The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charged aluminum producer Novelis with violating labor laws in its response to workers’ efforts to organize a union at its Oswego, facility.
Novelis, which also has other unfair labor practice charges pending before the NLRB related to its interference in the effort to unionize its 600 hourly workers, is charged with illegally threatening job loss, plant closure, wage reductions and with providing benefits to employees in order to dissuade them from voting to join the USW.
In addition, the company is accused of manipulating documents to make it appear that the union was behind a plan to rescind those benefits.
USW District 4 Director John Shinn said Novelis has engaged in clear-cut, illegal, union-busting behavior.
“It’s unfortunate that it has come to this, but this company has proven that it will stop at nothing to keep workers from gaining a voice on the job,” Shinn said. “The workers and their families deserve better than this, and the best way for them to improve the situation is through collective action.”
“The USW would never deprive hard-working people of the benefits they deserve,” Shinn said. “We believe the actions we’ve taken are the best way to achieve the goal of a better workplace and better community for all.”
USW attorney Brad Manzolillo said that, due to the particularly outrageous behavior of Novelis management, the NLRB may ultimately compel Novelis to recognize the USW as the bargaining representative of Novelis-Oswego employees without holding a new election.
“The NLRB only seeks these orders when an employer’s illegal conduct is so egregious and extreme that it makes it impossible to have a fair election,” Manzolillo said. “Despite the claims Novelis has made to the contrary, this is far from a ‘typical’ case. Novelis has committed extremely serious violations, and the board is seeking the strongest remedies available to it under the law.”
The USW also represents workers at Novelis plants in Indiana, West Virginia and Ontario. The Oswego workers sought to unionize after the company imposed unilateral benefit cuts. The union fell just 14 votes short in a February election despite unprecedented interference by Novelis.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.