USW Responds to Sherwin Announcement of Shutdown

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450

(GREGORY, Texas) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union issued the following statement from USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza in response to Sherwin Alumina’s announcement today that it will shut down its plant in Gregory, Texas:

“While the USW is deeply disappointed in Sherwin’s announcement that it will close its plant, we are not surprised at this result. For nearly two years, this company kept 450 well-trained and experienced workers locked out of their jobs. Today’s news is the culmination of a self-inflicted wound created by a company that mistakenly believed that it could operate efficiently and profitably without the majority of its dedicated work force. Instead, this once-profitable company ended up in bankruptcy.

“Sherwin said today that it was ‘extremely grateful to all our hardworking, talented employees for over 60 years of dedicated service.’ Unfortunately, this statement stands in stark contrast to the way this company actually treated its hourly workers. A company that values its workers doesn’t keep them locked out of their jobs while demanding deep and unnecessary cuts in pay and benefits.

“Throughout the past two years, the union consistently offered to continue working while bargaining continued on a new contract. Instead, the company insisted on keeping its doors locked, a decision that has harmed working families throughout the Corpus Christi community.

“In the end, this is a story of corporate greed. Sherwin is owned by Glencore, one of the largest and most profitable companies on the planet. Glencore earned $8.7 billion last year. This is a company that could afford to treat its workers fairly but has chosen not to do so.

“Even after Sherwin declared bankruptcy in January, Glencore continued its campaign of manipulation. The company has consistently tried to take advantage of the bankruptcy process to serve its own ends, rather than working to meet the needs of its hard-working employees and retirees.

“While we are saddened at this result, we will continue to do everything in our power, both through the bankruptcy process and in effects bargaining, to fight for the benefits that workers and retirees have earned through their years of dedicated service to this company.”

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222