ABI Shuns Offer to Negotiate, Cavalierly Locks Out Employees

BÉCANCOUR, Que. – The United Steelworkers (USW) is denouncing a management decision at the ABI aluminum smelter – made with the consent of co-owners Alcoa and Rio Tinto – to lock out employees at 3 a.m. today without warning.

“This is a cavalier act by this company, right after we held out an olive branch and proposed that we resume negotiations,” said Clément Masse, President of Steelworkers Local 9700, which represents more than 1,000 employees at ABI.

“Rather than returning to the bargaining table, ABI has gone even further with its heavy-handed tactics, locking out employees without warning in the middle of the night,” Masse said.

Masse reiterated the union’s willingness to resume negotiations to resolve the key contentious issues – pensions and seniority recognition regarding employee transfers and turnover.

“It is in everyone’s best interests to reach a negotiated settlement. That’s what we emphasized yesterday after our members rejected the last contract offer and it is deplorable that ABI has not seized this moment to continue negotiating,” Masse said.

“Our position has not changed – our door is open. We are ready and willing to continue to negotiate in good faith and to maintain the smooth operation of this plant.”

Yesterday, Steelworkers Local 9700 members voted by an 80.3% majority to reject the company’s last contract offer.


For further information:

Clairandrée Cauchy, Syndicat des Métallos/USW Communications, 514-774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca

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