As Vales strike continues, impact on economy in Sudbury grows

The strike by 2,504 workers at Vale for the past 58 days has taken millions of dollars out of Sudbury's economy, says a retired economics professor from Laurentian University.

"Pick the number -- $100,000 a year between salaries, bonuses, benefits and so on," said Dr. David Robinson. "Just multiply those out – (after) two months, it's in the range of $50 million."

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, which represents 700 businesses from many sectors including retail, restaurants and mining supply companies, said Wednesday their members are hurting, as well.

"Vale relies on an extended supply chain of good and service providers," said Neil Milner, the chair of the board of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

"When Vale isn't operating and consuming those services or supplies, local businesses see a drop in their normal business and that has an impact on their bottom line."

Milner said chamber members are staying quiet during the dispute, but are hoping for a positive outcome sooner rather than later.

"Sudbury business economy has been impacted by COVID-19 and we know that the businesses in town were looking forward to recovery," he said. "Any labour dispute will have an impact on the local business community."

Robinson said the economic impact of the pandemic could be making the financial impact of the strike less noticeable.

"This is sort of interesting because the timing," he said. "The COVID thing is going down, the problem is going down, while the union problem is going up. So I don't know that too many businesses are noticing very much of the strike effect yet."

The union representing workers on strike at Vale confirms both sides are still at the bargaining table trying to reach a deal.