AFL-CIO Leaders to Join Workers on Picket Line at Sherwin Alumina

Contact: Ben Lilienfeld: 832-556-0370,  blilienfeld@usw.org

GREGORY, Texas (October 15, 2014) ­– Becky Moeller, Texas AFL-CIO president, and John Patrick, the state labor coalition’s secretary-treasurer, will join locked-out members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union on the picket line on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at Sherwin Alumina.

Moeller and Patrick are scheduled to arrive at the picket line at 2:15 p.m. outside of the company’s facility at 4633 Highway 361 in Gregory, Texas, to show support for the locked-out workers.

“With this lockout, Sherwin Alumina is attempting to bully these hard-working members of our community into accepting a declining quality of life for themselves and their families, simply to increase the bottom line for an already profitable company,” Moeller said. “Texans must stand strong against these economic scare tactics and refuse to accept this race to the bottom.”

The Texas AFL-CIO includes more than 235,000 union members across the state, including about 450 members of USW Local 235A who work for Sherwin Alumina.

Patrick, a former USW member and staff representative, said the union has repeatedly offered to keep working while negotiations on a new labor agreement continue.

“This situation is entirely one of Sherwin Alumina’s creation,” Patrick said. “The company has ignored the union’s desire to continue bargaining a fair contract and has made the unnecessary and unilateral decision to lock the doors on its own hard-working employees.”

The company’s contract proposals include cuts in overtime pay for unscheduled work, higher health care premiums, elimination of company provided health care for retirees, the exclusion of new employees from the current pension plan, and the elimination of disability and widows’ benefits for new hires.

“We are committed to reaching a fair agreement that will allow these workers to take care of themselves and their families and give the company an opportunity to grow and prosper,” said Ruben Garza, USW District 13 director.

USW District 13 represents more than 50,000 members in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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