Court Orders Novelis to Reinstate Worker, Stop Illegal Efforts to Bust Union in Oswego

Contact: Jim Ridgeway: 315-468-1623, jridgeway@usw.org

OSWEGO, N.Y. (September 10) ­– A federal court has issued an injunction ordering aluminum producer Novelis to stop interfering with efforts to organize a union at its Oswego, N.Y., facility and to reinstate a worker the company had demoted for union activity.

The decree, a rare decision known as a 10(j) injunction, was issued on September 4 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

The court ordered Novelis to immediately stop engaging in its illegal union-busting activities, such as threatening workers with termination, plant closure or other forms of retaliation for supporting the United Steelworkers (USW). It also ordered Novelis to reinstate the demoted employee to his previous job and to meet with employees under NLRB supervision to communicate the details of the decision.

“While we welcome this ruling as a major victory for the workers in Oswego, it’s unfortunate that it took such a rare and sweeping court order to get Novelis to do what it should have done months ago,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “These workers and their families deserve a voice, and this order is the first step toward making sure they get that voice.”

Novelis Oswego employs about 600 hourly workers, who sought to join the USW after the company began to impose unilateral benefit cuts. The union fell just 14 votes short in a February election despite unprecedented interference by Novelis, which is owned by Indian multinational conglomerate Aditya Birla Group. The USW also represents workers at Novelis plants in Indiana, West Virginia and Ontario.

“This shameful intimidation and interference prevented these workers from exercising their democratic rights,” said USW District 4 Director John Shinn. “Now it’s time for Novelis to get out of the way and allow that process to work.”

USW District 4 represents tens of thousands of union members in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Puerto Rico. 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.

# # #

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222