June 6, 2019
Ontario Government's Anti-Social Offensive
June 7-8 Days of
on First Anniversary of Election
of Ford Government
• Proper Investments Required So Workers Can
Provide Citizens with the Services They Need - Interview,
Paramedic and Chair of CUPE's
Ambulance Committee of Ontario
• Injured Workers Refuse to Be Silenced or
Deterred in Fighting for Their Rights
Maintenance Workers Uphold the Dignity of Labour
• Bitter Fight for a
Agreement - Interview, Gleason
Frenette, President, Montreal Transit
Workers Enter Seventh Week of Lockout
• Steelworkers and Allies Hold Vigorous Mass
Rally in Support of Glencore Workers in Belledune
Support Mining Workers in Idaho
• BC and U.S. Steelworkers Rally at Hecla
Mining's Annual General Meeting
U.S. Alcoa and Arconic
Workers Voting to Strike
• Workers Defend Their Rights and Dignity
Against Unacceptable Demands Which Favour Narrow Private Interests
- Pierre Chénier
to Ontario Government's Anti-Social Offensive
Contingent of paramedics participates in Health Care Day of Action,
Queen's Park, April 30, 2019.
Workers' Forum: On May 17 the Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE) issued a press release entitled "In
the face of dire funding cuts, Ontario paramedics ask: 'Will there be
an ambulance available when you need one?'" Can you tell us more about
The funding model for paramedic services in Ontario is roughly a 50-50
split. The province contributes 50 per cent and the municipalities
contribute 50 per cent. That is each year. Typically, the provincial
government increases the amount it transfers by about 5 per cent each
year. What they have done is they have
frozen the amount of money that they are transferring at 2017-2018
rates. Municipalities have already passed their budgets for 2019. They
were expecting 50 per cent of whatever their budget was going to be
this year to come from the provincial government but they are now
getting less, they are actually getting what their budget was for the
year. That is a significant shortfall for paramedic services across the
We don't really know what municipalities are going to do
to offset those costs yet. Some municipalities committed to having new
vehicles in service, to having more paramedics. Right now we do not
know how they are going to make up that shortfall.
For example, in the Durham Region they have a $1.75
million shortfall. The question is how are they going to make up that
shortfall. Had the provincial government not frozen the rates, the
region of Durham would have got that $1.75 million from the government.
WF: In the communique, you are
quoted as saying that ambulance services are already facing situations
in which they cannot provide adequate services to Ontarians.
JF: Yes. Across the province, in
several areas, we have what are called code zeroes, a situation where
there is either limited resources or no ambulances available to respond
to calls. That is already happening in certain communities across the
Will this funding shortfall result in some paramedics
being laid off? We don't know yet. Is it going to further increase the
lack of resources, especially in municipalities that were going to put
a vehicle on the road and were relying on that funding from the
province? Now they don't have the funding so they can't put that other
vehicle on the
We know that call volume is
increasing between 3.5 per cent and 5 per cent a year. The call volume
is increasing because of many factors, one being the aging population.
Also, in the city of Toronto, the provincial government cancelled the
funding for safe injection sites which had really reduced the number of
911 calls. With safe injection
sites closing because they do not have the funding, that means more
people are calling 911.
We are still looking at what is going to be the impact
Further, with paramedic services and communication
centres as well, the provincial government is looking at restructuring
everything. We currently have 52 land ambulance services that are
operated by municipalities and the province is looking at restructuring
them, at reducing their number. We have not been consulted on that yet.
We had a
little technical briefing on it and we have been promised a seat at the
table but we do not have any dates for that yet. It is definitely not
going to be 52 services. It might go down to 10 services. Each
municipality would be lumped in within a larger geographical area. We
would have to cover a larger area but we do not have enough resources
cover our own areas so that is just going to make matters worse again.
This does not bode well at all.
We would like to see the provincial funding reinstated
so that the services get the appropriate amount of money they need to
operate their service. As far as the restructuring goes, we think that
the best model is the current model. They just need to properly invest
in our services so that we can provide them to the citizens of Ontario.
For the 36th year injured workers gathered on June 1 at
Queen's Park to forcefully put their demand that their right to full
compensation when injured or made ill on the job be guaranteed. This
Injured Workers' Day sees injured workers, alongside many other sectors
of the society in Ontario, faced with an increasingly brutal
offensive under the current government.
