Back at the table
Union, company reps look for common ground

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 18/98) - After weeks of no movement by either side, Con miners and company representatives are back at the table.

The two sides met yesterday. And they were scheduled to meet again today.

But it is a delicate start.

United Steelworkers of America Local 802 and Miramar Mining haven't spoken since the strike began May 14.

"Yes, we are talking. There is potential for common ground," Miramar spokesperson Brian Labadie said Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, United Steelworkers of America Local 802 President Cliff Moroz said the two sides were looking for a place to meet.

He also said as the two sides continue to meet it will be difficult to give details for fear of jeopardizing the negotiations.

Labadie, as well as Miramar's vice-president of human resources Ron Van Koughnett, are currently in Yellowknife.

Labadie said if "there continues to be meaningful dialogue," the company will keep the mine at a certain level of readiness. But as temperatures drop, there will be a need to winterize the mine.

Earlier this week, Labadie said the company does not yet plan to "mothball" the mine to protect the assets from winter.

"If we're talking, that decision's not now."

Asked about rumours that the company is poised to sell the mine, Labadie said: "No. We're not out shopping the mine."