USW Calls on Novelis to Drop Legal Challenges, Bargain Contract

Contact: Jim Ridgeway, 315-468-1623

OSWEGO, N.Y. (August 29) – In response to yet another National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling finding that the company committed unfair labor practices, the United Steelworkers (USW) today called on aluminum maker Novelis to recognize the USW at its Oswego facility and begin bargaining a fair contract.

On Friday, a three-person NLRB panel issued a unanimous ruling upholding a previous order from an administrative law judge finding that Novelis interfered in a union election for workers at the company’s Oswego plant in February 2014.

“The best course of action for Novelis to take now is to accept this ruling, drop any further legal challenges and get to work bargaining a fair contract,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Workers trying to make their voices heard to improve their workplace should never face threats and intimidation.”

The NLRB agreed with the judge’s finding that Novelis committed unfair labor practices during the USW’s organizing campaign by threatening to fire or cut wages of employees who supported the union, interrogating employees about union-related activities and prohibiting union messages from break areas and workers’ uniforms while allowing anti-union messages, among other violations.

While the USW narrowly lost the election, the ruling found that the company’s actions were so egregious that a fair election could not be held and that Novelis must bargain with the USW based upon the showing of interest via the majority of employees signing union representation cards. This is an extraordinary remedy known as a Gissel bargaining order. Novelis could appeal the ruling to federal court.

“This company’s actions were outrageous, beyond even typical union busting,” said USW District 4 Director John Shinn. “It’s time to put this behind us so we can come together to make Novelis a better company and a better place to work.”

Everett Abare, a 19-year Novelis employee, said the panel reached the only logical conclusion given the evidence.

“It’s been a very long road,” Abare said. “We are looking forward to sitting down with the company and negotiating a fair contract.”

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.

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