USW, Global Allies Pressure Sherwin Owner

Workers Aim to Pressure Swiss Officials on Lockout

USW members and allies around the world are ramping up their campaign to shed light on the worldwide abuse of workers by Swiss mining conglomerate Glencore, the parent company of Sherwin Alumina.

Over the past two weeks, members of Local 235A in Corpus Christi, along with USW members across the United States and Canada and IndustriALL allies around the world, visited Swiss embassies and consulates to enlist the help of the Swiss government to pressure Glencore to end its nine-month lockout of 450 USW members at Sherwin Alumina, among other worker abuses.

At eight North American locations and 14 others around the world, workers delivered letters from USW International President Leo W. Gerard calling on the Swiss government to pressure Glencore to uphold traditional Swiss values of respecting workers and supporting unions.

The letter delivery events were part of a widening campaign by IndustriALL, the global coalition that represents 50 million workers in 140 countries, to put an end to Glencore’s pattern of anti-worker behavior.

“Switzerland has a long history of respecting the dignity of workers and supporting collective bargaining. However, Glencore’s behavior tarnishes Switzerland’s good name and reputation,” Gerard wrote. “Glencore is displacing communities, seeking unnecessary cuts from its unionized work force, driving down living standards for workers, and destroying communities and cultures.”

In addition to the Sherwin lockout, Glencore has been accused of launching anti-union campaigns against mine workers in South Africa and Colombia, subjecting workers at Peru’s Antamina mine to regular health and safety violations, and refusing to re-hire union workers at Australia’s Collinsville mine.

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