A spirit of determination
was palpable at the rally,
which this year in particular brought forward the voices and
experiences of the injured workers, presenting both the successes in
their organizing and the serious difficulties they face with escalating
cuts by the Ford government. The speakers presented their experiences
as injured workers
within the perspective of how to organize to change the difficult
situation faced by so many workers. A large contingent of retired
General Electric workers travelled to the rally from Peterborough, and
others came from Barrie, Hamilton and other areas.
During the last year, in addition to the Ford
government's cuts to employer WSIB premiums, which will take badly
needed funds out of the system, the guaranteed basic income pilot
project was terminated and cuts were made to the funding of government
bodies dealing with injury and illness prevention. A piece of
legislation which would
accredit certain companies to do their own inspections for health and
safety, shelved due to widespread opposition, may also be brought back
by the Ford government.
In addition, the recently announced cuts to Legal Aid
will have serious consequences for injured workers who are more and
more denied their claims and forced to appeal. Not only do the legal
clinics help injured workers with their claims, one speaker said,
expressing her anger at the cuts, they teach us how to fight for
A Year of Organizing
The successful last year of organizing around the Workers' Comp Is
a Right! (WCIAR) campaign found expression in a number of ways at
the rally. Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) President
Willie Noiles focussed his remarks on the successes of the campaign,
pointing out that the campaign's petition had been tabled numerous
times in the Legislature, keeping the demands of the campaign in front
of the MPPs. In addition, through their organizing, they have succeeded
in getting a private member's bill before the Legislature to end
deeming -- one of the three main demands of the WCIAR campaign. Noiles
also pointed out that the pace of work has stepped up as new groups
have been organized in different regions.
ONIWG President Willie Noiles
Janice Martell from the McIntyre Powder Project, based
in Northern Ontario mining communities, announced that over the last
year work had been done to bring together those who were organizing
where there are occupational disease clusters to fight for just
compensation. Out of this came the Allied Forces which presently
includes the McIntyre Powder Project, General Electric and Ventra
Plastics workers from Peterborough, Kitchener Rubber Workers and the
Victims of Chemical Valley in Sarnia. They are working together to
enforce their demands for compensation, while they keep the specificity
of their local organizing. Martell said the name came from the Allied
Forces in World War II who together were able to defeat a formidable
Martell spoke about the difficulty workers faced in
being compensated for occupational illnesses whose symptoms often
appear years later, when companies have closed plants or workers
retired. "WSIB has the power to grant our right to fair compensation or
to deny our right to fair compensation and with each denial comes a
multitude of other denials. You deny us our dignity, the
acknowledgement that our years of exposure to multiple toxins is
significantly responsible for our sickness. You deny us our right to
know how many others in the same workplaces, exposed to the same
toxins, are suffering the same diseases. You deny us the opinions of
our physicians and substitute the opinions of your hired guns. You deny
the evidence that we hold in our bodies, that we live with, rally
against, and die from in numbers that defy your decisions to deny. You
deny us the peace of dying with the knowledge that our families will be
taken care of by the fair compensation which we were promised.
"Your power to deny us is vast. It overwhelms us. It angers us. It
leaves us without hope, without justice, without help or the financial
means to fight back. Yet here we are. All of us gathered here together
in defiance of your power. [...] We deny you our silence -- you will
hear our voices. We deny you the comfort of our anonymity -- you will
see our faces, you will know our stories, our struggles, our suffering.
We deny you our isolation -- we will find one another, we will gather,
we will organize, we will stand together, we will fight back. We deny
you your narrative. We will expose you and challenge your power to
The rally included a number of cultural performances,
including the songs "Oh What a Journey, Oh What a Load" and "We Will
Rise" by the Justice Singers, and a skit "We Are the People" which
rejected the Ford governments' sloganeering that it speaks for the
people -- saying that we are the people and will speak for ourselves. A
spoken word piece closed out the program.
A tornado warning could not keep Injured Workers' Day
from being marked in Windsor. A number of activists for injured
workers' gathered at the WSIB offices to demand reforms to WSIB
regulations which favour the workers.
The following day activists for injured workers, representatives of the
Windsor and District Labour Council, and activists of the MLPC
distributed over 1,000 flyers at Art in the Park in Windsor. The flyers
were well received by the public with many people stopping to chat on
their way into or out of the park.
