An Act Meant to Intimidate the Working Class

Community rally June 4, 2019, supports the locked-out workers at the Belledune smelter.

The 280 members of United Steelworkers Local 7085 have been locked out of their Belledune smelter since April 24. The Glencore cartel locked out the workers to force them to accept concessions on health and safety and other issues. Local 7085 led by its President Bart Dempsey has waged a determined struggle against the giant global company. The locked out workers have gained respect and support from Canadians for their just stand in defence of their rights. In fact, members of Local 7085 were in Montreal reaching out to fellow workers at three Glencore facilities the morning of the announced shutdown.

Many believe the sudden closure of the plant is meant to intimidate Glencore workers at all its facilities and dissuade them and others from organizing struggles in defence of their rights. The intimidation comes at a time workers across Canada are finding new ways to deal with the power and vast social wealth of global giants such as Glencore.

ABI aluminum smelter workers in Bécancour, Quebec put up a determined two-year fight under conditions of a brutal lockout to reach terms of employment they could accept. USW Local 9700 at the smelter took their members' fight against the financial oligarchy to workers throughout the world. The United Steelworkers National Policy Conference held in Vancouver last April announced a worldwide campaign against the Alcoa/Rio Tinto lockout of the Bécancour workers. The global campaign focused on exposing the anti-worker practices of Alcoa, which owns 75 per cent of ABI, and the anti-worker comments of the Quebec government and its collusion in allowing the cartel to avoid paying for its contracted electricity during the lockout.[1]

Similarly, Belledune workers were gaining strength and support during the lockout for their just stand in defence of their rights. Many believe that the Glencore oligarchs are terrified to see the Belledune workers' spirit of resistance spread throughout their empire and want to destroy it at the source, as an example to others not to defend their rights. As can be seen around the world, the imperialists destroy through anarchy and violence what they cannot control. This must be stopped!


1. "Steelworkers Launch Global Campaign to Force Alcoa to Negotiate a Collective Agreement Acceptable to the Workers," Workers' Forum, April 11, 2019 

(Photo: USW District 6)

This article was published in

Number 27 - November 20, 2019

Article Link:
An Act Meant to Intimidate the Working Class


Website:   Email: