Brunswick Smelter employees in strike position

Steelworkers call on employer to return to bargaining table
||Last Updated: 07/28/2014

Talks are becoming frustrated in the first negotiations between resource giant Glencore and employees at Brunswick Smelter.

“This is Glencore’s first negotiations since it purchased the smelter last year. You would think they would treat employees, families and the community with fairness and respect.” said Tony DePaulo, assistant to the United Steelworkers (USW) Atlantic Canada director.

“Instead of seeking a fair settlement, Glencore has repeatedly demanded excessive concessions. The workers are ready to negotiate a fair deal and we call on Glencore to do the same.”

USW Local 7085 represents 300 employees at the Belledune, N.B. workplace.

Workers voted on July 24 to reject Glencore’s contract, which according to the union weakened pensions, health and safety standards, disability benefits, and vacation pay, among other concessions.

The vote marked workers’ second rejection of a proposed contract, bringing the employees and company to a strike/lockout position. A notice of 24 hours is required prior to any job action.

According to DePaulo, the union has no intention of striking and still believes a fair settlement is achievable.

“Working families and the community should not be held hostage by unreasonable demands and threats,” he said. “We’re calling on Glencore to return to the bargaining table so we can negotiate a reasonable settlement that is fair to everyone.”

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