This was the first time such a mass action had taken place on Injured
and plans are in the works for similar mass distributions in future
Injured Workers' Day Actions in London and Thunder Bay
Montreal Transit Maintenance Workers
Uphold the Dignity of Labour
Demonstration by Montreal Transit maintenance workers, September 13,
After 23 months of bargaining and 170 bargaining
meetings, the Montreal Transit Union (STM-CSN) signed a new collective
agreement on April 9 for the 2,400 STM maintenance workers. In a
general membership meeting on March 10, the workers voted 96.5 per cent
in favour of adopting the draft agreement, with a participation of
about 1,600 workers in the meeting, a new record for the union. Given
the fact that about 400 members were at work at the time of the meeting
and that about 100 workers were off due to work-related accidents, the
turnout was very high. The employer had come to the bargaining table
with a long list of rollbacks, including the privatization of
certain jobs. The workers were also subject to two new anti-worker laws
adopted by the Quebec government, one on pension plans and the other on
the bargaining regime in the municipal sector. Workers' Forum
recently spoke with union president Gleason Frenette about the union's
assessment of this intense period of activity and what
workers have been able to accomplish.
Workers' Forum: The union has a very
positive assessment of what you have accomplished in this negotiation.
Can you tell us more?
We have been able to improve a number of premiums, including premiums
for night workers and those who work weekends. At the STM, we are open
seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We have no choice, there are people
working at night and there are people working on the weekends. Premiums
improve the lot of these workers.
We have made a lot of gains with respect to the day job
guarantees, the positions called 5-2, five days of work, two days off.
We guaranteed all these positions in exchange for allowing the employer
to create night and evening shifts at the Crémazie plants, which
repairs the bus parts. Before creating an evening or night shift, all
must be filled at all work locations. This is reassuring for workers
who have less seniority, who are forced to work night and evening,
because they know that at some point there will be room to work on days.
It is important that day jobs have been guaranteed.
According to our agreement, the STM can cut a position by attrition,
for example when a worker retires. Employees who retire are often
working on days. So we guaranteed these positions. This was important
because when jobs are guaranteed, if there is a shortage of work, they
have to keep
their staff. In return, we also gave the STM the opportunity to create
12-hour positions, which did not exist before. We have regulated how
these positions would be used. If the employer wants current STM
workers to fill these positions, it has to offer them these jobs on a
voluntary basis. The only ones who can be forced to take these
at hiring point. When you hire, it's a lesser problem because when you
know that it's a twelve-hour job, you have the choice to work for the
STM or not. Employees in these positions work 36 hours and are paid for
40 hours. This will start soon.
There will be massive hiring at the STM. That's why we
managed to negotiate these job guarantees, because the employer knew
that they would hire a lot of workers. There are many projects in
public transit. The STM is growing in size. That was the time for us to
act because the employer had a lot of demands. They want flexibility,
including creating night and evening positions. The employer came to
the table with more than 100 demands of rollbacks or changes in the
collective agreement. We negotiated to make gains with job guarantees
in exchange for what we decided to accept in terms of flexibility.
We made gains in terms of catching-up on the wages for
tradespeople. We had trades categories whose wages were $10-12 dollars
less than in the private sector.
We managed to introduce a new premium, called the
flex-premium. It is a premium that offsets the effects of Bill 15 on
pensions in the municipal sector.
We will have a premium, which will increase gradually, which will
compensate for the effects of Bill 15 which requires that we are now
to contribute 50-50 in our pension plan with the employer. Previously,
the contribution was 66-33, two-thirds by the employer and one-third by
the workers. We had collective agreement language negotiated on that.
We agreed to a lot of concessions in the past to improve our pension
plan, but the law changed all that. Even though we had
contracts with the employer, they were cancelled.
WF: You have negotiated under Bill
15, an Act to foster the financial health and sustainability of
municipal defined benefit pension plans, and Bill 24, An Act
respecting the process of negotiation of collective agreements and the
settlement of disputes in the municipal sector. What was their
impact on the
GF: Regarding Bill 15, it was really
complex. That was very costly because we had to have an actuary with us
all the time to negotiate. Bill 15 increases our contribution to our
pension plan on each pay.
With respect to Bill 24, which was passed in 2016, it
governs the whole bargaining process. It imposes stages: there is so
much time to negotiate, after that the employer can request the
presence of a mediator. Everything is framed, provided with its
deadline. The employer used the act to request a mediator. The mediator
intervened in our negotiation eight months after the expiry of the
collective agreement. During the mediation stage, parties have 60 days
to negotiate an agreement. The mediator himself can extend the
mediation or can do so at the request of both parties. Once he has
extended the mediation, both parties must consent to a further 60-day
extension. We had to put a lot of pressure on the employer to get them
to agree with this new extension. Once those 60 days were over, the
employer was threatening to bring in the special mandatary, whose
position was created by the act and who has the power to recommend that
our working conditions be decreed. Under the Act we are constantly
negotiating under threat. Also, the Act says that we have to sign
contracts of a minimum duration of five years, whereas our tradition
was three-year contracts.
