USW, European Workers Address Concerns on Aleris-Novelis Deal

As aluminum producers Novelis and Aleris move closer to a merger, USW members are working closely with their European counterparts to ensure that jobs and workers’ rights are protected on both continents.
Members of Local 9443-01 who work at the Aleris plant in Lewisport, Ky., held two days of meetings with union leaders visiting from Aleris facilities in Germany and Belgium and signed a joint declaration promising further cooperation in the future.
The declaration also called on the company’s new ownership to provide detailed information to workers about its plans for the company, and to ensure that the collective bargaining agreements and working conditions at the plants are protected.
The European Union approved Novelis’ $2.6 billion bid for Aleris earlier this year, with the stipulation that the newly merged company sell off its plant in Belgium to alleviate antitrust concerns.
Local 9443-01 President Chris Geary said members of his local, who make aluminum sheets used in the auto industry, are concerned that U.S. regulators could push the company to do the same with their facility.
“We worry about how this sale could affect the future for the employees,” Geary said.
The U.S. Department of Justice raised its own concerns over competition, filing a lawsuit in September to block the sale. That case has been referred to arbitration with a hearing yet to be scheduled.
The workers’ group sent copies of its joint declaration to executives at the two companies. Click here to read the statement. 
“I can’t express enough how valuable this visit was,” Geary said. “Being able to reach out across countries and work together is extremely powerful.”

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