Locked-Out ABI Workers Continue to Demand that the Company’s Owners Resume Negotiations

On September 6, the United Steelworkers’ Quebec leadership and United Steelworkers’ International Vice-President met with Alcoa’s leading executives in Pittsburgh. United Steelworkers’ Quebec Director Alain Croteau described the tone of the meeting as « respectful, » adding that possible solutions to resolve the current impasse were discussed. The impasse is due to the outright refusal of the Alcoa-Rio Tinto cartel, which owns the Bécancour aluminum smelter, to discuss with the workers in order to reach an agreement acceptable to them. It insists on extorting concessions from them. It has withdrawn its December 2017 offer, which the workers had rejected but were willing to consider as a starting point for discussion. Alcoa-Rio Tinto locked out the 1,300 workers on January 11, and has since added the demand for a 20 per cent cut in unionized jobs. The workers and the union rejected that demand, considering it totally unacceptable.

ABI workers are calling for a resumption of negotiations on the basis of what they deem acceptable. « We are ready to negotiate, but we are not running after anyone, » United Steelworkers Local 9700 President Clément Masse told Chantier politique. « The employer knows our position and knows how to reach us. They know we are ready to negotiate on the basis of the December offer. They have come with a new demand and cannot expect negotiations to move forward if that new demand is on the table. Meanwhile, workers’ morale is good. We continue to receive support from workers in many sectors, including financial support, and support will increase in the coming weeks. »