Mike Courchesne still not on the job
He was one of nine workers fired during the 2009-2010 strike against Vale. The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled in February the workers have the right to go before an arbitrator in an attempt to get their jobs back.
While an arbitrator ruled Courchesne can return to work, there was a provision that he must first pass pre-employment medical tests.
It's these medical tests that have delayed the miner's return to Vale.
Brian Shell, the lawyer representing the workers, said Vale wanted Courchesne to visit a doctor in Toronto for the exam.
“We thought there was no reason for that,” he said. “He could go see somebody in Sudbury, and that would be fine, and it would be less inconvenient for him, and he wouldn't have to travel.”
Courchesne was finally allowed to visit a doctor in Sudbury last month. He's now waiting for the results of the medical report.
“We're hoping to get that this week, and if not, next week,” Shell said.
After that, Courchesne will undergo a “quick check” at Vale's occupational medicine department, he said. All workers who have been off the job for some time must be examined by this department.
“We're hoping he'll return to work this month,” Shell said.
Courchesne has been working for a mining contractor in Timmins since November 2011, as he had been unable to find work in the mining industry in the Sudbury area, the lawyer told Northern Life in a previous interview.
He was fired just one month into the strike — in August 2009 — because of behaviour on the picket line which involved comments made to Vale security personnel.
Courchesne was undergoing serious personal problems at the time both related and unrelated to the strike, and was under the influence of alcohol when the incident occurred.
As for the rest of the fired workers' cases, the arbitration for Ron Breault continues Oct. 15 and Nov. 1-2. Shell said he hopes this case will wrap up soon.
The joint arbitration for Jason Patterson, Patrick Veinot and Mike French continues Oct. 16, Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 13.
Three of the other fired workers, Brian Miller, Adam Cowie and Dan Labelle, decided not to proceed with arbitration to get their jobs back after receiving a financial settlement from Vale.
Another worker, John Landry, was not involved in the arbitration process because he took his pension in 2010.