In addition, the negotiation has been extremely
judicialized. The employer has brought us to the Administrative Labour
Tribunal many times. It constantly used the judiciary to help its
balance of power. This actually happened seven times. Judicialization
of conflicts is stronger than before because the employer knows he has
the law on his
To counteract the effects of Bill 24, we negotiated and
put into the collective agreement that in future we would begin to
negotiate one year before the expiry of the agreement.
Mass meeting of maintenance workers, May 27, 2018.
WF: How did you approach this negotiation
considering all these limitations and obstacles?
GF: We put a lot of emphasis on
mobilization. We are the only one of the six unions at the STM where
the president is not always at the bargaining table. Towards the end of
the bargaining I was at the table all the time, but during the 23
months that negotiations lasted, I was involved in mobilizing work at
the union office
and in the workplace. We have been very active in the workplace, the
entire executive. We have also organized demonstrations in the streets.
We wrote a lot of leaflets. We had given ourselves a
guideline of writing a leaflet a month instead of a leaflet every two
or three months as we often do. We distribute leaflets everywhere in
the workplace. We also put them on our Facebook page. In these
leaflets, we gave all the details of the negotiation, explained the
problems, what the employer was asking for. We also used these leaflets
because the employer wanted to privatize certain jobs, for example by
giving the cleaning services of all STM office buildings to the private
sector. In exchange, the employer was promising us financial
compensation. They were trying to buy us off. We said it was out of the
question, that we protect everyone.
We have tried to use the media to tell the truth about
what is happening. For example, the STM changed the method of refueling
buses with gasoline, which resulted in a lot of fuel outages. The STM
said it was sabotage by the members. We also explained to customers and
the public why there were so many buses off the road. It was not
because of job actions but of management errors, poor managerial
decisions about vehicle maintenance, poor quality of the buses
themselves. We used traditional media, especially newspapers, and
social media to tell the truth, to explain what was really happening in
order to get public opinion on our side. We made several on the record
interventions in the media, including social media, about what the STM
said. This is a first for us to have had public opinion on our side
during our dispute. Also, we opted for an overtime ban instead of a
full strike with essential services. We stopped everybody from working
overtime for six days.
We have adapted to the new realities. We cannot
negotiate in the same way as we did before these new laws.
It took a lot of energy, took a lot of our time. We have
been very active in the workplace. The members appreciate that, that we
are present where they work. We were not afraid to stand up to these
laws. We did not collapse in the face of them. If we had not had the
members with us, we could not stand up to the employer, that's for sure.
1. In December 2014, the
Government of Quebec passed Bill 15, an Act to foster the financial
health and sustainability of municipal defined benefit pension plans.
Among other things, the Act imposed a 50-50 contribution in current and
future pension plans and forced municipal workers to
pay 50 per cent of past deficits, although these were often caused by
deliberate refusal of the cities to put their required contributions in
the plans. The law is part of the arsenal of the state to attack the
right of workers to negotiate their conditions at work and at
Brunswick Smelter Workers Enter Seventh
Week of Lockout
On Tuesday, June 4, the Brunswick Smelter workers in
Belledune, New Brunswick held a successful community rally in which
over 300 workers and community members participated. The 280 smelter
workers, members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7085, have been
locked out of their jobs since April 24 by mining/metallurgical
giant Glencore, which owns the Belledune plant. Glencore management is
trying to extort drastic anti-worker concessions from the workers and
workers are resisting these demands with their stand "It's Our Turn! No
The aim of the rally was to
mobilize support for the Belledune workers. Workers report that the
support of the community and of all USW locals in the province and of
other workers has been very strong since the beginning and they also
wanted to thank the community and all the workers for their support.
