USW: Chamber ‘Honor’ for Sherwin a Slap in the Face to Entire Community

Contact: Rey Hererra: (361) 215-5073,

GREGORY, Texas (December 5, 2014) — United Steelworkers (USW) Local 235A released the following statement today from Local 235A Vice President Rey Hererra in response to the Portland, Texas, Chamber of Commerce naming Sherwin Alumina its “Member of the Month.”

“The Portland Chamber of Commerce should be ashamed to have a “Member of the Month” like Sherwin Alumina. This is a company that, eight weeks ago, locked its doors on 450 hard-working members of our community in an attempt to intimidate them into agreeing to unnecessary pay and benefit cuts.

“These cuts would make life more difficult for hundreds of families and retirees in this region – many of the same people that other Chamber members rely on as regular customers. Those families now have less money to spend at local shops and restaurants, just as the holidays arrive.

“Sherwin is part of a hugely profitable global giant, Glencore, which made a net income of $4.6 billion in 2013. With alumina prices on the rise and production costs declining, there is one simple reason why this company would lock its doors, and that reason is greed. Choosing Sherwin as the “Member of the Month” is a slap in the face to the entire community.

“The Portland Chamber, according to its website, has 300 members, 80 percent of which are small businesses. Surely there are other local companies far more deserving of this honor than a greedy corporate giant that bullies its own workers. We can only hope that the Portland Chamber comes to its senses and finds a truly worthy member to highlight in the future.”

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.

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