, one could even say scary... At least for the workers.

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