The rally started outside the Belledune Recreation
Centre at 2:00 pm. From there the participants filled two buses to go
to the picket lines to protest there for about an hour while others
went by car. When they were back at the centre, together with the kids
who had finished school and been taken to the rally by their parents,
about 300 people present for the concluding part of the event. There
was a BBQ and live music and games for the kids while people talked to
the locked out workers, getting more information about the issues and
expressing their support. Besides the smelter workers, participants
included the leadership of USW District 6, which covers Ontario and the
Atlantic provinces, a strong contingent of CUPE workers, as well as
workers belonging to industrial unions from around the province, and
people from the community. Support from the community included
businesses in the community providing food for all and games for the
kids. At the time that had been alotted for speeches, the weather
turned to pouring rain so the President of the Local, Bart Dempsey,
thanked the community for their ongoing support and informed the people
that the District 6 Director will send out letters to all the members
providing his thoughts on the situation.
Workers report that
Belledune is a closely-knit community of just under 2,000 people where
many Brunswick smelter retirees live. The retirees know what the
workers are going through and had themselves experienced in their
active years. They are keeping the people informed about the issues.
The community is aware that it has always been a struggle at the
smelter, whether it was owned by Glencore, Xstrata or Falconbridge
before Glencore. There is also awareness of the anti-worker
activities of the current management, especially in terms of health and
safety. Those activities have been made public over the years as
workers vigorously fought to defend healthy and safe conditions for
themselves and the community.
Workers also report that they have now made a counter
offer to the company on monetary issues. They have also earmarked some
concessionary demands that they want off the table before going back to
the bargaining table, including keeping the two positions of full-time
President and full-time union safety representative and leaving the
early retirement provisions alone. Workers are also demanding some
increase for those who are on the defined contribution pension plan.
"We are in our seventh week right now. We are still
together and we are still strong. We are still demanding that those
concessions be removed. And then we are willing to go back and finish
out this contract. There has to be negotiation, not dictate," Bart
Dempsey told Workers' Forum.
1. To learn more about the
concessionary demands of Glencore in this dispute and the stand of the
workers, read "Workers
for Their Rights and Dignity," Workers' Forum, May 2,
Canadian Workers Support Mining Workers
Vancouver, May 23, 2019
BC steelworkers and allies joined striking miners from
Idaho on May 23 to protest the anti-labour practices of U.S.-based
Hecla Mining. The action was launched as Hecla Mining held its annual
general meeting in Vancouver.
Approximately 240 members of United Steelworkers Local
5114 have been on strike for over two years at Hecla's Lucky Friday
mine in Mullan, Idaho. This is the longest labour dispute in the
history of the state's Silver Valley. The miners worked under terms of
an expired agreement for nearly 11 months before Hecla management's
negotiate with the workers and demands for anti-worker concessions
forced the workers to go on strike in March 2017.
Lucky Friday is an underground silver, lead, and zinc
mine located in the Coeur d'Alene mining district in northern Idaho.
Hecla Mining Company operates silver mines in Alaska (Greens Creek),
Idaho (Lucky Friday), and Mexico (San Sebastian) and operates gold
mines in Quebec (Casa Berardi in the Abitibi region) and Nevada (Fire
Creek and Hollister).
At the protest, workers told shareholders going into the
meeting that Hecla's anti-worker activities are hurting workers, their
families and shareholders. They demanded that the shareholders exert
pressure on Hecla Mining executives to negotiate a collective agreement
acceptable to the workers.
Workers report that Hecla's concessionary demands amount
to having the mine operate without the union and without the workers
having any say in their working conditions.
One striking worker wrote on the union local's Facebook
page that, "The contract offer from Hecla is designed to break the
union and gain complete and total control of the workforce, period!
[...] A fair contract is one that respects our collective voice as a
Union so as to retain job security and safety in the workplace. [...]
I'm not going to go
into detail on the disputed offer Hecla has laid on the table, that's
for our negotiating team to do, but it is enough to say that it is a
backwards step across the board in every way imaginable and the
majority of our members will be making many thousands of dollars less
per year [...] I can tell you this without hesitation; the overwhelming
of this Union's workforce doesn't appreciate Hecla Mining Company's
foot on our collective necks in their attempt to mute our voice. We
demand more respect than that. We deserve more respect than that, and;
through a long list of fellow workers who have lost their lives at the
Lucky Friday, we have EARNED more respect than that."
Amongst the company's concessionary demands, workers
have highlighted the following: workers will have to pay much more
money for their medical coverage and Hecla wants to be able to make
changes to the coverage without their approval; Hecla is demanding an
end to the bidding regime to determine work teams and assignments at
the mine; it wants to be the
sole decider of who works at the mine and to be able to replace
unionized workers with non-union workers without restriction; job
progression would take place at the sole discretion of the company; on
a daily basis, supervisors and management would assign where workers
are to work; shifts could be anywhere between 8 to 12 hours, at the
company's discretion, etc. Workers see this as having a union in name
only, which they reject.
