Quebec Minister of Labour Intervenes on Behalf of Global Monopoly

Alcoa and Government Reject Negotiations with Locked-Out ABI Workers

The Quebec Minister of Labour has presented an Alcoa/government settlement proposal and demand for union members' acceptance as a way to end the stalemate in the current unjust lockout of ABI smelter workers. This demand for acceptance of what has been unacceptable for 16 months once again reveals the government's refusal to intervene to bring an end to the lockout in a way workers can accept with dignity.

Right from the beginning of the lockout, workers have asked and are still asking the government to put pressure on the owners to negotiate with the workers to arrive at a collective agreement that they deem acceptable or at least pressure the owners to accept binding arbitration. The union has even proposed arbitration as a last resort to break the deadlock.

Why does the Legault government, and its Minister, find unthinkable and unpalatable the idea that ABI workers should have the right to negotiate their working conditions or at least submit their demands and concerns to an arbitrator? From the beginning, none of the offers of the Alcoa cartel have been a result of negotiations with USW Local 9700. The proposals to settle and end the lockout, including the current joint one from Alcoa and the government have been the negation of negotiations. Nothing in their proposals comes from workers speaking out about their conditions, their concerns and their just claim to the immense wealth they produce. How then can the government consider the already rejected proposal as a solution to the impasse? The proposal is a negation of the right of workers and their elected representatives to negotiate a collective agreement; the unilateral government/Alcoa proposal is a backroom deal to silence the voice of the workers, a voice that resounded loudly at their March 11 meeting and vote.

Minister Boulet's demand for a vote on something workers and their representatives had no role in preparing means he does not respect the voice of the workers. He does not respect their right to have their union representatives negotiate an agreement, which the workers could then discuss and decide with their vote whether to support it or not.

(Photo: Metallos)

This article was published in

Number 16 - May 2, 2019

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Quebec Minister of Labour Intervenes on Behalf of Global Monopoly:


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