SIU, AFL-CIO Rally with USW in Houston (11/21)


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The following news release was issued by the United Steelworkers on November 19. Pictured below are SIU members who joined the rally in solidarity: Houston Safety Director Kevin Sykes, ABs Raphael Dewberry and Mohamed Ghaleb, and Steward Robinson Eromosele.


USW, Allies Rally in Houston, Call for End to Sherwin Lockout;
Event is First in Series of Global Actions against Glencore

More than 150 Sherwin Alumina workers along with allies from across south Texas rallied on Wednesday outside the Houston offices of Sherwin's parent company Glencore, calling on the global conglomerate to end a six-week lockout at Sherwin's Gregory, Texas, facility.

Sherwin locked its doors on 450 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 235A on October 11 after the workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer demanding deep cuts in benefits for workers and retirees.

"Glencore is a highly profitable company, and the USW members at Sherwin have worked hard for years to help make it that way," said Ruben Garza, Director of USW District 13. "For the company to lock its doors on those same hard-working employees is not only greedy and irresponsible, it does a disservice to the entire community."

Glencore, a commodities firm based in Switzerland, made $4.6 billion in net income in 2013 and ranks 10th on the Fortune 500 list of the world's largest companies.

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia and members of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees, along with workers from other unions including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Teachers, Communications Workers of America, Laborers' International Union, Seafarers International Union, the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO joined in the event.

As the rally took place in Texas, a contingent of USW Local 235A members was meeting with international allies in Brazil, planning a series of global events targeting Glencore, beginning with a rally on Dec. 10 in London to coincide with the company's annual Investor Day.

"Today's events were a huge success in strengthening the solidarity within our local membership and with other unions," said USW District 13 Sub-Director Ben Lilienfeld. "This also sends a signal to Glencore that our fight isn't just about Sherwin Alumina - it's about their abysmal record with workers all over the world."

USW District 13 represents more than 50,000 members in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. 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.

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