USW Blasts Sherwin Alumina’s Intent to Lockout Workers; Offers to Continue Working While Bargaining for a Fair Contract

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

GREGORY, Texas (October 11, 2014) ­– The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today after receiving notice from Sherwin Alumina in Gregory, Texas, of the company’s intent to lock out 450 workers today at 5 PM. The workers are members of USW Local 235A.

“We are disappointed that Sherwin Alumina plans to lock out 450 hard-working members in a misguided effort to pressure them to accept pay and benefit cuts. This action is completely unnecessary. Our members are ready and willing to continue working while we negotiate a fair agreement. This company is profitable. Price forecasts for alumina are positive. Worker productivity is up and labor costs per metric ton of alumina are down,” said Ruben Garza, Director of USW District 13.

“Company representatives have recently stated that their employees are like family. The company’s actions today speak louder than its words,” Garza said.

“Sherwin Alumina has been preparing to lock its employees out from work for over a month at a cost, we believe, of more than a million dollars.  It has brought in hundreds of replacement workers and contractors from outside the area to undermine the wages and benefits of area workers and families,” said Ben Lilienfeld, USW District 13 Sub-District Director.

“The company continues to insist upon major concessions: cuts in overtime pay for unscheduled work, higher health care premiums, elimination of company provided health care for our most vulnerable retirees, the exclusion of new employees from the current pension plan, and the elimination of disability and widows’ benefits for new hires.

“The union is committed to reaching a fair agreement that will reward employees for their hard work, provide retirement security and allow the company to invest and prosper. We call on the company to end this lockout, return to the bargaining table and continue to work toward a fair contract,” Lilienfeld said.

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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