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Steelworkers protest Vale CEO's citizenship award in Big Apple

About 200 protesters converged on New York City Dec. 3 to protest the fact that Vale CEO Roger Agnelli had received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Citizenship Award from the Business Council for International Understanding.
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About 200 protesters, including about 40 striking Steelworkers members from Sudbury, protested in New York Dec. 3 as Vale CEO Roger Agnelli received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Citizenship Award from the Business Council for International Understanding. Photo by Bill Belowos.

 About 200 protesters converged on New York City Dec. 3 to protest the fact that Vale CEO Roger Agnelli had received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Citizenship Award from the Business Council for International Understanding.

The protesters included about 50 United Steelworkers members from Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ont., who are currently on strike against Vale Inco, and union members from the United States who support their cause.

“We left Sudbury Wednesday at around 5 a.m., and we got into New York at around 9 p.m. that night. It was a long trip,” said Bill Belowos, one of the Sudbury strikers who went along on the trip.

“(On Thursday) we (first) went to the Sheridan New York, where Vale had rented the whole fifth floor. There was a Goldman-Sachs investors' conference, where Vale was to be present. We went to that one, and we demonstrated down on the main street. We were being watched by security, and the police were there. We were there for a few hours.

“Then in the afternoon we went to the offices of a company called Mitsui. They own shares in Vale. This company has a representative on the board of directors. We were there for a few hours also. One of their (Mitsui's) representatives came down to talk to us, and took some of our information, and said he would pass it on.

“Later on in the evening, we went to the Waldorf Astoria (hotel), where we met up with other unions from the (United) States. We had a couple hundred (protesters) there. We were there protesting the award that Roger Agnelli was receiving.”

On its website, the Business Council for International Understanding says the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Citizenship Award is presented to “recognize exceptional accomplishments in the field of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.”

Belowos said the people of New York were “very receptive” to the protesters' message. He said they handed out “tons” of leaflets “informing them of how Vale is working across the globe.”

“With this presentation to Roger Agnelli, we were making them aware of how other people view Roger Agnelli. It's not the same way corporations would view Roger Agnelli.”




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