An arbitrator has ruled that three men who were fired during the 2009-2010 strike at Vale's operations in Sudbury will not get their jobs back.

The president of USW Local 6500, the union that represents the workers, said he is shocked and outraged with the decision.

“The three [men] are devastated from this news,” Rick Bertrand said. “We feel differently that they should be getting their jobs back.”


United Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand. (CBC)

Bertrand said the union plans to challenge the arbitrator's decision on behalf of the three men — Patrick Veinot, Jason Patterson and Mike French.

Vale’s vice president of Ontario/UK Operations, released the following statement with respect to the matter that started with the 2009-2010 strike:

“Vale fully supports arbitrator Kaplan’s decision in this case. Violence and harassment will  never be acceptable in our workplace," Kelly Strong stated.


Kelly Strong, Vale’s vice president of Ontario/UK operations. (CBC)

"We are pleased the arbitrator agreed that the actions we took to discharge these individuals were justified and appropriate. The actions of these individuals are not at all a reflection on our workforce. We are pleased that all of these arbitrations associated with the labour dispute have been resolved and look forward to putting these matters behind us.”

In a 73 page decision, Toronto lawyer and arbitrator William Kaplan said evidence showed an attack on a Vale employee who had returned to work during the strike was pre-meditated.

Kaplan said Veinot and Patterson verbally taunted the man while French assaulted him.

In the courts, only French was convicted of assault, but Kaplan said Veinot and Patterson should be fired because they stood by and let the assault happen.

Kaplan also said all three were untruthful in their testimony, and added none of the three have apologized properly.

Veinot told CBC News he’s shocked and beaten-up by the decision, and added it "ripped his soul."

At the time they were fired, Veinot was vice-president of Local 6500 and Patterson was treasurer.

Read the arbitrator's decision below: