HAWESVILLE, Ky. (May 12, 2015) — Approximately 560 members of United Steelworkers Local 9423 were locked out of their jobs this morning by Century Aluminum management after voting on Monday to reject the company’s latest “last, best and final” contract proposal, according to the union.
USW District 8 Director Billy Thompson called on the company to abandon its strategy to bully union workers into accepting management’s demands and negotiate in good faith for a fair contract at the smelter.
“Century must be made accountable for its decision to hold our jobs, families and community hostage over issues that should be resolved through collective bargaining,” Thompson said. “Management needs to end this lockout immediately, return these workers to their jobs and resolve our differences at the table.”
Century’s largest shareholder, Glencore International Plc of Switzerland, also owns Sherwin Alumina, which locked out 450 members of USW Local 235A in Corpus Christi, Texas. Last week, Steelworkers from Texas and allies from the international labor community demanded accountability from Glencore executives at the global commodities giant’s annual meeting in Zug, Switzerland.
Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, has been accused of launching anti-union campaigns against mine workers in South Africa and Columbia, subjecting workers at Peru’s Antamina mine to regular health and safety violations and refusing to rehire union workers at Australia’s Collinsville mine, along with a growing list of other questionable business practices.
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.