3,500 Vale Workers In Canada Walk Off The Job

SUDBURY, Ontario (AP) -- Thousands of union workers at Vale Inco's nickel mine operations in Ontario are on strike after 85 percent of union members rejected the company's contract offer.

The United Steelworkers union said Monday that all of Vale's Canadian operations have been shut down and the company's nickel inventory will quickly be depleted.

At issue were proposals by Vale to exempt new employees from its benefit pension plan and to reduce a bonus tied to the price of nickel.

Steelworkers Ontario director Wayne Fraser says about 3,500 workers are now on strike.

Vale Inco is the nickel mining and processing division of Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce.

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