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CONTRIBUTION · 22nd March 2010
Mike Davis
The biggest hole in California, with the exception of the current state budget, is Rio Tinto's huge open-pit mine at the town of Boron, near Edwards Air Force Base, eighty miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Seen from Google Earth, it is easy to imagine that the 700-foot-deep crater was blasted out of the Mojave Desert by an errant asteroid or comet. From the vantage point of Highway 58, however, the landscape is enigmatic: a mile-long rampart of ochre earth and gray mudstone, terminating at what looks like a giant chemical refinery.

At night, when a driver's mind is most prone to legends of the desert, the complex's intense illumination is startling, even slightly extraterrestrial, like the sinister off-world mining colony in Aliens.


The company wants a contract that would allow it to capriciously promote or demote; to outsource union jobs; to convert full-time to part-time positions with little or no benefits; to reorganize shift schedules without warning; to eliminate existing work rules; to cut holidays, sick leave and pension payments; to impose involuntary overtime; and to heavily penalize the union if workers file grievances against the company with the National Labor Relations Board.

Rio Tinto, in essence, claims the right to rule by divine whim, to blatantly discriminate against and even fire employees for felonies like "failing to have or maintain satisfactory inter-personal relationships with Company personnel, client personnel, contractor, and visitors."


The Local 30 gate-watchers are gathered under a sun canopy, drinking black coffee and talking about the skeletons in the company's closet. Dave, a dashing character who looks like he just jumped off a Viking longship, is "silo chief" at the plant and one of Local 30's many old-school bikers. He says that the lockout has incited new rank-and-file interest in Rio Tinto's notorious history. "It's like waking up and discovering that you're married to a serial murderer."

Read the entire article HERE.
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 23rd March 2010
After the blow the people of Kitimat got from Westfraser, knowing we're dealing with a corporation that behaves in these criminal ways is a little unsettling!

Is Rio Tinto Alcan just sitting back waiting for the Liberal Government in Victoria to build them a transmission line in to Kitimat... not to import power, but export power?

After reading the article it's a little scarey to think of who we're dealing with.These guys are union busters of the worst kind!
Comment by Darcy Metz on 23rd March 2010
I read. about this over the weekend. Otherwise I would never have known about this lockout. I believe that our union should. make a public declaration of support to those workers in California. I am not an activist, but this sort of thing troubles me,.

Our local need.s to contact the union in Boron, Ca and. show our support of solidarity.
Comment by Tony Nuzzo on 22nd March 2010
Rio to respect outcome of Hu case: Sam Walsh Stephen Bell From: Dow Jones Newswires March 23, 2010 RIO Tinto's head of iron ore Sam Walsh said today the miner will respect the outcome of a court case underway in Shanghai involving four of the company's employees.
"We will respect the outcome of the Chinese legal system," Mr Walsh told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of an iron ore conference in Perth.

But Mr Walsh wouldn't comment further on the case.

"We will wait," he said, when asked whether Rio Tinto would wait until the end of the case before commenting on the situation.

Rio Tinto has previously said there is no evidence that its employees did anything wrong, but on the first day of the three-day trial, Australian national Stern Hu, admitted he accepted money from steelmakers on two occasions.