Lucky Friday mining workers have been waging actions in
defence of their rights and dignity in Silver Valley, as well as in
many cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Striking Hecla miners visit New Westminster, May 24, 2019, to speak
about their struggle at the local labour council.
U.S. Alcoa and Arconic Workers Voting to
Alcoa and Arconic workers rally in Massena, New York, May 14, 2019.
Workers at the May 25 mass family solidarity march in
support of locked out ABI workers In Trois-Rivières were pleased
to hear that members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 420A,
representing Alcoa and Arconic workers in Massena, New York were with
them on the march. Local 420A members reported that the day before,
May 24, they had voted overwhelmingly in favour of going on strike to
resist the concessions demanded by the same ownership gang as at ABI.
Since that time, U.S. Alcoa and Arconic workers have
held strike votes in many other locations. On May 31, United
Steelworkers' international website posted information that over 1,500
Alcoa workers have now voted to authorize strike actions at the
companies' facilities in Warrick, Indiana; Gum Springs, Arkansas; Point
Comfort, Texas; and Wenatchee, Washington. Meanwhile, 1,900 workers at
the Arconic plant in Bettendorf, Iowa have also voted for a strike
mandate and the workers at the Arconic plant in Lafayette, Indiana,
will vote on June 6. Overall, it is estimated that around 6,000 workers
are involved in this round of negotiations. The workers' collective
agreement expired on May 15 and workers have continued to work under
the terms and conditions of that contract since the USW and Alcoa and
Arconic agreed to a temporary extension. There are no negotiations at
this time between the union and the companies.
This is the first contract for these workers since
Arconic was formed following the split of Alcoa into two separate
entities in 2016. Alcoa retained the extraction and production of
bauxite and the production of alumina and primary aluminum while
Arconic focuses on the processing of aluminum and other light metals
products for the aerospace, automobile and other sectors. At the time
of the splitting of the company into two entities it was decided by the
companies and USW that there would be negotiations of a master
agreement for all the workers, while local issues would be negotiated
locally and local agreements implemented only when the master
agreement is concluded.
Workers report that Alcoa
and Arconic are demanding a whole set of anti-labour concessions in
virtually every aspect of the collective
agreement -- reduction of benefits, attacks on the defined benefits
pension plans of the workers, increased out-of-pocket health insurance
payments, elimination of health care coverage for retired workers not
yet eligible for federal Medicare, and more.
As an Alcoa worker in Massena writes on the local's
Facebook page, "We just want a fair wage that reflects the work we do.
We want affordable health care. And we want a sound pension plan to
help us after literally giving half our life to this company. The
smelter in the summertime is literally hell on earth. It's not easy. We
risk life and
limb daily. Not just anyone can walk in there and do it. There is a
high turnover rate in the smelter because it takes some badass men and
women to run it. If our health care is expensive and there is no
pension, would it be worth putting our bodies through it? [...] This is
hard on your body and swing shift is hard on your family. Reward your
people for that sacrifice don't penalize them by taking their pension.
And my personal favorite, am I willing to go on strike to get a FAIR
contract? You're damn right I am!!! I'm willing to stand up for what's
right and FAIR even if it makes me uncomfortable."
The response of Alcoa's executives to the workers'
concerns and demands is the same irresponsible neo-liberal claptrap
that is being thrown at the ABI workers and at workers in general under
the nation-wrecking anti-social offensive of the global monopolies and
the states they have at their disposal. "Our employees continue to
report to work as
normal, and we are ready to resume contract talks soon for a fair and
competitive agreement that positions Alcoa and our employees for
success," said an Alcoa spokesperson at the Warrick operations. Alcoa's
dictate is that workers do not have any claim by right to the social
wealth they create. They are supposed to line up behind whatever global
companies such as Alcoa define as "competitiveness" and "success." This
can even mean closures of whole facilities, smashing of unions and
collective agreements, or long lockouts like the one that is being
imposed on the ABI workers and their community.
The determination of the Alcoa U.S. workers to resist
extortion of anti-worker concessions is a sign of the militancy of
workers affirming that their dignity and rights and the dignity and
rights of their communities comes first and must be upheld in
(To access articles individually
click on the black headline.)
ISSUES | HOME